Despite China being the world’s largest Communist nation, its national assembly has 83 members who are each worth more than $1 billion, according to a national magazine, and even that may be an underestimation. The Hurun Global Rich List reports that 31 members of the National People’s Congress and 52 members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s two chambers, are billionaires. Between both chambers, there are over 3,000 total delegates.
According to Hurun, the wealthiest member is Zong Qinghou, chairman and CEO of China’s largest beverage company, who is worth $13 billion. The list also states that China has 317 billionaires, meaning that a quarter of them are delegates. Although members have a reported average fortune of $3.35 billion, that figure may actually be a low estimate because members’ hidden wealth isn’t included. Nonetheless, it’s till a far cry from the annual wage of $7,000 for the average Chinese urban worker.
A Chinese researcher told the Washington Post that the country’s richest are moving into politics to protect their wealth and have an impact on policy in China (which he calls “a totalitarian state”) as its economy continues to grow: “When businesspeople amass a fortune, they need to protect it — so they either find an agent to [do so], or they become an official themselves.”
In contrast, no members of the United States Congress are billionaires.