“What would Chairman Mao say if he knew Li was the proud owner of a Canadian residency card and a $6 million house on Vancouver’s Westside?”

“Self-made millionaire Li Weijie runs his own ski and golf resort outside Beijing and considers himself a patriot: A lifesize statue of Mao Zedong on a four-meter base towers over the entrance to his resort. What would Chairman Mao say if he knew Li was the proud holder of a Canadian residency card? “I wanted access to the education system and health care of a developed country,” says Li, 43, whose other businesses include one of Beijing’s largest private taxi companies, two car dealerships, and a real estate company. Li now has a $6 million house on Vancouver’s Westside, known for its rich Chinese. His wife tools around Vancouver in a black Maybach while his 20-year-old son drives a dark gray Maserati to classes at the University of British Columbia. His wife and son live in Canada full-time.”
– from ‘China’s Super-Rich Buy a Better Life Abroad‘, Dexter Roberts and Jasmine Zhao, Bloomberg Businessweek, 22 Nov 2011

53 responses to ““What would Chairman Mao say if he knew Li was the proud owner of a Canadian residency card and a $6 million house on Vancouver’s Westside?”

  1. So is his money illicit?

    They have the answers to all the questions, so presaged Men Without Hats.

    • Quick search on Google reveals that some “Li Weijie” is/was a Communist Party official and a board secretary of a “government backed real estate development company”…

  2. “I wanted access to the education system and health care of a developed country” would perhaps have been a better title for this anecdote.

    • “Access to … health care” is not the same as “quick access”


      Try Taiwan.

      • Try China, you could get instant access and jump above any queue with some money. The best hospitals are overflowing with money, one hospital in beijing spent 3 million last year on fireworks for the national holiday.

      • odd then that the promise of “free” healthcare for the uber rich is even on the radar. More likely a safety play but only triggers if tshtf

  3. There is a very good chance his money has not been fully taxed in China.

    BTW if he is a resident in Canada then his fortune is taxable in Canada. Someone should wake up the CRA and ask them to look into this.

    • It is very important for citizens to feel that our system of taxation is fair.
      Especially when they are shouldering a heavy tax burden.
      Not perfect, but fair.

      Get a load of this, from Harper’s Index, Nov 2011:
      Number of the 100 highest paid American CEOs who earned more than their employers paid in taxes last year: 25

  4. I witnessed a similar contradictory image. Just yesterday, a consortium of four mainland Chinese men were brought by the listing agent to view the muddy premises a $8.9 million equestrian property (3.4 acres) in Southlands, Vancouver. I couldn’t help but notice that one of the men was wearing a Mao jacket (albeit a very tailored Mao jacket). The juxtaposition of this signifier of Chinese communism and extreme wealth got me thinking about the massive contradictions (hypocrisies?) of class in China. I guess China never really left its feudal past.

    • Ahhh but they may have been a $5000 Shanghai Tang Mao jacket… the rich are ironic everywhere.

    • I’m guessing about, oh, 1% of the populace gives a fig about who owns those equestrian grounds.

      I’ll put my weight behind the Maoist taking that esteemed facility downmarket.

  5. If Vancouverites are upset about things in Vancouver, they might want to consider voting in the next municipal election. Just a thought. According to a map I found on Frances Bula’s blog, voter participation in the election last Saturday ranged from about 14% all the way to a high of about 40%.

    If I hear one more Vancouverite sighing “What can you do, eh?” I’m going to ask him or her: “Did you vote? Are you one of those people who enjoy nailing both feet to the floor and then complaining you’re stuck?”

    Focusing on what the city can’t do sure isn’t going to help if things CAN be done.

    As someone who received Canadian citizenship as an adult, I’m acutely aware of how my vote gives me a voice. Taking one’s capacity to vote for granted can be another symptom of cynicism and apathy. Are citizens here grateful for the privilege of living in a democracy? People can act like lemmings or they can stand up and be counted.

    It’s also beyond me how even parties that spend $2 million on a municipal election cannot get a better voter turnout than that.

    • uhm, the point of spending all that money is not to increase voter turnout, it’s to increase your own vote count and discourages people who aren’t going to vote for you from voting. Voter apathy works very well for a party when it has dedicated core block of voters who will vote.

      • Interesting, thanks.

        But, um, to me it still defies logic that a party wouldn’t want ALL the votes it could possibly get. I couldn’t believe how low voter turnout is in some neighbourhoods here. Shameful and pathetic.

      • PS Anyone who is “discouraged” from voting by the fact that some parties are spending a lot of money is just contributing to the whole problem.

        What IS this “What can you do” attitude all about??? I admire Canadian stoicism but I’m consistently bewildered by what sometimes looks to me like a Lie Down and Die corollary.

  6. Big businesses in China range all the way from legit to totally illegal based on bribes, connections, etc. Part of this as explained to me when I was in China is that in order for the city mayors and provincial officials to keep their jobs and/or get promoted, they need to demonstrate economic growth. This pressure means that rather than letting free market do its work which may or may not happen and may take a long time, it’s better to have people who get make it happen. How? Simply a quid pro quo. You give preferential treatment to people you trust/can work with who can get things done – eg) open new factories, build new malls and condos, whatever else that gives you GDP growth in your city/province. Obviously you will get some out of it as well beside just getting promoted up. However if you lose favor or screw up, then you are out. The next guy who takes your place will want his people to do the economic growth thing and as part of that, have to get rid of existing competition. So allegations of corruption, bribes, etc suddenly all come up.

    Part of the problem of growth at all cost.

  7. Like inflation expectations, somebody has to stop these HAM expectations from hammering this market.

  8. this all reeks too much like a miniature rerun of the playbook already successfully executed just south. tell me the architects of FNM et al did not understand EXACTLY what they were doing. sell the public on the ideology of home ownership (btw, you can own title to a house but you cannot ‘own’ a home – which is mostly your family life and community relations). get them to ante up as much as possible of what they got. spread the risk around. when it blows, get bailed out. use the debacle as pretext for grabbing more power. find a visible outsider on which to deflect blame. you’re just phase-shifted a few years, for whatever reason.

    vreaa – it may be an anecdote but businessweek isn’t journalism more than fp was

    i’ve been a lot of blogs in the past 10 yrs. i find the quality, consistency and persistence of the propaganda craft being practiced here to be quite surprising. makes me think there’s something at stake. maybe you need to have spot the propaganda anecdotes too. that alpenglowpro mozila breakfast cereal post was an eye opener for me.

    • What on earth is “alpenglowpro mozila breakfast cereal”?

      • 🙂 i sort of noticed that the propagandists like to wait until after post activity has died down a bit and stick in the last or near last post. i imagine it is designed to capture more eyeballs. some poster called alpenglowpro (what is that? mozilo’s breakfast chow?) laid down a pretty long and weird tirade a while back. 🙂

    • I suffer from this line of thinking as well. The only difference is, I try to use this ‘knowledge’ to my benefit by being on the ‘right’ side of the trade.

      I understand the criticism but don’t understand the strategy.

      • unless they’re willing to let the whole crony banking system blow, there will be money printing like never before. just be careful you understand your hedges well and watch out for the volatility – maintain a safety buffer. otherwise, it’s fairly straightforward if you don’t stare at the trees too closely.

  9. I guess you probably have seen this article on the Economist already. Some abstracts:

    “But in most other countries they have dipped by less than 10%, as in Britain and Italy. In some countries, such as Australia, Canada and Sweden, prices wobbled but then surged to new highs. As a result, many property markets are still looking uncomfortably overvalued.”

    “Based on the average of the two measures, home prices are overvalued by about 25% or more in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, New Zealand, Britain, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden (see table). Indeed, in the first four of those countries housing looks more overvalued than it was in America at the peak of its bubble.”

    “The average deposit needed by a British first-time buyer is now equivalent to 90% of average annual earnings, according to Capital Economics, a consultancy. It was less than 20% in the late 1990s. Another popular argument used to justify sky-high prices in countries such as Australia and Canada is that a rising population pushes up demand. But this should raise both prices and rents, leaving their ratios unchanged.” [it would be nice to calculate this number for Vancouver]

    “An optimist could therefore argue that our gauges overstate the extent to which house prices are overvalued, and that if markets are only a bit too expensive they can adjust gradually without a sharp fall. It is important to remember, however, that lower interest rates and rising populations were used to justify higher prices in America and Ireland before their bubbles burst so spectacularly.

    Another concern is that Australia, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and Sweden all have even higher household-debt burdens in relation to income than America did at the peak of its bubble. Overvalued prices and large debts leave households vulnerable to a rise in unemployment or higher mortgage rates. A credit crunch or recession could cause house prices to tumble in many more countries.”

    Bubble? What bubble?

  10. isn’t it unrealistic to expect every market to fall or rise in unison? Aren’t some markets simply better than others?
    This article suggest the US market is 22% undervalued – so fill your boots and get buyin’

  11. 4SlicesofCheese


    According to this 25k perm residents came into Canada in 2009. 2000 being within the investor immigrant program. Which of course has been reduced to 700/year now.

    So question to everyone, do you think this number, if maintained, is enough to buoy the market. Apparently most my friends think so, although they had no idea the number before I found this article. They said millions of Chinese are coming here.

    • not sure where you get your numbers from.
      We immigrate 250,000/year or which 45-50,000 come to the lower mainland. Is this enough to buoy the market?

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        Numbers are from the article, sorry did not mention numbers are of mainland Chinese immigrants. Thought that was obvious for this thread.

        Of those numbers you would have to take into account family members, not sure how many singles are immigrating here.

      • diablow – stop spouting shit; again, you don’t know WTF you are talking about. You’re an idiot:


        – BC international immigration is down

        – interprovincial migration for BC is negative and trending more so

      • Furthermore, international immigration to Alberta is expected to surpass that of BC in Q3. For most of the recent past, Alberta had only half of BC’s international immigration. Finally, BC’s natural population increase is a fraction of most other provinces. BC’s demographic trends look horrible! Keep buying suckers!

  12. 700? Where do you see that? That’s the amount of new applications that they will receive because they have too much back log. For example, there are 3 years of backlog in beijing, once they clear this backlog, they will put it back up.

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      “In addition, the Minister is introducing a cap of 700 on new federal investor applications. ”

      “An annual cap on new applications will allow for progress on backlog reduction while ensuring that the Department has a sufficient volume of new files to meet its commitments.”


      How would that backlog be cleared if there are 2000/year wanting to come through that program, and you only allow 700 to apply.

      So they clear the backlog, then they allow another flood that were waiting due to the 700 cap which causes another backlog?

      I do not understand.

      • I think what it means is that we already have 3 times the 2000 applications in the queue waiting to be processed. So right now, you could have 6000 applications pending processing. Btw, the 700 new applications got filled in 20 days from China. So there probably is a huge long queue in china waiting for processing.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        But does that make sense.
        So that just means there will be unofficial queuing after the official queue, how does that solve anything.

      • 700 is still a billion plus + of HAM

        hey gov’t – instead of bringing in massive capital inflows of questionable origin, why not develop an economy where individuals can actually achieve something and create wealth?

        oh right, that would require logic and foresight and a bit of national pride.

      • 700 families, all moving to Vancouver, average 3 houses per family, that’s 2100 purchases, about equal to all of November’s sales for REBGV.

        It may boggle the mind, but some of these guys have other stuff so spend their money on than rows upon rows of palatial Van West monoliths. One of these days someone’s going to do the same math that was done with all the other manias throughout history and figure out that THIS time, like all others, is load of pot.

      • @ Jesse, but what do you expect them to do? rent? I think the issue is that the alternative is not very easy for them. If I am worth a ton of money, the last thing I want is to live at a place where someone else has a key to my place, especially if I don’t speak the language. If they are here, they need to buy. But if they are not here, you are right, they probably have better things to do with their money than simply snap up real estate here.

      • @Julian, my point was more that people are sizing the entire rich Asian “market” without asking what % market share of this gravy train is plausible to reap via local expenditure.

        As far as I can tell it is unlikely to amount to at very most any more than 2000 purchases per year, likely less. Yes they are likely concentrated in a few areas but so what? The rest of “us” aren’t being forced to play.

        I don’t begrudge anyone for abusing a system. Shame on them, but they aren’t really the problem. I know that’s a difficult position to defend but the onus is on regulators to do something, not to shame those who don’t understand the concept.

  13. People like this should be paying at least 10x the property taxes of actual Canadian citizens. And they should not be getting residency unless they are actually resident and paying income taxes in Canada.

    He wanted to “access to the education system and health care of a developed country”? Why the flying fuck are we letting users like this burden our healthcare and education systems? If this loser is such a patriot (aka sweatshop owner/criminal), let him spend his cash in his own damn country.

    • 要不是我坐在这里没事,我根本不想回应这种傻了巴几的话。


      第二,如果不住这里要付更多的tax,可以啊 ,对那些一到冬季就要往南方跑的人也要一视同仁。

      第三,你不能断定他没有付income tax, 钱多了到这个地步,找几亇律师会议就可以找到大把的法律漏洞,不交或少交,也许不道德,但是不违法。


      • 許多在中國的腐敗。如果你有很多錢,在這個國家的機會是相當不錯的,你比少數政府官員行賄。基本上,你在後面的口袋共產黨。中國移動在這裡,因為他們知道有一天,黨將和他們需要逃離了這個國家,以逃避革命家。

      • sooner or later all canadians will know about these practices and attitudes.

        do i come to your country and basically steal?

      • I am pretty lazy to translate this, and I don’t really understand all of the characters anymore. But it looks kind of funny actually. Especially the last sentence.

      • what – no chinese word for tax? no wonder paying taxes is so foreign to the Chinese. I can assure you that this is not sitting well with more and more Canadians and I for one am quite fed up with the selfishness and lack of manners that so many of these Chinese immigrants exhibit on top of the fact that I’m footing the bill for these rich immigrants.

  14. Got news for you! This has been going on since HK immigration wave since the 90s.

    85%+ of my highschool graduating class of HK and Taiwanese origin have gone back to HK and Taiwan but they maintain their Canadian citizenship and come back every 5 years to renew their driver license while never paid a penny in Canadian income tax. They did pay property tax but I’m sure the welfare cheques and GST/PST rebates, etc more than made up for it. It’s common knowledge within HK and Taiwanese communities to use one set of names on house titles, etc and another set of names like English names for filing taxes. A lot of them only have legal English names on Canadian ID and Chinese name on HK/Taiwanese ID/passport and hope CRA wouldn’t link the two sets of names.

    • Please someone forward Space889’s post to the CRA — who was it who was saying on another thread the CRA should ramp up?

      • 蛮可爱的

      • its ok, its just stupid old canada

        canada is so stupid

        stupid white people

        being all trusting with their systems at all

        thats what you get for being trusting! COLONIZATION

      • I must be losing it…. Tried to find appropriate spot on CRA contact page to copy and paste space889’s post, but couldn’t. CRA wants either phone call or form filled out. There was a page with names of people convicted of tax fraud/evasion (only 1 Chinese-looking name), but now I can’t find it. Anyone else tried?

      • This stuff has been going on for 20 years+ now. I doubt CRA would be so stupid as not to know it. It’s likely that some of the these cases can’t be prosecuted without co-operation from Chinese tax authorities to hand over individual’s income tax returns in China. Add in their standard 300% minimum return on cost rules likely means these cases are not priority for chasing up. I guess there is enough of a backlog of local tax cheats with tons of money to prosecute here. One of their biggest tip sources are from divorcees apparently. 🙂

        The other thing is that CRA might not have access to things like property tax records, property holdings, social benefits collected without getting a court order first, you know, personal freedom and privacy and all that. So again, might not be worth it.

        Suffice to say, this is such a common practice among the Chinese immigrants community, especially the retirement kind that no one even bats an eye about it anymore. Some though after collecting so much money while living in Canada for just 6 months a year and in a multi-million dollar house to boot do gets scared about CRA audit and voluntarily stops collecting the money for a while.

        For actual tax paying working immigrants like me who never collected a single penny in government money yet, it does piss me off to no end. However what can you do? Unless you can go do the dirty work yourself and find these people and report them to CRA, nothing is likely to change. Maybe CRA is not cracking down on these people on purpose since government do love the money they are bringing in and helping to prop up Canadian GDP.

  15. At the risk of fomenting further controversy… Today’s Quote ‘O The Day:

    “We’re bringing polo to the public. Well, not exactly the public,” said one staff member. “That man over there is the son of an army general. That one’s grandfather was mayor of Beijing.”

    [WSJ] – Children of the Revolution – China’s ‘princelings,’ the offspring of the communist party elite, are embracing the trappings of wealth and privilege—raising uncomfortable questions for their elders.


    • Great stuff.

      “Asked about the pictures of him partying at Oxford, he quoted Chairman Mao as saying “you should have a serious side and a lively side,”..
      [Guess that covers just about any kind of behaviour.]

  16. So a bunch of us are now beginning to speak up. You want the services and benefits that this country offers its residents, you better be a resident here and you had better file your Tax Return in Canada. Make sure you declare your worldwide income. This may be a surprise to some of these immigrants, it’s the taxes that fund these services.

    If you want to take, you gotta give. Right now it’s all take and no give by these freeloaders. Minister Jason Kenney is on to this and pretty soon, the Minister of National Revenue should be as well. Only Kenney is much more outspoken and I say, Good for Him. Someone high up needs to call it for what it is. BIG SCAM.

    Canada is being taken for a ride and these guys are not paying the fare!

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