FIRST AIRED: March 3, 2017

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A gathering of China's political elite who also happen to be some of its wealthiest people. Delegates pouring into Beijing for the annual session of parliament. And according to one report, around 200 of them have a combined fortune the size of Belgium's GDP. China's President Xi Jinping has made a big show of cracking down on public displays of wealth, which raises the question, why are so many politically influential people so very rich?
Reuters' John Ruwitch explains.>> These wealthy people in parliament are business people. They're not career bureaucrats for the most part. And the crackdown on corruption has been against bureaucrats. And so there is a bit of a line between the two, but certainly, the optics of it aren't great.
And in years past people online have taken pictures that they've seen of rich delegates arriving for the National People's Congress with fancy watches, or fancy handbags, luxury clothes. And they've called them out for this.>> But the Communist Party seems to think the risk of public criticism is worth it.
Analysts says stacking the deck with the wealthy is a kind of insurance, giving big movers and shakers a vested interest in the party's future success. In turn, these rich delegates may see their own business get a boost.>> They arguably get some political protection, analysts say. They also have a little bit of insight into future direction of policy.
And one scholar at Princeton University wrote a paper saying that, in fact, in the last session of parliament, there was evidence that businesses with a CEO in the National People's Congress actually had better results.>> According to Hurun Report, which ranks China's wealthiest, the richest 100 delegates have seen their wealth expand nearly 65% since President Xi Jinping rose to power four years ago, even as the wider economy slows.