Some of China's Richest and Most Powerful Men Have Mysteriously Vanished

The financial giant Anbang Insurance Group Co. announced Wednesday that its chairman, Wu Xiaohui, was stepping aside temporarily for "personal reasons" and that he had authorized "relevant senior executives to continue running the business."

The announcement, which reportedly spurred a decline in stocks in which Anbang has significant investment, came just hours after the independent Chinese financial magazine Caijing reported that authorities had detained Wu.

The story was later deleted from the magazine's website, but the BBC reported that police had taken Wu away from the Anbang offices in Beijing on Thursday.

The global insurance company, which acquired the Waldorf Astoria New York hotel in 2014, is one of the largest insurance groups in China, according to its website. A short statement from the company did not address the magazine story or indicate how long Wu might be gone.

But his abrupt departure doesn't come as a total surprise. In recent years, dozens of senior executives have mysteriously vanished, according to media reports. Most are believed to have been caught up in an aggressive anti-corruption campaign that has targeted financial industry executives, government officials and the heads of state-owned companies.

In many cases, the disappeared have returned. In others, they have turned up in custody or were found dead.

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