In 2004, when the hotel was under construction, the owners were accused of forcing local farmers off their land, and offering them low-paid jobs as compensation. China’s richest citizens are even wealthier than the statistics suggest, and may hold as much as 9.3 trillion yuan (US$1.4 trillion) of hidden assets, according to a Credit Suisse-sponsored study by a top economic think-tank. And nearly two thirds of that unreported income goes into the pockets of the richest 10 percent, widening China’s already troubling wealth gap, said Wang Xiaolu, the economist at the China Society of Economic Reform (CSER), who headed the survey. A cleaner works in front of a building that makes up the luxurious Chateau Laffitte Hotel, an imitation of the 1650 Château Maisons-Laffitte by the French architect François Mansart, located on the outskirts of Beijing August 20, 2010.

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