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  • Updated: 10:27am

Wen Jiabao

Premier of China between 2003 and 2013, Wen Jiabao served as vice-premier between 1998 and 2002. Wen, who was born in 1942, spent 14 years working in Gansu province’s geological bureau before being promoted in 1982 to vice-minister of geology and mineral resources. Wen graduated from the Beijing Institute of Geology in 1968 and has a master’s degree in geology. He was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee between 2002 and 2012. 

 

NewsChina Insider
CENSORSHIP

Discussions of Wen Jiabao's daughter censored in China as more foreign media sites blocked

While censors in the mainland have been quick to strike down any discussion of 'Lily Chang', both the Chinese language websites of Reuters and The Wall Street Journal have appeared to be blocked in the mainland

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 November, 2013, 1:18pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 November, 2013, 4:44pm
 

“Who is Lily Chang?” the same question has been repeated again and again on China’s social media since Thursday morning. Yet even without mentioning Wen Ruchun, which according to the New York Times is the real name of the the woman in question and daughter of China’s former prime minister Wen Jiabao, most microbloggers have seen their posts censored within minutes.

On Thursday The New York Times revealed investment bank JPMorgan’s ties with a consulting firm run by Wen Ruchun or ‘Lily Chang,’ an alias she was reported to have adopted.

Both The New York TimesEnglish and Chinese language websites have been blocked in China for more than a year, since the Times published a series of articles examining the assets of Wen Jiabao's family members. The publication’s recently-launched Chinese-language site for T Magazine, its culture and lifestyle publication, also appeared to be inaccessible in mainland China for two days this week.

Craig Smith, the China managing director of the New York Times, told the South China Morning Post in an email sent on Friday evening that the Chinese-language site for T Magazine  was unavailable for 48 hours due to technical problems.  "We are back up, and our problems had nothing to do with those affecting Reuters or WSJ's Chinese sites," he said.

As of Friday morning, both the Chinese language websites of Reuters and  The Wall Street Journal appeared to be blocked in the mainland, according to users in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu. The Chinese website of Reuters could still be accessed from its mobile app, according to users. When reached by phone, editors at the Beijing bureaus of the two organisations declined to comment. Nor would they confirm that their websites had been blocked. 

It is unclear if the blocking of these foreign media websites are related to recent stories they have written about Chinese politics, or just part of stepped-up censorship efforts in recent months. 

The South China Morning Post's English and Chinese language websites have also been occasionally blocked in China. In the latest instance, the Chinese-language site, SCMPChinese.com, has been inaccessible in mainland China for almost two weeks.  

Meanwhile, China’s internet users quickly began discussions about the business led by ‘Lily Chang’ and how she managed to get ahead by using a double identity – a stunt many would have found practically impossible and legally problematic in China.

According to the Times’ report, JPMorgan contracted a little-known consulting firm run by Wen Ruchun to secure deals with state-owned Chinese companies. The bank paid Wen’s firm US$900,000 annually from 2006 to 2008 – a total of US$1.8 million, said the report.

It was not entirely clear why Wen Ruchun had adopted the alias "Lily Chang." Chang is a common Chinese surname, but it could also be an alternative form of English spelling for the widely used Chinese last name Zhang, often used by Taiwanese or overseas Chinese. 

Zhang is the surname of Wen Jiabao’s wife, Zhang Peili, a geologist and a former vice-president of the Chinese Jewelry Association.

While her adopted surname matched that of her mother’s – with the Taiwanese spelling, ‘Lily,’ the English first name Wen Ruchun picked, seems to have partially reflected her mother’s given name, ‘Peili’.

Though adopting an alias to cover up a notable family background is believed to be common practise among the children of the elite, bloggers pointed out that forging ID documents is a crime under the law in China.

“Should our ‘sister house’ Gong Aiai be given her innocence back since ‘Lily Chang’ is also holding double identities?” wrote Guangzhou-based microblogger Li Tie. Li alludies to the case of Gong Aiai, a deputy bank chief in Shaanxi province who gained nationwide notoriety after she was accused of purchasing dozens of properties using false identities. In September Gong was sentenced to three years imprisonment for faking IDs.

“But if a second ID card is issued by government agencies [and not forged], it’s still considered legal,” Hou Jing, a Chengdu-based lawyer, pointed out to the South China Morning Post on Friday.

Other bloggers said they were shocked by the lucrative deal Ruchun’s two-man consulting firm received from JPMorgan.

“The most greedy family in China is that of ‘Lily Chang’,” one wrote.

Read other SCMP China Insider stories by Amy Li or follow her on Twitter

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This article is now closed to comments

321manu
Dude, time to take your lame tu quoque logical fallacies into the shop for a tune up. Why do CCP apologists so often resort to logical fallacies? It's as though they realize that actual sound logic can't be used to justify their position. On second thought, that might be giving them too much credit. Some of them probably don't even realize which way is up.
321manu
I know intellectual honesty is not a requirement for CCP apologists, and is downright frowned upon. But Salinger-boy there is still a high achiever in that realm. What does this have to do with "inflation"? If Chase is guilty of something, it's succumbing to the temptation of submitting to the price of doing business in China. And that is shameful. But what's more shameful is said price for doing business in China. In order to do business with SOE's in China, you have to pay off the daughter of the #2 person in China at any given time. I guess there's nothing wrong with that....if you're a CCP apologist. That, btw, is the actual crux of the matter, which you are probably genetically incapable of grasping.
jd.salinger.3154
Looks like I have hit the nerves of some idiots. I appreciate your efforts to appear smarter than you are. My novel won't be complete without morons like you.
jd.salinger.3154
@321manu. There is no need to fly off the handle just because you are a tad too dim to catch my drift. It is not my job to educate you about inflation if you failed math in school. Your comments on this page and your acting like a K-9 to sniff out bogeymen of your choice amount to a type of fanaticism, it is obvious you must be hating China and their freedom. Joining a de-indoctrination camp or anger management workshop will help you better handle your personal problems.
321manu
Dude, worry not. This is not "flying off the handle". This is merely calling a CCP apologist a CCP apologist. Besides, if the shoe fits, wear it proud, buddy.
"inflation" is great...except what on earth does it have to do with the topic of this thread? I suppose loose associations is fun for people like you. But seriously, what is with you people's inability to own up to a mistake? It's like a CCP apologist DNA mutation which results in a stereotypical phenotype.
"CHina and their freedom"? LOL. You seem up to your eyeballs in the Kool-aid. But whatever floats your boat. You are correct in that I do like calling out neanderthals, so you may as well get used to it. Again, if the shoe fits...
jd.salinger.3154
@321manu. Once again, there is no need to fly off the handle just because you are a tad too dim to catch my drift. It is not my job to educate you about inflation if you failed math in school. Your comments on this page and your acting like a K-9 to sniff out bogeymen of your choice amount to a type of fanaticism, it is obvious you must be hating China and their freedom. Joining a de-indoctrination camp or anger management workshop will help you better handle your personal problems.
321manu
Wow, did you just repost an entire comment 26 hours later? Did you really think it was so nice that you needed to say it twice? CCP apologists are lame, but even by those meagre standards, this was pathetic.
So, any smart answer for why you brought up "inflation"? Gosh, at this point, do you even have an incredibly stupid one? 50 cents just doesn't buy what it used to, and the CCP sure get what they pay for.
jd.salinger.3154
@321manu. And again, there is no need to fly off the handle just because you are a tad too dim to catch my drift. It is not my job to educate you about inflation if you failed math in school. Your comments on this page and your acting like a K-9 to sniff out bogeymen of your choice amount to a type of fanaticism, it is obvious you must be hating China and their freedom. Joining a de-indoctrination camp or anger management workshop will help you better handle your personal problems.
Remitting Prosperity
"Freedom"!
Oh my God..... do you honestly think anyone reading your comments is going to believe them? Still, it's a living, eh?
jd.salinger.3154
@Remitting Prosperity. Observing behavioral problems in morons like you is part of my neuroscience thesis.

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