• Thu
  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 4:34am

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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jd.salinger.3154
@Remitting Prosperity. You missed the point. Consider brushing up your comprehension skills before you start typing.
sipsip1238
Who is Lily Chang?
A woman who can't get a proper job on her own and has to use daddy's connection to get one.
321manu
Of course this story is censored in China. After all, the CCP wants to fight corruption. And everyone knows the way to fight corruption is to stop people from talking about it...especially when the topic of discussion reaches the top echelons of the party. It's just basic good CCP common sense.
JD Salinger there just makes me laugh. Not rely too much on mainstream media? Is the alternative to rely on xinhua and the CCP? There really are no depths to which CCP apologists won't go.
clc2
The wealthy and influential have always managed, somehow, to employ each other's children. this is not new and it is not necessarily corrupt.
The name gets one in the door, which is a first step to doing business that is win-win. When there many well connected children knocking on door to get business, then they will cancel one another out and the best offers sign the contracts.
The situation is only corrupt when business is given to the well connected child because the job given to the child is, in fact, a bribe.
I haven't seen the data to make a judgment on this, and the accusation may well not be true.
321manu
I agree that children of the wealthy have always had advantages. That goes without saying, and I'd also agree that alone is not "corrupt". However, this is about a pay-off to the daughter of the #2 person in China, in order to secure contracts with SOE's. That's not merely the rich scratching each other's backs. That's influence-peddling of the highest order.
Now, as you say, there may be many rich CCP princelings out peddling their influence. That doesn't make the practice ok, or not corrupt; in fact, it makes the whole lot of them corrupt...which, I suppose, is not news to anybody.
jd.salinger.3154
You appear mind-numbingly unintelligent. The crux of the matter you failed to grasp is related to JP Morgan Chase. I suppose you are clueless about how inflation reached your doorstep.
wb0803@qq.com
If only can get information from the mainland medias, Premier Wen may retired with a medal carved with the words" loyal to his country, caring poor people, fighting corruptions". I still remembered his emotional talk for Wenchuan Earthquake which also moved me a lot. However, after I heard a series corruption news of his family, and ironically flash back to the image he dropped tears for the disaster, what a great actor he is !!!
jd.salinger.3154
The story has yet to be unraveled, I wouldn't rely too much on the news reported by the mainstream media. In fact, I find it amusing that China just might have sunk Jamie's ship. What a bunch of amateurs. I am beginning to admire Premier Wen and his daughter.
anthonygmail
Not surprising really. Eventhough the top leaders may not be corrupt, it would be difficult for them to control their offspring who's friends would mostly be fuerdai. Having a powerful dad means nothing if you don't have enough to spend.
caractacus
Surprise, surprise.

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