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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

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

There was an insider's report that, during his last Poliburo Meeting, Premiere Wen regretted and apologised to the members for not being able to properly control his family members involving in some unapproving bisinesses.
"insider's report" my as*. Any information that doesn't result in you owning One Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York (that happens to have the largest gold vault in the world as part of its architectural structure) can hardly be considered relevant at all.
Remitting Prosperity
There would be a great deal less need to squash 'rumours' in China if the press
were a little more..... open. They don't seem to have grasped that. And yes, I have lived there.
Sure. You obviously have never lived in Manhattan.
Remitting Prosperity
What has living in Manhattan got to do with this article?
Classic wu mao dang tactic- combining insults with a transparent attempt to change the subject.
It's not exactly news that the CCP leadership is corrupt beyond imagining, even Xi acknowledges this. The problem is this; officials in China can only be investigated by officials of a superior grade. Where does that leave the top grade?
Of course the wretched Chinese people don't get a look in, but they are not fools. Sooner or later Chinese communism will collapse just as it did in Europe.
@Remitting Prosperity. You missed the point. Consider brushing up your comprehension skills before you start typing.
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.
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.
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.
Surprise, surprise.



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