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  • Updated: 10:54pm

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

Beijing denounces NYT report on Wen family wealth

Family of Wen Jiabao owns hidden fortune, New York Times report says

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 October, 2012, 9:53am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 October, 2012, 2:19pm

China’s Foreign Ministry hit out at a New York Times report on Friday which claimed that Premier Wen Jiabao’s family had amassed massive wealth during his term in office.

“Some reports smear China and have ulterior motives,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in response to a question about the report, which said that Wen’s family controlled assets worth US$2.7 billion dollars from 1992 until this year.

The New York Times said on Thursday in a report that the relatives of China’s prime minister have controlled assets worth at least US$2.7 billion, in a move likely to further embarrass the Communist Party ahead of its power handover.

The family of Wen Jiabao, who will be replaced in a once-in-a-decade leadership transition next month, have become “extraordinarily wealthy” during his term in office, the newspaper alleged.

Their investments span banks, jewellers, tourist resorts, telecommunications companies and infrastructure projects, with the owners of the assets often concealed by using offshore vehicles or complicated holding structures.

The investigation, based on corporate and regulatory records from 1992 to this year, compiled alleged dealings by Wen’s son, daughter, younger brother and brother-in-law, as well as his mother.

It gave no figure for the family’s net worth, but calculated the value of the assets they controlled over this period.

The lead up to the Communist Party’s 18th congress starting on November 8, when successors to Wen and President Hu Jintao will be revealed, has already been tarnished by the case of rising star Bo Xilai.

The party boss from the huge southwestern city of Chongqing was expelled and will go on trial over corruption accusations and alleged crimes linked to the murder of a British businessman, for which his wife has been convicted.

In June, Bloomberg news agency investigated the business interests owned by the relatives of Xi Jinping, the man tipped to be the next Chinese president. The investigation alleges that Xi's relatives have also built up a giant portfolio of investments in property and stocks.

Video by the New York Times

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This article is now closed to comments

14u2nv
par for the course, but at least we live somewhere the press can report this.....
caractacus
Such amazing thrift on a salary of about US$20,000 per annum. bmr's and captam 's reactions are typically hypocritical, not seeing anything wrong with massive corruption in China and diverting attention away from the issue by seeking to pluck a splinter from the Americans' eye while ignoring the log in their own. What aspect of plundering a nation's economy of billions was open and lacking subterfuge? I never heard of an American politician amassing billions in corrupt money and, of course, America, like most law abiding countries, has the rule of law, freedom of expression and freedom of the press which enables transgressors to be exposed and caught. In China people are imprisoned a without fair trial for daring to speak the truth if some petty tyrant dislikes what they say. The Chinese Foreign Ministry's denunciation of the New York Times is symptomatic of Chinese aversion to any truth which shows them in an unflattering light.
pharding81
@ bmr
They are trying pretty hard to hide reporting about this. Bloomberg is still blocked, NYTs has just joined them. If they are being open as you claim, i imagine all the work they are doing on weibo right now would be pointless?
anson
Yes they are blocking the news and this surprises me. I don't have inside knowledge of the Communist Party in China. The 'facts' that I reported were originally published by an American author back in the 90s. At that time I did a dissertation looking at the future integration of the Hong Kong and Guangdong economies. I imagine that no one ever foresaw a situation where such a large fortune could be made. This is probably especially sensitive at this time with the huge wealth gap. Readers of these comments should not take it for granted that bmr supports the Communist Party and everything it does. The Party has still not managed to address the real needs of the people - healthcare, education, etc. Many of my older relatives in other parts of the country have found that after working for many years in state run enterprises they now face very early retirement (50 or so) and uncertain futures.
Just because we disagree or see problems with one part of a society/economy this does not mean that we need throw the bath water out. Many people in the USA are unhappy with Obama's healthcare reforms. These opponents are not calling for the introduction of a one party socialists system, are they?
anson
Even if it's true, what actually is the problem? Those who do more than just read sensationalist press will know that the Communist Party changed way back at the end of the 70s and they most certainly did not hide this from anyone.
Deng (one of the greatest leaders in my opinion) followed the example of Ataturk in modernising. Both leaders were aware that in order to bring about change they needed the support of those with the power to make it happen or to stop it. The best way to achieve that was to ensure that those people/organisations would have a vested interest in modernising the nation. To this end, the PLA were promised modern weapons and better training (moving away from the decades old model of superior numbers - quantity over quality). Other influential members and their families were wooed with the promise of an opportunity to take part in the new economic model.
There was no attempt at subterfuge - this has all been done transparently before the Chinese and overseas population - and now ever increasing numbers of people who were not in the elite category before are having the chance to improve their quality of life. I know nothing is perfect. Enemies of China can easily dredge up stories of corruption, but this is not one of them and corruption is not a major issue except with the Communist Party wanting to end it.
captam
Even if these wild and unsubstantiated allegations are true I don't quite see any difference in behaviour to American politicians and their families.
How many members of Congress are not US dollar multimillionaires?
And why doesn't the American press make a fuss about this?
doctorh
"why doesn't the American press make a fuss about this?"
Perhaps Western Media are more shrewd than we think they are?
donniemcm
I just want to know who will be the poor Wen's look alike scapegoat will be in Court.
pgrath1
How many people has Wen's wife killed?
aplucky1
amazing that the families of all these leaders are business geniuses , none of them fail
wonder why

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