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Billionaire no longer a CPPCC member after change of nationality

Chinese restaurateur and billionaire Zhang Lan is no longer a member of the Chaoyang District People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Beijing Times reported on Wednesday.

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2012, 3:39pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 December, 2012, 12:47pm

Chinese restaurateur and billionaire Zhang Lan is no longer a member of the Chaoyang District People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Beijing Times reported on Wednesday.

The district’s political advisory body confirmed it accepted Zhang’s resignation as a political adviser, said the report.

Zhang is the founder and chairwoman of South Beauty Group, a chain of upmarket Sichuanese restaurants. She had nullified her Chinese citizenship on September 17, but it is not known which nationality she now holds. Zhang’s change of nationality was exposed when she was subpoenaed in a civil lawsuit filed by a man claiming to be one of her company’s founders.

Zhang, a media star herself, had said on many occasions that she turned down a chance to obtain Canadian citizenship 21 years ago, and returned to China to open her own business. Zhang’s nationality has sparked heated discussions online. “Accepted her resignation? If she hadn’t resigned, would they have allowed her to stay?” said one netizen on China’s micro-blogging service Sina Weibo. “How many more foreigners are serving in our government?” said another Weibo user.

The Hurun China Rich List of the nation’s wealthiest individuals ranked Zhang 589th with an estimated fortune of 3.1 billion yuan (HK$3.86 billion) last year.