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  • Jul 10, 2014
  • Updated: 9:57pm
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POLITICS

Ex China premier Wen Jiabao states innocence in letter to Hong Kong columnist

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 January, 2014, 5:42am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 January, 2014, 1:43pm
 

Former premier Wen Jiabao has insisted on his innocence and integrity in a letter to a Hong Kong newspaper columnist in a bid to contain damage from claims that his extended family accumulated massive wealth during his tenure at the top.

"I have never been involved and would not get involved in one single deal of abusing my power for personal gain because no such gains whatsoever could shake my convictions," Wen said in the letter to Ng Hong-mun, a former deputy to the National People's Congress, on December 27.

Ng, a veteran columnist, revealed his communication with Wen in an article in Ming Pao yesterday.

The former premier remains under a cloud after The New York Times reported in October 2012 that his family and a web of relatives accumulated US$2.7 billion of hidden assets during his leadership.

Wen stepped down as a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party's Politburo in November 2012 and retired as premier in March last year.

"I want to walk the last journey in this world well. I came to this world with bare hands and I want to leave this world clean," Wen wrote in the letter.

Pressure has been mounting on the former premier to come clean as another former member of the Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang , is reportedly under investigation for corruption.

Rumours that an announcement about Zhou's downfall is imminent have been rife in recent weeks.

Dozens of his former aides and associates are under investigation for graft, including Jiang Jiemin , Zhou's former aide who last served as the director of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

Zhang Lifan, a Beijing-based political analyst, said Wen had good reason to be concerned amid a widening of the anti-graft campaign launched by the party's general secretary, President Xi Jinping , more than a year ago.

"The media allegations were not necessarily something that came from nothing, and they could be seized upon by Wen's opponents in a power struggle," Zhang said.

Wen's family has not followed through with a lawsuit against The New York Times as they had threatened soon after the report was published.

Zhang said that Wen's letter was another attempt to clear his name. "He's afraid of becoming a subject of discussion in history and associated with corruption, so he will continue to fight the allegations for the rest of his life," he said.

Ng said he befriended the former premier via his writings and that he was invited to Beijing in April in 2011 for a meeting and a banquet with Wen. He said Wen wrote him the letter in response to a newspaper article he wrote about Wen's book, Wen Jiabao on Education, published in October last year.

Ng did not say whether he had sought Wen's approval to reveal the letter.

He said in the Ming Pao article that the letter could have been prompted by the Times article, which Ng dismissed as part of a campaign against the reformist former premier.

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This article is now closed to comments

dunndavid
Wen doesn't answer the central question. I's not just about how he benefited but about how so many close to him: his kids, his wife the diamond queen, the other relatives and the friends all benefited handsomely from his influence.
paul_w_s_lee
No doubt that Wen and his family benefited economically from his tenure as China's Premiere. What's lacking in the debate is how complicit US investment banks and their executives have become in soliciting favors and business through corruption, nepotism and cronyism. It shows that malfeasance and greed-driven violations of laws and moral standards are not restricted to Chinese businessmen. Combating the evil of corruption, exploitation and unlawful practices require a global effort. If not for the investigative reporting on JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Citibank and other leading bankers, this story will not surface!
lucifer
Where are all the CCP Fans?
jeffrey.forsythe.52
The gangster Chinese Communist Party works on the same principles as the Mafia. One family takes over from another family of blood-thirsty monsters and gives the impression to the public that it is trying to end corruption. The entire Party is based upon corruption and it is just that now is a changing of the guard. The evil CCP has murdered over fifty million of its own people since 1949 and is now attempting the genocide of the tens of millions of innocent Falun Gong practitioners by the use of torture, slavery, organ harvesting and murder. This is the truth concerning the CCP. Thank you for your consideration.
bpoon1pc
The fact that Google was banned in China after reporting the article in NYT, Actor Wan's family never intended to sue NYT and Zhou Yong Kong is closed to being prosecuted and now Actor Wen is now writing a letter, a 10 year old can come to the conclusion Actor Wen is really a good actor but the worst ever prime minister in all time in China. There are many reasons why people miss Zhu Yong Ji so much now. Actor Wen, it is a big joke to read your book, 'Wen on Education' on how shameful you could be and what on earth you think you had contributed to the Education in a China. You are a great actor both in writing, crying and touching the victims but .,. You forgot to hide your 300,000 dollar expensive watch when you are hold the baby! Shameful Wen that you have created such a big mess in a China.
norodnik
This is a superb tactic. He only declares that he is clean...let the rest of his family be thrown to the lions...dontjageddit? He's happy for the machinery to go after anybody but himself. Sublime!
aplucky1
oh come on
he sent a letter to a columnist
that should be enough to placate everyone
chaz_hen
Pangs of a guilty conscience, eh "Grandpa" Wen? Lessee... your son is a highly successful and wealthy "business" man, your wife controlled the entire diamonds industry in China, your mother is a billionaire through her shares of Ping An stock. And NONE of this you were aware of...
Yes...YOUR hands were, technically, clean. Feeling the heat, eh?
22gt7
Chinese officials have an innate concept of corruption with ‘special’ Chinese characteristic. To a westerner, white-glove service is to treat with special care and attention. To Taiwan officialdom, a ‘white-glove’ is the middleman between the corrupted officials and those who pay the corrupt money. In the corruption world, ‘white-gloves’ present somewhere. Those who want to pay corrupt officials must first find out who the white-glove is. Corrupted officials tend to think they are innocent because of the presence of white-gloves even if they are convicted in courts. In mainland China, most people assume that even the ‘distant’ family members of the high-rank officials are the while-gloves whether or not the officials concerned approve of these dirty transactions. In all probability, with or without the officials’ influence or knowledge, the corrupted transactions will carry through with the assumed blessings of the official concerned. It appears that most Chinese believes that Premier Wen is a clean official but unfortunately he does not seem to understand the concept of public perception of white-gloves and accountability!
daily
If anybody can believe that all the recently charged officials could have achieved the mass amounts of corrupted wealth that they had without Wen and Hu's turning a blind eye over the previous 10 years, then we can believe what Wen is saying.........there is no possible way that Wen or Hu could have stood by and turned a blind eye to tall those officials underneath them gaining so much wealth without themselves getting in on the pie...........A bit late to redeem yourself now Uncle Wen.

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