More details have emerged from the relatives of the disgraced China Resources chairman about his humble upbringing, which are contrary to rumours that he came from a well-connected family.
Song Lin, 51, supervised more than HK$1 trillion in assets at the state-owned conglomerate - until his downfall last week.
Song's humble roots were traced back to the poor village of Rushan in Shandong province, where he grew up. Born in Jinan, Song was sent to live in Rushan at the age of seven, where he was taken in by his uncle, Song Jibin.
Song Jibin, 80, said that the young Song Lin disliked farm work and eschewed social niceties, but was an "honest child", according to The Beijing News.
Children stayed away from the friendless Song, the tallest boy in class, for fear they would be bullied.
After three years in the countryside, Song's parents wanted to move him back to Jinan, but he vehemently refused.
So on the pretence of a "shopping trip", Song Jibin accompanied the boy to his grandmother's home in Jinan. Upon arriving, the uncle fled on a bike, leaving a crying Song Lin behind.
Song Lin was born to a family that had three generations of farmers. But his father, a professor who passed away in 2002, wished him to aim higher.
When the family came to the funeral of Song Lin's father, Song Jibin says he advised his nephew, who by then was on his way to becoming China Resources' general manager, to "never break the law".
"He promised me over and over again that he'd never do anything illegal," the uncle said.
In 2004, Song became general manager, and then rose up the ranks to become chairman of China Resources in 2008.
But while his career was taking off, Song Jibin told The Beijing News that Song Lin's marital life was less successful.
The newspaper report noted that a picture of Song's wife, whom he met in Shanghai, still hangs on the wall of his former rural home.
Song Lin brought her to see the family 30 years ago, but relations then soured, and the couple had not returned to Rushan since. The family said the couple split a few years ago.
"She didn't get along with my uncle and aunt; they fought often," said cousin Song Shuping, Song Jibin's son.
"She majored in foreign trade, took their daughter to the United States. We know nothing after that," he said.