BEIJING has dismissed claims by an American-based author that she is the illegitimate daughter of the late premier Zhou Enlai.
The semi-official Hong Kong China News Agency yesterday quoted an unnamed senior historian of the Chinese Communist Party saying her recently published autobiography was made up.
Ai Bei, now living in the United States, first published her serialised novel, Jiao Fu Qin Tai Shen Zhong (literally A Heavy Load on Dad), in a Hong Kong weekly early this year.
The novel tells of the love story between the late premier and her mother, a secretary with the volunteer army.
The book that shocked readers in Hong Kong and Taiwan has become so popular that a number of publications have started reprinting it.
According to Ms Ai, Zhou, who had no children with his wife, the late Deng Yongchao, was her father.
In the novel, Ms Ai said that he insisted that the child be born when he learnt about his secret love's pregnancy, risking his marriage with Deng.
But in an interview with the agency, the historian said anyone familiar with China's political situation in the 1950s and the late premier's political beliefs would see right away that the story was utterly absurd.
The expert said Zhou could not have freely courted the secretary because of the tight security surrounding the Chinese top echelon.
If Ms Ai's story was true, it would have been exposed during the Cultural Revolution when the late Jiang Qing collected an enormous amount of material on Zhou to remove him from power.
He said it was immoral for writers to make up ''love stories'' about people who had died.
Ms Ai, he said, was not Zhou's daughter and her real story would one day be revealed.
Ms Ai is touring Taiwan at the moment publicising her novel. She could not be contacted to comment yesterday.