Li Peng finally denies old rumours he is ex-premier Zhou Enlai's adopted son

Ex-premier recalls family life in memoir but refutes speculation late premier took him in

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 June, 2014, 1:57pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 July, 2014, 8:07am

Former premier Li Peng has revealed details about his family in his official memoir, but denies he was adopted by Zhou Enlai , one of the People's Republic's founders.

"Some people have said I am Premier Zhou's adopted son. It is not true," Li writes.

Academics and others have speculated that Li's links to Zhou partly explained his rise to power in the Communist Party.

Li's memoir covers events up to 1983 and does not mention the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989. Li was premier and declared martial law in Beijing before troops moved into the square.

In his book, Li, 85, describes his relationships with revolutionary leaders including Mao Zedong , Zhou, and his wife, Deng Yingchao .

Zhou and Deng had no children of their own. Li's father, Li Shuoxun, also one of the earliest Communist Party revolutionaries, was executed by the Kuomintang in 1931 when the younger Li was only three.

"The relationship between Premier Zhou, Mother Deng and me was [no different than] the relationship between old comrades and any martyrs' descendants," Li writes. "We all call them Uncle Zhou and Mother Deng because they care about the sons and daughters of their comrade-in-arms."

Li met Deng for the first time in Chengdu in 1939 and she took him to Zhou's home in Chongqing . Zhou was already in Yanan , the party's revolutionary base in Shaanxi province.

Li did not meet Zhou in person until the autumn of 1940, according to the memoir. Zhou asked him to read and comment on an editorial in the Xinhua Daily, the first Communist Party newspaper, as a test for his studies. He also told him to correct his hunched posture.

Li described Zhou as a "meticulous" and "responsible" person and said those qualities played an important role in redressing some of the injustices during the Cultural Revolution.

Deng also offered Li's family help when his first son, Li Xiaopeng , now the governor of Shanxi province, was born prematurely in 1959.

Li's pregnant wife, Zhu Lin, fell on a bus at the end of May that year and it was feared she may have miscarried. Li Peng's mother sought the help of Deng, who contacted a renowned obstetrician at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital.

Zhu's condition was critical, but mother and child survived. Li Xiaopeng was born on June 7, 1959. At that time, Li was working as deputy chief engineer at a power plant in Jilin and was absent during the whole affair.

Li reveals he had a vasectomy after the birth of his daughter, Li Xiaolin, who now heads energy company China Power International Development, and his second son, Li Xiaoyong. This was before the introduction of the one-child policy.