Family of Wen Jiabao Holds a Hidden Fortune in China –

Don’t miss the story that comes around every so often–the must read analysiss that blew the top off for China watchers, was blocked by Chinese “Great Wall” censors, and led to a lot of talk–at least until Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast:

In many cases, the names of the relatives have been hidden behind layers of partnerships and investment vehicles involving friends, work colleagues and business partners. Untangling their financial holdings provides an unusually detailed look at how politically connected people have profited from being at the intersection of government and business as state influence and private wealth converge in China’s fast-growing economy.

via Family of Wen Jiabao Holds a Hidden Fortune in China –


7 thoughts on “Family of Wen Jiabao Holds a Hidden Fortune in China –”

  1. In countries such as China where the state government plays such a large role in the economic affairs of the nation, it is not too surprising to see fiscal scandals such as the one involving Wen Jiabao. While yes, I do believe that the New York Times and media worldwide not only have the right, but also the obligation to expose truths to the world; at the same time I am a little concerned as to the reasoning behind the timing of the article published in the New York Times. Just before elections, this is a crucial time for Jiabao to be potentially losing support as he will seek to push for more liberal reforms during China’s upcoming 18th Party Congress which occurs only once every ten years. I would hope that the New York Times would view some of Jiabao’s proposed liberal reforms as hope for more democracy and freedom in China, but the timing of this press relief by the New York Times might undermine Jiabao’s liberal reforms.

  2. Kyle’s correct that this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. This was caused by the high level of involvement the government has in the economy, but there is more side to it. The combination of a complex financial system and a non-transparent government made this much easier for this whole situation to develop. It took the New York Times a lot of work to dig up all of this information, and there is probably a lot they didn’t find. It seems that the communist party has recognized that the lack of transparency is a problem but mostly because so many scandals have come out. However, it looks like they are trying to clean things up but because the decision makers in China’s political system are at the top we will have to see if they apply these principles to themselves. Here is an article of the communist party’s attempt to clean up the government, but I am not sure how high up the attempts to fight corruption will go.

  3. It’s interesting to see this happen, because in many of the communist nations both in the past and the present have cases of corruption which is one of the reasons why communism failed in those countries, like the Soviet Union. To see this unfold now in China, which is looked at as one of the world’s more successful communistic countries, is interesting to note that they have now become part of the many communistic that has a big case of corruption of one of its main leader’s family and possibly of himself. The blocking of the viewing of the New York Times of this article is an interesting response from China’s government, which also must be looked at. Overall, it is sad to see yet another government have a possible case of corruption, and see the road down which they are heading. Here is a link showing the corruption of the Soviet Union.

  4. The 2.7 billion dollars that Wen Jiabao’s family aquired during his time as a public servant is a characteristic of countries with a low participation of the population in public affairs. This is not only true for socialist/communtist countries, but weak and shaddy democracies as well. The nepotist and paternalistic trait of public leaders common in such countries are one of the biggest reasons why these nations’s population suffer in what seems to be an eternal circle of misery and violence. From a practical point of view, it does not seem productive. The poverty of many turns into a problem for all.

  5. The true issue here isn’t the amount of money that Wen Jiabao’s family has acquired, it’s the fact that the Chinese government is willing to block the New York Times as a result of that.

    Having lived in China (Shanghai) last summer, it seems that China blocking a news article or source is a litmus test of sorts. You know you are a legitimate journalistic institution as soon as China has blocked you via the great firewall.

    That having been said, the fact that the New York Times Article was blocked definitely instigated the Streisand Effect, in which trying to push some type of content down actually helps it spread more widely.

  6. Is it really a big issue for a country to block the company from the United States? I’m not saying that I think that it is right, but that was the Chinese government’s choice and ruling. We all know that they have worked like this, and worse, in the past. Why is an issue now? Is it that we are getting the New York Times’ opinion on the matter?

    The Washington Post reported, “China’s foreign ministry called the article a “smear” on China’s name that has “ulterior motives.” At a daily briefing, foreign ministry ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the government’s censorship of the story online was “in accordance with laws and rules.” But he did not deny the report’s contents.”(

    I also think that it is fishy about the circumstances of the family. These situations exist in the world. Sorry. However I do think that the New York Times found some things that could change the future of China.

  7. George Orwell, “Animal Farm”. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. I have been to China this past summer, and I can see the body of Mao spinning in his glass coffin in Beijing right now. We knew from years that China is nothing more than a single party oligarchy where the elite of the communist party, control the wealth. A model, our political leaders would like to implement in our two party system (even though it is hard to discern the differences between the two parties anymore). Things could prove very interesting at the next Communist party Congress. How does China’s Prime Minister explain to to his comrades that he, and a number of the elite, are the “pig” characters in “Animal Farm”?

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