Wen Jiabao’s £1.68bn family wealth: China furious at US exposé
China has lashed out at a US newspaper report that premier Wen Jiabao’s family has amassed vast wealth worth at least $2.7bn (£1.68bn), censoring the New York Times website and questioning the paper’s motivations.
The story said Wen, widely seen as the humane face of China’s top leadership, was not directly linked to the holdings. But the association with such a fortune was in stark contrast to the man-of-the-people image he has cultivated.
A foreign ministry spokesman said the report “blackens China’s name and has ulterior motives”. Censors blocked the paper’s Chinese language website, at least partially obstructed access to its main site, and banned microblog searches for New York Times in English and Chinese.
“China manages the internet in accordance with laws and rules,” spokesman Hong Lei told reporters when asked why the sites were inaccessible.
The detailed account, based on company and regulatory filings, said several of Wen’s relatives had become extremely wealthy since his ascent to the top leadership, controlling assets whose total worth is more than the GDP of Burundi. In many cases their holdings were obscured by layers of partnerships and investment vehicles involving friends, colleagues or business partners.
The report is damaging not only to Wen, but also to the Communist party. It has faced months of unwelcome scrutiny while preparing for a once-in-a-decade leadership transition – mostly thanks to the scandal surrounding disgraced leader Bo Xilai and his wife Gu Kailai’s conviction for murdering a British businessman. On Friday Bo was expelled from the country’s legislature, as expected, paving the way for his prosecution. He has been accused of corruption and abuse of power.
There has been a spate of revelations about wealth amassed by people around other senior figures. Authorities blocked the Bloomberg websiteearlier this year after it exposed the multi-million dollar assets held by the extended family of Xi Jinping, heir-apparent to the presidency. It has also reported that Bo’s relatives accumulated at least $136m in assets.
The top leaders “are like paranoid, flying eagles,” said Edward Friedman, professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “If you are looking up they look like the most powerful creatures in the world. But what they see is what a long fall it would be. I think in their consciousness it is very much about all the things that could go wrong.”
as you can see..you can be rich anywhere..no matter what sort of country you supposedly are..there are billionaires in communist countries?..yes, of course..now that is irony..and its also reality..one rule for the slaves and different rules for the elite..