News / Asia

    Children of High Chinese Officials Turn Connections Into Riches

    By Susan Jackson and Kathy Guofu Feng

    Many people have become rich under China’s developing economy. But none as fabulously wealthy as the “Princelings” -- the children of high party officials.

    With great ceremony, China’s ruling Communist Party Congress is meeting to choose the next generation of leaders.

    Many of these men are the sons of former high party officials. They are called ‘princelings’ because they have achieved high political status largely due to their revolutionary lineage. As it is often the case, says magazine editor Hu Ping, many of them have also become very wealthy along the way.

    "They have many ways to get immensely rich, for example, they can monopolize the market and get government procurement contracts. Hu Haifeng, Hu Jintao’s son, is a good example here. He was once the president for Nuctech. In the end of 2006, Nuctech won a government deal to supply airports throughout China with scanners to detect liquid explosives.  In this way, they make a killing and it all looks legal. Inside trading is another way for them to get rich,” he said.

    A recent New York Times report says family members of China’s leader Wen Jiabao have accumulated more than $2.7 billion during his tenure as premier.  The wealth is hidden behind layers of investment vehicles in banking, insurance, precious stones, resorts and telecommunications.

    Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Hong Lei calls the report “libelous”. "Concerning the report smearing China’s reputation, it has ulterior motives,” the spokesman said.
     
    Other members of the politburo standing committee also have family members with strong business ties.

    Current Communist Party Chairman General Secretary Hu Jintao’s son-in-law was formerly the CFO of Sina.com, one of China’s largest web portals. Estimated wealth in 2003: between $35 million and $60 million.  

    Poltiburo Standing Committee member Li Changchun’s son is senior executive of China Mobile, a state-owned telecom giant.

    Earlier this year, Bloomberg News reported that the sister and other relatives of future Chinese president Xi Jinping have more than $100 million of family wealth.

    All this wealth comes despite the Party’s longtime proclamation that it represents the fundamental interests of the working class of China and premier Wen Jiabao's vow to crack down on corruption.

    "In regards to those corrupt members, it doesn’t matter what sector it happens in or who it involves, it doesn’t matter if they hold a high post, all must be severely punished under the law,” he said.

    Bo Xilai, son of a party elder, was expected to become a member of the next politburo Standing Committee after the leadership change. But he was thrown out of the party on corruption charges, only after his wife was convicted of murdering a British businessman after a business dispute.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    November 15, 2012 10:50 PM
    A government's first job is to keep people safe and to make them rich. CCP did excellent job! Now the challenge is that can CCP keep working as efficient as she did in the last decade?
    Let me choose, bread or vote, I will choose bread first. Only when I secured my bread then I ask for vote. I wouldnt do the opposite.
    In Response

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    November 21, 2012 12:44 PM
    @bill rich from Myanmar, you should say 2 billion Chinese got killed by CCP, isn't that more shocking?
    As me myself I never heard any of my relatives from my grandpa was killed by CCP. On the contrary, we still remember how many Chinese being killed by Japanese.
    Go to China if you have a chance and ask people if their lost any relatives by CCP's killing. You dont need to believe the propaganda, I dont either from both CCP or west media sides. But you can ask people.
    In Response

    by: Bill Rich from: Myanmar
    November 20, 2012 7:21 PM
    CCP is really doing an excellent job of protecting CCP members. In the last 60 years, CCP only managed to kill 80 million Chinese. I wish them luck in the next 60 years to do even better. May be 100 million.
    In Response

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    November 19, 2012 12:22 AM
    @ chris gao, really? you want to go back to Mao time? China was evenly poor at that time, so you like it? Cuba, NK are evenly poor too, you like it?
    Maybe you like it, but I believe majority Chinese dont like being poor including me. That s why I believe majority Chinese still support CCP. When China becomes the first super power then we can start to talk about democracy in China.
    In Response

    by: chris gao from: China
    November 18, 2012 7:57 PM
    of course , CCP makes China the second largest economy now in the world. but just like MENG Zi the wise man said nearly a thousand years ago that "what i fear most is not poorness, but unevensness of the money distribution".......
    In Response

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    November 17, 2012 6:39 PM
    @sun from Taipei. I live in Canada is because Canada is richer than China and I make more money here. It is easy to understand right? You see I care about money, that is exactly why I support communist party because she is making the country rich. I am sure when China is as rich as Canada there will be much less Chinese move to Canada. How many rich Kuwait people want to move to Canada? Even Kuwait is dictatorship.
    In Response

    by: Sun from: Taipei
    November 16, 2012 9:03 PM
    @Jonathan Huang, you must be very busy making excuses for what Communist China is doing (wrongdoings). If you love CCP so much (and if you really live in Canada), why not go back to China?
    What Chinese nationals have to realize is to get genuine democracy, not nominal democracy. "Wen Jiabao have accumulated more than $2.7 billion during his tenure as premier" --- CCP is the regime only for the privilege class.

    by: Aeris from: China
    November 15, 2012 2:18 AM
    Actually we people care not about their corrupt but that they are actually hurting and harming us with their supreme leadership power. Leaders first and all others second, it's why we students are forced to dance and sing miserably in heavy winds and snows just to please those damned leaders.

    by: longman from: canada
    November 14, 2012 9:29 PM
    The CCP has turned from "serving the people" to being served by people. Its members, especially those with high positions, have taken advantage of their status as well as their connections to benefit their own and their family and friends. It is corrupted and rotten.
    In Response

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    November 15, 2012 4:09 PM
    longman, so you miss the old CCP? or you miss Mao zedong? Who was serving the people right? But the question is why USA fought with old CCP but is doing businesses with the new CCP who served by people? Does that mean US is evil too?

    by: poppy from: amerlia
    November 14, 2012 8:27 PM
    Well, how about that ! I thought it was the same all over the world, just a different media slant. Capitalism v communism. It is still the rich taking from the poor.

    by: ian from: sydney
    November 14, 2012 8:18 PM
    pointles article. who deosn't know that in china its not what you can do its who you know that counts.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.