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2012年10月28日星期日

121026 《纽约时报》 温家宝总理家人隐秘的财富 读者评论

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/26/business/global/family-of-wen-jiabao-holds-a-hidden-fortune-in-china.html

578 Comments
Readers shared their thoughts on this article.


NYT PICKS

DanJim Thorpe, PANYT Pick
Just like the rich folk in this country - I'm sure he'll be creating jobs with all that money.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:02 p.m.RECOMMENDED83

BarryLexington, MANYT Pick
My grandmother from Belarus once explained to me the difference between communism and capitalism: The capitalist says "what's mine is mine and what's yours is yours"; the communist says "what's mine is mine and what's yours ... is also mine".
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.RECOMMENDED89

TomUrbana, IllinoisNYT Pick
In the US, we repackage our corruption, call it national defense, and wrap it in patriotism.

In PRC, they do corruption the old fashioned way. This kind of bad PR will eventually force them to wise up and start laundering through defense contractors.

In the evolution of corruption, they're novices.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED248

Nick MetrowskyLongmont Colorado
Verified
NYT Pick
George Orwell, "Animal Farm". "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

I can see the body of Mao spinning in his glass coffin in Beijing right now. So much for the communist ideal of everyone is equal and everyone shares in the wealth of the state.

Well, we knew fro 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"?
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:09 p.m.RECOMMENDED111

Kenneth TruemanMontrealNYT Pick
Funny how the principles of communism are good enough for others, but not the leaders. I snicker when I see the princelings who come to study at Harvard and other bastions of the West.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED30

Ryan JamesRock Springs, WYNYT Pick
Chinese corruption happens behind closed doors. American corruption is institutionalized by campaign finance laws that allow private companies to essentially buy congressional votes. Time to take a good at our own politicians before looking down on China's.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED38

TKDCNYT Pick
This article is only peeling the surface of the true problem and danger of China today. When talking to someone from the Senate committee dealing with China issues, years ago, and asked what would be most important issue the United States would need to focus on when dealing with China, my answer was corruption.

Their political, military, regional and local leaders control and manage all of China's economic affairs. It means that China's international and domestic policies are controlled by greed of these individuals. The rampant corruption in their government not only impacts their internal politics, but their external relationship from economic trade to military affairs.

Even back then corruption in China was a reaching a breaking point, and it was only going to get worst before they had to react to appease its public. However, corruption and doing favors through relationships ("guanxi") so deeply ingrained in Chinese culture, it will always be present in some form or fashion.

While China's corruption could be compared with Russia, China is geopolitical novice who is just starting to understand that players with power have responsibilities. At the same time, China is currently having economic issues, because level growth was never sustainable, and hurting the system that cannot sustain its power base fueled by corruption. Then China really only has two choices, reform its system or start looking outside. And those with power have a hard time letting it go.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED34

stevehawaiiNYT Pick
Well, this is really no surprise to anyone who knows how China works. But as suspicious as this all is, I find it interesting where much of this money is being invested--biotech, wind and solar energy, waste recycling, education, insurance, construction, jewelry. I suppose jewelry is rather useless in the grand scheme of things, and construction can have its negatives as well as positives, but most of these industries to me seem like good, solid, forward-looking investments. If they're going to use their connections, I'd rather have them invest in those industries rather than polluting, chemical and oil-based industries, or in sweatshops.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED31

achangShanghaiNYT Pick
Came in to my office this morning in Shanghai and no NYT, usually isn't blocked, so like the others hopped the great firewall with my VPN to see this article. I work with all Chinese so I asked a few of them what they thought about it. They hadn't specifically heard about Wen's situation but no one was surprised in the least. Their comment was, all top Communist officials are very rich.

This article does a good job in explaining the dynamics of how political favor is courted and wealth among the political elite is accumulated. In the US we use Super PAC's and lobbyists to influence government in China it's done through the families of the Party. Unfortunate, and destructive but nothing new to those on the ground here.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED69

James J. ConnollyWaterford, ConnecticutNYT Pick
Modern China looks a lot like a corrupt banana republic. The Chinese people see that a mere 60 years after their Revolution, the rich and well connected "Communists" have used the apparatuses of party and state to enrich and entrench themselves as outrageously as Chiang Kai-shek and the warlords who preceded them. Wen Jiabao a Populist? More of a classic robber baron! These Chinese plutocrats herd their people into slave-like conditions in giant sweatshops and sell their labor to foreign companies like Apple.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:12 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

CityBumpkinEarthNYT Pick
Americans really are a self-absorbed lot. Reading the comments on this piece, everyone seems to turn the discussion back to America in some way. Every comment seems to begin with some variation of, "Oh yeah? Well, here in America..."

Perhaps this piece is interesting because it shows something about the CCP leadership, which has been low-profile and opaque to the outside world as well as its own people for decades. The information here, and the attention it might generate, may signify changing times in China.

Perhaps this piece is worth paying attention to because China is worth paying attention to, and not merely another mirror for Americans to use to obsess over themselves.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:20 p.m.RECOMMENDED10


READER PICKS
TomUrbana, IllinoisNYT Pick
FLAG
In the US, we repackage our corruption, call it national defense, and wrap it in patriotism.

In PRC, they do corruption the old fashioned way. This kind of bad PR will eventually force them to wise up and start laundering through defense contractors.

In the evolution of corruption, they're novices.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED248
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Jim BCalifornia
It appears that China is doing things the opposite way from the United States. In China, those with the political power in the "People's Republic" have become an oligarchy dedicated to accumulating wealth. In the United States, those who have accumulated great wealth are now pursuing political power to transform our republic from a democracy to oligarchy.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED176

JackMiddletown, CT
"Steal a little and they throw you jail, steal a lot and they make you King." Bob Dylan
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.RECOMMENDED156

ShawnShanghai
I woke up this morning and as usual went to the NY Times website to catch up on the election. Strangely it didn't work on my smart phone. I fired up my computer and I couldn't get on to the site from my computer either. "Strange" I thought, "maybe i should try with my VPN connected." I connected the VPN, and suddenly was able to log into nytimes.com again. The headline of this story on the front of the home page told me all I needed to know about why I couldn't access nytimes.com without a VPN. It's times like these that I have to laugh at the backwardness of the CCP and China. For the first time that I can remember nytimes.com has been blocked by the great firewall, congratulations!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED139

M. PaireNYC
Thank you for reminding me why after a century, NYT is still an undisputed source of news. Other newspapers/cable "news" channels take note, this is how it's done.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:55 a.m.RECOMMENDED112

Nick MetrowskyLongmont Colorado
Verified
NYT Pick
George Orwell, "Animal Farm". "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

I can see the body of Mao spinning in his glass coffin in Beijing right now. So much for the communist ideal of everyone is equal and everyone shares in the wealth of the state.

Well, we knew fro 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"?
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:09 p.m.RECOMMENDED111

Jane DaughertyWest Palm Beach, FL
Hugely important revelations. Incredibly impressive reporting. Bravo.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:48 p.m.RECOMMENDED101

PadfootPortland, OR
Glad to know that the Communists are just like us.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED91

Mango JamMiami, Fla.
There's no capitalist ilke a communist!
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:05 p.m.RECOMMENDED90

BarryLexington, MANYT Pick
My grandmother from Belarus once explained to me the difference between communism and capitalism: The capitalist says "what's mine is mine and what's yours is yours"; the communist says "what's mine is mine and what's yours ... is also mine".
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.RECOMMENDED89

DanJim Thorpe, PANYT Pick
Just like the rich folk in this country - I'm sure he'll be creating jobs with all that money.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:02 p.m.RECOMMENDED83

JamesSt. Paul, MN.
Despite language, culture, and political system differences, this article confirms the fact that the dishonesty and corruption in our two countries is far more similar than different. The wealth which can be quietly secured in both countries by our so-called
leaders is a crime against the citizens with virtually no chance of punishment.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:05 p.m.RECOMMENDED80

muezzinSalt Lake City
"Everything I did was legal."

Sounds like another politically ambitious tycoon, who is domiciled closer to our shores. Unfortunately, he will not release his tax returns.

It is no surprising to hear that Chinese and Russian elites are essentially rent-seeking mafias bent on extracting value. It seems to me, however, that the revolving door between Wall Street, the Fed, government and assorted hedge/private equity funds essentially represents the same thing - influence peddling and rent seeking.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED76

Joel FriedlanderHuntington Station, New York
Did you ever hear of a dictator, even of the proletariat, who didn't feather their own nests? In America it is done when the former legislator gets a job with a lobbying group. Follow the money and you'll see what is really happening.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.RECOMMENDED74

achangShanghaiNYT Pick
Came in to my office this morning in Shanghai and no NYT, usually isn't blocked, so like the others hopped the great firewall with my VPN to see this article. I work with all Chinese so I asked a few of them what they thought about it. They hadn't specifically heard about Wen's situation but no one was surprised in the least. Their comment was, all top Communist officials are very rich.

This article does a good job in explaining the dynamics of how political favor is courted and wealth among the political elite is accumulated. In the US we use Super PAC's and lobbyists to influence government in China it's done through the families of the Party. Unfortunate, and destructive but nothing new to those on the ground here.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED69

MattLos Angeles, CA
Incredible reporting - hat's off. Not particularly surprising, but this article could, and should, have significant global consequences.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED61

kentSan Diego, CA
In the past, China was ruled by corrupt imperial dynasties. Today they are ruled by a corrupt Imperial Dynasty called, rather amusingly, the Communist Party.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 1:17 a.m.RECOMMENDED59

NiagaraFrontierEnschede, NL
Great reporting! As usual I went to the NYT first thing in the morning here in China, and for the first time I remember it's blocked by the Great Firewall. Hmmm... I wonder why? Used a VPN to "fly over the wall" and here it is. It's this kind of reporting that makes the NYT great (remember how they uncovered the LIRR retirement scam a few years ago?) and until China has its own investigative reporting and independent press, it will never achieve the self-reflection necessary for political progress in any form.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:50 a.m.RECOMMENDED58

yasuaki toriiJapan
I was born in northern China and admired Mao Zu-dong's people's army. They teach me revolution and it's song. Shared their poor food ration with desperate Japanese child. They were all honest and first of all they were real human. Where are they now? Are there need more revolution? I read once more this article thoroughly and think about China again.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED58

Clement R KnorrTucson, Arizona
Put a forensic accountant on the tail of US politicians and you will discover that a vast number of them are engaged in exactly the same sort of behavior. "Nothing is new under the sun."
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED57

devreaderNew Brunswick
All ruling elites of the world (capitalists, communists, socialists, anarchists) are all united to suppress, intimidate, control and leech the powerless using any means necessary! Unless the exploited people wake up, this will only get worse!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED53

Pawnbroker1TumwaterWA
I wonder why anyone would need to steal more than a billion dollars?
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED51

Michael SWappingers Falls, NY
Verified
It good to be the King
Oct. 25, 2012 at 10:39 p.m.RECOMMENDED51

AJNew York
This is just tremendous reporting. If only more such articles and exposes made their way into the public domain.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED47

DR SIDMass
Sickening.
But then our elected officials seem to get rich while in office.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:06 p.m.RECOMMENDED46

Ryan JamesRock Springs, WYNYT Pick
Chinese corruption happens behind closed doors. American corruption is institutionalized by campaign finance laws that allow private companies to essentially buy congressional votes. Time to take a good at our own politicians before looking down on China's.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED38

JackIllinois
Yes, China has a 5,000 year old culture. And this is how it has been for a majority of that time for the Chinese. Rulers and peasants, with a thick layer of bureaucrats.This is the true Chinese character. Wen is simply the modern iteration of the Chinese spirit.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED38

WesFort Worth TX
Step 1: Sell the populace on socialism
Step 2: Overthrow the authority, eliminate your competitors
Step 3: Take control of what's left
Step 4: Sell the populace on capitalism
Step 5: Cash out

Machiavelli would be proud.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:46 a.m.RECOMMENDED36

Eric WFL
Great article.
But remember, the income inequlity indicator Gini Index is as bad in US as in China (0.45 in both countries), the difference is that in China the top 0.1 percenters are the political elites, whereas in US they are the Wall Street bankers/brokers, big corporation CEOs.
Big difference, huh? May be; may not be.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED35

BenCascades, Oregon
So, what is different compared to the rest of the world? How do you think the 1% in the US operate? Do you expect these people to list opportunity in the newspaper classifieds or exploit trusted networks. I don't buy the breathless air of the article, do not think it will cause much of a stink, and how did Wikileaks become a credible source for the Times after all the beat downs? I also don't buy the big deal investigative reporting accolades. From what I read what we are looking at is a fairly thorough research job so sadly lacking in the so called news analysis we read so often that they have replaced plain old fact driven reporting. I bet most of this was accomplish via a high speed internet connection. It's not like anyone was sneaking around digging up facts unknown except to the inner sanctum of a clandestine organization. Those thinking I find the whole thing irritating would be correct. It seems to me there is an overabundance of fecund ground needing to be plowed up here at home. But no, its more important to write articles invalidating Occupy and Wikileaks than to dig up the dirt on home grown corruption. The Times treats our bigwigs with kid gloves. Heck the Times, if it wanted to could probably boil the state legislature alive tomorrow morning, again if it wanted to. I'm remembering how it treated the GS deal where Goldman bet against the position it was aggressively marketing to its customers after engineering a guaranteed looser for them and the list goes on.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED35

JayNashville, TN
When I try to share this article to Weibo, a hugely popular chinese equivalent of Twitter, the system said, "Your post cannot be published due to violation of law".

Even if Mr. Wen has no direct dealing with these transactions, all the people around him are approached by numerous people for business dealings, simply because they are relatives/friends/colleagues of Mr. Wen. It works pretty much like that anywhere in the world. The difference lies in the rule of law. There are laws in China prohibiting all kinds of things, but if you are rich and/or powerful, those rules just do not apply.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED35

TKDCNYT Pick
This article is only peeling the surface of the true problem and danger of China today. When talking to someone from the Senate committee dealing with China issues, years ago, and asked what would be most important issue the United States would need to focus on when dealing with China, my answer was corruption.

Their political, military, regional and local leaders control and manage all of China's economic affairs. It means that China's international and domestic policies are controlled by greed of these individuals. The rampant corruption in their government not only impacts their internal politics, but their external relationship from economic trade to military affairs.

Even back then corruption in China was a reaching a breaking point, and it was only going to get worst before they had to react to appease its public. However, corruption and doing favors through relationships ("guanxi") so deeply ingrained in Chinese culture, it will always be present in some form or fashion.

While China's corruption could be compared with Russia, China is geopolitical novice who is just starting to understand that players with power have responsibilities. At the same time, China is currently having economic issues, because level growth was never sustainable, and hurting the system that cannot sustain its power base fueled by corruption. Then China really only has two choices, reform its system or start looking outside. And those with power have a hard time letting it go.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED34

LarryLos Angeles, CA
Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's the reverse.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED34

fintipst. john's
In its slow embrace of capitalism, it's perhaps not surprising that Chinese leaders would opt for the American model, wherein there are two routes to the accumulation of great wealth - only one of which involves earning it.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED32

MouseNYC
'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.'
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED32

nytfanshanghai
my goodness what a blockbuster by the nyt! does this mean everyone at the top is no different? wonder how the government will respond.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED32

stevehawaiiNYT Pick
Well, this is really no surprise to anyone who knows how China works. But as suspicious as this all is, I find it interesting where much of this money is being invested--biotech, wind and solar energy, waste recycling, education, insurance, construction, jewelry. I suppose jewelry is rather useless in the grand scheme of things, and construction can have its negatives as well as positives, but most of these industries to me seem like good, solid, forward-looking investments. If they're going to use their connections, I'd rather have them invest in those industries rather than polluting, chemical and oil-based industries, or in sweatshops.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED31

Kowtha, N.Seoul,Korea
This is a good piece of reporting. But as these things work all over the world, I suspect that much of the information that was buried under layers could have come to light only because someone high up has a vested interest in the expose. This is probably a critical juncture for Chinese politics. The story might mean more than an expose and it should worry all of us who are already worried to death about "the economy".

A second point I would like to make looking at the comments here- if slightly offensive- pertains to the hue and cry about Chinese corruption and all that. I do not think any of us anywhere in the world is in a position to point fingers . To wit, the wannabe Superstat India will have a good laugh when it looks at this tiny amount of $2.7 Billion. I do not want to get into what is happening (or happened) in America and Europe.

Corruption is bad, hurts people and damages nations. Let us also remember that corruption is not just stealing money but also a state of mind that leads to relentless pursuit of wealth at any cost to others. That does not put any country or peoples in a good light.
But to act and speak as if you are encountering something completely alien is laughable. It is this kind of put-on rectitude and self-righteousness that turns off people in other countries.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED30

Kenneth TruemanMontrealNYT Pick
Funny how the principles of communism are good enough for others, but not the leaders. I snicker when I see the princelings who come to study at Harvard and other bastions of the West.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED30

NingNaperville, IL
It's a great report, although the essence of the story is no surprise to most people.

Say, you put a hamster in one end of the box, closed the walls, opened the doors, it will get to the other end. Did the hamster get there on it's own? Yes. Are you not responsible for it? Of course you are.

Wen's family are simply exploiting the skewed rules they happen to be in a position to exploit. And who makes the rules? Right. So don't say he's not responsible just because he wasn't involved in the business dealings. A simple "not aware of it" is not enough to help you come clean.

And, by the way, when your wife makes 2 billion dollars, you have most certainly "personally benefited" from it and received "personal gain".
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED29

RWASkagit Valley, WA
There is an old adage, which seems appropriate here... " Behind every great fortune lies a great crime." Shame on these materialist whose god is their accumulated fortune.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED27

J. TseFlushing, NY
Is there any major company or industry who's not in bed with the communist party? The recent AMC acquisition is especially disturbing. Et tu, hollywood?

As a native Hong Konger, the ramifications are frightening. Imagine a movie where Tibetans and Falun Gong members are actually the bad guys (which is what they've been successfully spinning at home).

We can expect to see more Chinese propaganda coming to a theater near you. And with their ridiculous pockets, what greedy Hong Kong actor/actress wouldn't want a piece of that action?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED25

MKSacramento, CA
not surprised at all. It's been the same in S. Korea, but not as bad now precisely because of free press, civil society, rule of law, etc.----which China does not have.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 1:17 a.m.RECOMMENDED25

45hoage
when you walk around big cities in China you see incredible wealth; luxury bags and clothing are ubiquitous; Maseratis, Porsches , Bentleys are surprisingly common; more and more real estate is geared for the wealthy and super-wealthy. people seem to have more money than they know what to do with. it can be shocking to see.

it begs the question, where does it all come from? how are these people getting so rich so fast? and in so many cases it comes from someone with a powerful connection, an old school friend in a government position. people in these positions can turn on the tap and create a flood of money for everyone around them.

in big cities and small towns all over china there are huge building projects in development, and for every project, there's a privileged group enriching themselves, extracting their share. from the small town local cadres to politburo members it's the same story

if so much wealth is being distributed like this, how can it be good for China's economy? how is this system possibly creating value? there is no way that it's sustainable. only because of the massive scale of china's growth has it lasted this long.

when is the crash coming?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED24

J. TseFlushing, NY
If you have ever lived a day in China, you'll know that China's 1% make our 1% look like 10%. And since their government decides what goes in the newspaper, news media, the internet, their 1% is much more powerful. No freedom of press = super corruption. Surprised?
In reply to DrewOct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED24

JokerGotham
I visited China in 2000 as a summer scholar.

The week I arrived, there was a criminal trial for some middle level guy who had been accused corruption Chen Kejie http://articles.latimes.com/2000/sep/15/news/mn-21541 or something like that.

Before the week was out, he had been convicted and executed. It was all over the news, a show trial and an example.

Also in the news was a $1 Billion telecommunications contract for an American firm whose main business partner was the son of one of the members of the central committee.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED23

ChrisArizona
While millions work as slaves manufacturing everything that ends up in big box stores around the world, this guy skims billions enriching himself, family and friends.

I guess greed and selfishness are traits of the elite no matter where.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED22

Sgt LuciferChicago, IL
Great reporting, NYT. Thanks for giving me my subscription money's worth.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED22

michael a. livingstoncheltenham pa.
I always laugh when people think the CPC will stay in power forever. It is corrupt, environmentally disastrous, and spawning unprecedented inequality. China will last forever, but the Party won't
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED22

TerrryNew York
Wow. Insider trading, misuse of government funds, monopoly, nepotism, betrayal and divorce. This movie practically writes itself. If China wants an oscar, this is their chance!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED22

forbetterworldBoston, MA
In the early morning of May 19, 1989, Zhao Ziyang went to Tiananmen square in his last public appearance urging the students to end the hunger strike and go back to school. He was accompanied by Wen Jiabao on that day. Wen was the Chief of the General Office of the Communist Party then. Both of them are considered reformers and student movement sympathizers in the party. 23 years later, Wen has been a great disappointment to me. Not only he hasn't pushed (or couldn't) for any meaningful political reform but got deep into the very political quagmires, scandals, and corruptions that he has spoken up against strongly in the past. His words don't match his deeds.

Or maybe I expected too much from him. In a corrupt political system under an authoritative regime, there is very little one, even with very strong will, can do to correct the wrongs and injustices. In the case of China, a society where the government controls the land, corporation, business deal, and even press, power translates into wealth. This is not news to many average Chinese citizens. Plenty of scandals and corruptions already made general public in China believe this is a social norm. More people just felt helpless and hopeless to really change any of these.

In my view, Wen and Hu have wasted a golden opportunity to really reform and change China's political system in the last 10 years when they are in power. They just kick the can down the road and hope Xi core will deal with the issue.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED19

BingSeattle, WA
Great job NYT for digging into layers and layers of paper work, and making a substantial case. Thanks God for Investigative Journalism! Mr. Baboza and his worthy peers have done a great service to the public.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:49 a.m.RECOMMENDED19

DrewNew York
China has a 1%. USA has a 1%. Surprised?
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED19

rojacalienteWherever the music is....
Thank you for this reporting. I read so many articles from the west heralding China as the next big thing without any significant analysis of the country at hand. Yes, the numbers look good on paper but whose hand is writing these numbers. Corruption is what keeps China's economy running on every level... Seriously, I have to pay someone in my building community not to steal my bike because if I don't they will steal it.

I have lived in China for awhile in both Shenzhen and Beijing. Shenzhen is the modern economic engine of China. Many people come from the fields and become billionaires but only after paying tribute to some government official. I can tell you that people tell me all the time that they have to hire some "red collar workers" to keep harmony with the government. If you fall out of favor, you have no chance that you life will be ever be secure. Either the gangs or the paid-off judges are going to get you.

There are a few people with tremendous wealth and they sure like to flaunt it in the faces of the rest of the population. But even in Beijing, you don't have to go far to see the people squatting the uninhabited building projects that make the wealthy ie government and cronies so rich. I cross the street from my apartment complex and people in the hutongs are living without access to toilets and water. Soon, another poorly made high rise will be constructed there: unoccupied yet somehow creating ridiculous earnings for the gov players and friends.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED18

cdav531New Jersey
It is not exactly a secret here in China that the key to becoming wealthy is either to become a Party member or to have close friends who are. In one of my university classes here last year a freshman girl was filling out an application to join The Party and I asked her why she wanted to join. She attempted to say something along the lines of "to serve the people" and I immediately called her out on it. She never quite admitted it was actually for her own selfish interests but she never quite denied it either. Sadly, this is the way China operates these days. Everyone knows "Communism" doesn't exist here anymore and everyone goes along with the Big Lie that it does. ("Socialism With Chinese Characteristics" for example. This is just a fancy way of saying "unfettered capitalism.") What is striking to me, however, is not how openly corrupt the Party is, but how accepting "ordinary" Chinese generally are of the corruption. They don't necessarily want to see it end. They'd rather just become part of it. That is what saddens me the most. It influences the entire culture here. Ask any Westerner living here how many true Chinese "friends" they have. Most will answer "not many." A "friend" here is usually someone who can "help" you.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED18

MikeWestchester. NY
An amazing piece of reporting. Bravo, New York Times, bravo!!!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED18

GuestBrooklyn
Long live the New York Times! Good work, folks.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:46 a.m.RECOMMENDED18

wsfann arbor michigan
This is no surprise. Somebody must own the assets of China why not the family of the leader? Nepotism is surely the oldest economic tie that binds. Surely one does not allow perfect strangers to receive the largesse.

I am not being sarcastic in the paragraph above even though I think the situation stinks to high heaven. I am guilty of using cliches, however.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED18

mclau005bDoylestown, PA
Communism at it's finest!
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED18

DoodleFort Myers
As observers for racism and classism have noticed, the bottom line often is not race but class. What is the distinctiion between a rich capitalist versus a rich comminist? None. They both step on the toil and suffering of the masses to amass their riches. As such, no matter how much economic growth there is, there will always be poor, destitute people.

That's why democracy is so important. Only a genuinely functioning democracy (not here in United States by the way) can build a government by the people and for the people. Without strong democracy, capitalism, socialism or communism are just different routes to oligarchy. The only difference is that it will be more obvious in a communistic country than a capitalist one where one is fooled by the illusion of a free market.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED17

ed johnsonCuba, AL
Keep digging. Don't stop...don't ever stop.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED17

ChasDPJersey
Why would any one be surprised that dictators become rich off the backs of their people. They are called dictators, it is what they are. The do as I say not as I do motto is old as the hills...look at leadership of Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan any number of nations...their leaders pee in golden toilets while the people do so in holes in the ground.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED17

Robert DanaNY 11937
Nick, you state, "I can see the body of Mao spinning in his glass coffin in Beijing right now."

Do you really think that Chairman Mao lived in a manner equal to the Chinese proletariat? If you do, you may be interested in buying this really big wall I have heard about.
In reply to Nick MetrowskyOct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED17

Paul RoppWorcester, MA
"Steal a jade hook, executed as a thief. Steal a kingdom, crowned as a prince." Zhuang Zi (4th century BCE)
In reply to JackOct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED17

BingSeattle, WA
"People always get the government they deserve" so said Jefferson. And I am afraid your response just illustrates why the saying is so true. Sometime idealism and ideology were oversold as worth dying for. But in this case, it is totally the other around, for me at least - that a corrupt life is not worth living for. If Chinese people think they could tolerate "some" corruption in order to live a life they deserve, they would never get the life they truly deserve.
In reply to Tim TengOct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED16

kiljoy616USA
Mao was never a Communist he was just like those after him a Oligarchy who thought he and his closest associates where more equal. Nothing like Communism could exist in reality, and with 10 million dead by his hand Mao can rot in his grave.
In reply to Nick MetrowskyOct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED16

WilliamNYC
China is a corrupt, sordid country that may implode upon itself within our lifetime. Can you imagine if in the United States, Obama's extended family members went from dirt poor to billionaires while he was in office, all on the strength of rigged business deals? It is unfathomable, but that is what happened in China. It's a disgrace.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED15

Lucas SherrNew York
To the Editors of New York Times:

The recent diatribe against Hu, Wen and Xi is a direct result of high level political struggle between Hu, Wen Xi clique and the Zhou (Yongkang Zhou), Bo (Xilai Bo) Clique before the
18th National Congress.

Currently, the Zhou Clique has been distributing anti-Hu/Wen/Xi propaganda to stir up turmoil before the National Congress.

Hu, Wen and Xi are pro political reforms and China might be able to carry out further democratic reforms if they are in power. My question is instead of trying to win eyeballs for this kind of negative propaganda on China's hope for democratic reforms, could you please refrain from getting involved in China's political struggle and at least try to not side with anyone.

As a Chinese national who is abroad, I would like my country to proceed gradually towards democracy. The Zhou Clique will hinder this process and their record of persecution of Chinese nationals show no signs of hope whatsoever.

Between winning attention and doing what is correct, I hope that New York Times can do the right thing and support China's democratic cause, instead of using ill-willed evidence aimed to further their own political ends.

Thank you.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:34 p.m.RECOMMENDED15

nealmontana
Just shows wealthy people all act the same no matter what country or government or economic system controls that country. Won't be long before they are all together in controlling most everything. If they aren't already there. I don't see much difference between todays gop wealthy and China's Wen.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED15

Vincent AmatoNew York City
In spite of one respondent's (fintip) description of China's "slow embrace of capitalism," there was actually nothing slow about it. Mao's body had not even cooled before the legions of Chinese for whom wealth acquisition is given the highest value had siezed the reins of power. The so-called Gang of Four was quickly dispatched and China could begin using its vast pool of workers willing to work for pennies an hour to become the manufacturing center of the world. (Look at this month's National Geographic for an amazing chart showing that of the dozen or so largest container ports in the world, nine are in China. In the 1950s, American conservatives often asked, "Who lost China?" Apparently, it was never really lost, merely distracted for what, by Chinese measurement of time, was a very short period indeed.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED15

MichaelLos Angeles
For millennnia, the Emperor in China owned everything, including the people, and was entitled to the best of everything. Having a child pass the civil service examination has been a cause for family celebrations from the time of Confucius to the present since it guaranteed a comfortable life and financial security. Nothing is different now, just the nature of the investments and the name of the ruling dynasty.

However, every few hundred years the peasants have overthrown a dynasty that became weak through intrigue and corruption. The Chinese people may not be eager or ready for electoral democracy, itself no guarantee against corruption, but through the internet and despite censorship they are aware and resentful of corruption in high places. This has roiled the leadership succession process going on in China now. The impact this will have within China and for the rest of the world is not clear. Instability in a country as large, rich, and powerful as China is not good.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED15

tostenSwan Valley, Montana
My experience in China has taught me that nothing happens there without some party official profiting from it. The second thing I have learned is that this is culturally accepted as the engine of progress. It is the Chinese characteristic in their capitalism that they so often cite but never explain. It is nothing new there. Privilege has always been considered a natural part of political involvement. Guanxi is the glass ceiling for China in competing with the rest of the world economically. The enemy of all this is democratic reform. When will those in power be rich and secure enough to allow this? When does any monarchy finally let go? Perhaps the royal family of England could hire on as consultants to untangle this mess.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:44 p.m.RECOMMENDED14

BobbiToulouse
Since I'm in China today, let me add to the comments about NYTimes blocking. We are being blocked today in my part of the country. It's true that the Times is normally available without blocking but today is an exception.

As soon as I switched to VPN and saw the front page, I knew why today was an exception. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see the ban hold for a few days before it gets back to normal.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.RECOMMENDED14

A ChineseLawrence
Although it is a little late, I am still very happy to see such a report. It is actually a very old news to many Chinese that Wen Jiabao and his family are extremely corrupted. I don't think this is a *news* to NYtimes either. NYtimes reports it right now because Wen will step down from his position in a few days. He has no value to the West any more. Actually Wen is a very pro-west premier. He portrayed himself as a reformer, even the conscience of China. A lot of his political ideas are similar to Western political idea. But a lot of Chinese know his true color. He actually has a nickname "the best Oscar actor" in China.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.RECOMMENDED14

MikeGuangzhou, China
I can't imagine a government official at any level in China that doesn't take part in this kind of cronysim, it's how things get done.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED14

ParikChevyChase, MD
Politicial ideology always seem to give way to greed and materialism, eh?
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:46 p.m.RECOMMENDED14

SCBVirginia USA
I see a lot of comments saying something like "it's just as bad here" or "how is this different from what happened with [INSERT CORPORATE SCANDAL].

Please look at any of the many comments by posters who've lived and worked in China (as I have) if you want to understand the difference. Official corruption pervades every aspect of Chinese life, and nothing can get done without greasing the wheels. Sometimes it is subtle, like how when you need a basic permit, you have to call a friend in the municipal government to move things along, otherwise your application will get 'lost'. Sometimes it's less subtle, like how before you take a trip overseas an official will casually tell you about a type of watch that he hasn't been able to find in China. And sometimes it's blatant, like when you have to leave an envelope with a couple of hundred dollars dollars on the desk of a bureaucrat to make sure your car passes a safety inspection.

It's all well and good to be upset about corruption at home, but saying that 'it's just as bad here' only demonstrates that you really have no idea how bad it is there.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED13

Willy GissenHartsdale, New York
Verified
This article almost makes one think that China could be on the verge of another revolution.

Families of senior officials are amassing fortunes, using their influence and foreknowledge to engage in financial deals in an economic marketplace that is still highly regulated by the state.

In China, the intersection between government and the economy is a strong one with many regulated industries, required approvals and other top-down direction that relatives of powerful officials can use to their benefit.

The article provides a searing analysis of family and relatives of China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao, as an example. His wife, Zhang Beili, is engaged in the lucrative jewelry business, often participating on regulatory bodies of her own industry. The Prime Minister's son, who goes by the name of Winston Wen is a highly educated participant in private equity. Even the Prime Minister's mother holds an investment worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

It is because of plutocrats like these that the Communist Party was founded and should this corruption continue, the government will be vulnerable to a demagogue/populist who will lead a purity campaign to stop it.

It remains to be seen how the Times analysis and revelations will reverberate in China. (Go to http://www.cioediting.com/wordpress for more New York Times analyses.)
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:30 p.m.RECOMMENDED13

JonathanNYC
No, if you look at the list of the top 400 wealthiest in the US, there is not a single politician on it. Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs, the Waltons - all their money came from selling useful products to customers who voluntarily purchased them.

In China, it is all politicians.
In reply to PadfootOct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED13

James DWashington, DC
And I thought Brezhnev's collection of luxury cars was bad.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED13

us citizen who used to live in democracyunited states
China has always been good a replicating innovation in products, and I applaud them for it.

I am not surprised that the 1% in China have been good at replicating the same sort of "opportunities" to build assets that are used by our own elected officials in this great, former democracy, the US. We now live in an oligopy (sp). Apparantly just like China.

Best wishes to all the power brokers in the world with the good sense to get all they can for themselsves, and avoid their main civic duty.

Signing off as...
A patriot, a member of the 99% and a person who is watching our country devolve, due to the lack of a few great statesmen or stateswomen.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED13

JackIllinois
Exaggerate much? America is like China?
In reply to JamesOct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED13

NWCentral Illinois
The only thing surprising about this is the scale of their earnings. It's the same in America, though not to the same extent. Money in politics is corruption in action (cf. Lawrence Lessig).

I've thought about what I'd do if I were rich a lot for a twenty-something, but $120 million? I just can't even fathom what I'd do with that.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED12

citizen625Bigfork, MT
Excellent journalism. This is how the US/Ivy League/Wall Street/DC clique works. It's no wonder who went first in the French, Russian and Chinese revolutions. The rich only have "friends" until their money runs out. That's why the rich guys created religion: guilt for the little people.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED12

K ElderShanghai
Wow! This is huge. You might be interested to know that I can only read this here in Shanghai by using a VPN. The NYT site is blocked -- pretty unusual. Yet the story is already out and about here. The only Chinese person I've yet spoken to this morning says her daughter told her last night -- but even she was shocked by the amount of money.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED12

James HurwitWest Hartford, CT
Well witnessed NYT "being at the intersection of government and business as state influence and private wealth converge ", Why should China be any different than the US, "and so it goes".
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED12

Miranda RightNew York
There are so many bright and hard working international students who grew up impoverished. If ivy leagues have any decency, they will reserve more spaces for them instead of foreign criminals who can eat us for breakfast. That goes for Canada too. Can we for once put our conscience first before the dollar?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED12

J. TseFlushing, NY
Excellent point. It is absolutely horrifying what a lack of free press or speech can do to a society. If no one knows or can find out about the problem, then there is no problem.
In reply to MKOct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED12

BoilsDenver
Bless the NY Times for having the courage to print the article and the financial guts to finance the writing of it. And I'm a rather conservative fellow.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED11

Meg DavisNew York
Congratulations to David Barboza and the New York Times for impressive research, excellent writing, and the courage to stand behind controversial work despite the costs. "Afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted"...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED11

Paul R.Korea
For all the NY Times bashers out there, do you have any idea how much a report like this might cost them? Why would they make this stuff up? This is journalism the way it is supposed to be!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:40 p.m.RECOMMENDED11

John MacgregorPhnom Penh
Lovely reporting - thanks.

Both China & the United States have brought about societies where the 1% wield 99% of the power & wealth. They're roughly as democratic as each other, notwithstanding the present $2bn charade in the latter.

In China the political elite came first - & enriched itself via business concessions to family members. In the US, the corporations came first - thereafter creating a political elite conducive to their interests, via campaign contributions, lobbying, revolving door employment & straight-out bribes.

In both countries a very narrow-spectrum media ensures debate is confined within limits that won't harm elite interests. (No talk of war crimes trials for GW Bush for slaughtering up to a million Iraqi civilians; no Op-Eds on impeaching PM Wen or investigating his family's interests.)

Both countries have court and penal systems dedicated to incarcerating minor offenders in large numbers, whilst allowing kleptocrats on a massive scale (China) and the wreckers of the entire national economy (US) to remain untroubled by the law.

In both cases, crimes are only 'discovered' when a purge is required.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED11

j. von hettlingenSwitzerland
Verified
Wen Jiabao appeared twice on Fareed Zakaria's "GPS" on CNN. He gave the impression that reading Western philosophy was his pastime and that his tenets were inspired by ethics. In his public speech last March, he urged the posterity to judge his tenure. Yet one wisdom we have learned, is that in China the wives and siblings of the leadership were to be blamed for all scandals. Perhaps Wen would haven been better off and be more revered in history, had he divorced his shrewd wife and disowned his brazen son!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

Mu RuiWashington, D.C.
This is only one man's family network. The other Standing Committee members all have their own corruption/investment portfolios.

Zhou Yongkang, for instance, currently head of the security apparatus (secret police, etc.) was in charge of the national oil industry for about a decade. Unlike Wen, he's both corrupt, and runs a machine of torture and extrajudicial killing. And you can bet he doesn't invest in solar.

Where's the investigative piece on him?
In reply to steveOct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

EleanorChicago
As someone who cares about what's happening in the world and appreciates good old-fashioned investigative journalism, I loved this article. Thanks for being an online news source that actually has news, not cat videos and the top five "binders full of women" Halloween costumes.

As an American high school student studying Mandarin, I found it interesting that Wen Jiabao's given name, 家宝, literally translates to "family treasure." Coincidence, yes, but still amusing.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

Carl RSan Francisco, CA
Glad to see a story on the nefarious mix of money and state power. I understand it may be easier for people to recognize naked corruption somewhere far away.

Why is it so hard to connect the dots to Mitt Romney? Great wealth. Check. Low taxes already and a plan to cut those to 1%. Check. Secret finances, i.e., secret places to send payment for services rendered. Check.

In short, things are nearly as bad here.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

RamMontgomery, NJ
Winston (sic!) Wen going to Kellog from a middling school across the border from Detroit is not extraordinary. But I'm willing to bet it's not because of his scholarship. There is a pattern here of the top schools in the USA admitting future potentates from other countries at the cost of our own meritorious students. They will knowingly admit rich business heirs, princelings, bureaucrats' and politicians' vagrant no-goods, and even underworld bosses' upstarts however mediocre they all are. There must be some correlation between their education here and what they foster globally? [There's a story for you, NYT].

The benefits to the universities are obvious. But what burns me is the universities' hypocrisy and their self-righteous posturing about the rectitude of the selection process. And they call it, rather shamelessly, "class balance".
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

GuestFlorida
Great reporting, great work.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

ObserverPhiladelphia
One needs to be a "Princeling" - a direct relative of a founding Communist Party member to enter into high poltics in China today.
Clearly, who you are is what's going on there.

To blithely assume China will beat the US in the march of time and progress is to discount its endemic corruption and grinding poverty. At some point, as with the USSR, the people will tire of this nonsense and revolt.

The Communnist government can stop 3000 students with tanks; it cannot stop 1.3 billion.

Just like Poland; East Germany; Syria; Libya; Egypt; etc.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

markdcolorado
I bet most chinese will never hear about any of this. Their internet filters will probably block most of this information. But is the U.S. any different. We are "ruled" by a system where the pursuit of money is everything. Our politicians, our military, our information services, all governed by the calculus of the dollar.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

IBMNYC
first, I'd like to know more about the news source. For this kind of news about Chinese leaders, it's hard to obtain without having 'insiders'.
My take is Wen's family does take large amount of money, but the figure is far less than $2.7B.
I'd say at most half part of this report is real.

btw, can we have a news report about Bush family's wealth?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:10 p.m.RECOMMENDED10

CityBumpkinEarthNYT Pick
Americans really are a self-absorbed lot. Reading the comments on this piece, everyone seems to turn the discussion back to America in some way. Every comment seems to begin with some variation of, "Oh yeah? Well, here in America..."

Perhaps this piece is interesting because it shows something about the CCP leadership, which has been low-profile and opaque to the outside world as well as its own people for decades. The information here, and the attention it might generate, may signify changing times in China.

Perhaps this piece is worth paying attention to because China is worth paying attention to, and not merely another mirror for Americans to use to obsess over themselves.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:20 p.m.RECOMMENDED10

natusa
You state it is unclear how much the prime minister of China knows about the $2.7 billion in assets that his family has amassed. A reasonable guess would be 100%. It is an interesting story coming now when a leadership change is just around the corner there.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED10

m.latemNJ
To NYT,

Please can you do similar investigations in my country of birth - India. You will find many low hanging fruits. A large section of India's media is hand-in-glove with the oligarchs so Indians do not expect much from them. In last decade these oligarchs have become filthy rich selling public property - mines, spectrum and rights and they carry on shamelessly while half the country lives in dire poverty.

Any exposure would help more than a billion people of India get a bit of justice.

Thanks in advance,
ml
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:49 p.m.RECOMMENDED10

SCBVirginia USA
Kiljoy, by the best estimates of the dead at Mao's hands are more like 40-50 million. Yup, that's the guy who's face adorn's China's currency.
In reply to Nick MetrowskyOct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED10

Westside GuyL.A.
I would beg to differ. The Chinese have been a sophisticated society for over 2500 years and know all about corruption, dating back to the earliest emperors. They have only been Communists for what 70 years? They have always been Chinese. This is just business as usual.
In reply to TomOct. 25, 2012 at 11:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED10

jHarris4104Austin TX
This is not surprising at all. After all, his last two names mean "family treasure".
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED10

Roch McDowellNew York City
Every culture has it's winners and it's bag men. From our recent past....look at Cheney, Halliburton and Blackwater (now called Xi)...in plain site.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED9

Yankee49Rochester NY
Well, it seems that American capitalism and Chinese capitalism and their respective political systems resemble each other more and more each day.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED9

recreantmanhattan
This article actually put me in a good mood while at the same time it reads like a run-up to the world seen in Blade Runner...the extremely wealthy living discreetly in opulence, while most of us are lucky to have a month's rent in the bank. I simply can't see any system this corrupt being that great of a threat to the United States or the world in the long term because it is a house built on sand. I'm not turning cartwheels over our situation in the US (I mean, isn't the most telling point of this election the fact that both candidates are graduates of Harvard Law School? These are not the people who start revolutions.). I just feel like China is doomed to undergo another revolution and we'll once again benefit from our nifty geographical location and abundant natural resources, as well as a well-sorted-out military-industrial-academical-governmental complex that assures the kind of continuity big money craves in uncertain times.

I noted with interest that what the Chinese need most badly in the eyes of Wen's son Winston is a really exclusive boy's boarding school. Why don't they just buy one of ours and move it?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED9

ObserverCanada
It is no secret that Chinese Communist Party leaders and their families benefited financially from their privileged positions and get filthy rich.

Another angle to look at the capitalistic Chinese Communist leadership is to compare their wealth with the fat CEO pay package in USA, which include corporate jets, club membership, and often golden parachutes. The responsibilities of top Chinese leaders, and the associated risk, no doubt far surpass those of the top multinational corporation executives. Thus their wealth is not that unreasonable. The cartoon figures of the pigs in Orwell's Animal Farm do come to mind though.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED9

JackIllinois
Let's not romanticize Confucius. The"superior man" is the leader. I believe that Confucius would approve of China's current system.
In reply to Alan BurnhamOct. 26, 2012 at 1:17 a.m.RECOMMENDED9

FHSMiami
Great journalism...and a measure of the Times commitment to it.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:44 a.m.RECOMMENDED9

JeffBoston
I'll admit, I am a bit dissapointed. I figured he could have amassed more than 2.4 billion.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED9

Chris WegenerSherman Oaks
And this is different from our country how? Perhaps by scale but certainly every Senator or Congressman in our past three decades has left office much richer than they were when they came in.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:11 p.m.RECOMMENDED8

FXWFlorida
It is rather strange that a report like that came up at such a sensitive time - right before the Chinese Communist Party 18th congress. Obviously there is a fierce battle going on right now between the Pro-Maoism and the reformists in China.

Premier Wen Jiabao is a reformist who urges a political reform. He wants to do away with China's Maoist past and pushes for a more democratic future. Bo Xilai however, is the leader of the Pro-Maoism and well-known for his Chongqing model that promoted Mao's old value. Bo's wife murdered a British businessman and thought she could get away with it. Wen Jiabao was the one who publicly criticized Bo Xilai. Since Bo was ousted from the political party, his supporters started attacking Wen Jiabao and the new leader Xi Jinping ruthlessly. They spread rumors by using the parent company data for the subsidiary to defame the reformists' families and relatives.

A couple of days ago, some Chinese media overseas revealed that a lot of materials attacking Wen Jiabao have been sent to many foreign media and newspapers. Unfortunately, it was New York Times that was used and manipulated and acted like the Maoists' back-stabbing tool to the reformists. When everything is so "hidden" and the revelation is so massive, how it can be possible for a reporter to THOROUGHLY investigate and verify the story in just a few days?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED8

JPAlbuqueruqe, NM
In capitalist democracy, everyone gets a chance to be corrupt. In capitalist communism its the privileged few.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:28 p.m.RECOMMENDED8

oh wellearth
Shame on NYT for being used as a tool. Wen is one of those who pushes for reform, opening up, and the rule of law. NYT singles out him for an articled titled to tell how corruption is a serious problem among Chinese leaders. Why didn't NYT publish about Wen's conservative enemies in such exquisite details? That 2.7B family business is chicken feed. How come it was so easy for NYT to access all the key sources without being swiftly cut off by Chinese authority? One can only suspect this story, with its perfect timing before the CCP Congress and government change, has been set up by someone far smarter than NYT to weaken Wen's position to choose more open-minded successors.
Some years ago another reform-minded Chinese premier, Zhu Rongji, was in the US looking for support at critical times. He was flatly refused. The conservatives in China seized the opportunity to show how stupid Zhu was trying to making deals with the US. Zhu was politically down and out, have since prevailed in China for the decade after, until this very day.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:20 p.m.RECOMMENDED8

TastyBoston
They are all a bunch of self-serving, depraved criminals who try to use the tools of the state to present a docile and beneficent nature to the world and their own people. A popular uprising is urgently needed, as the society as a whole is being hollowed out from its core for the benefit of the chosen elite members of society.

It is only a matter of time before the society collapses on itself with foul air to breath, filthy water to drink, an unsafe transportation infrastructure, a contaminated food supply (unless you are a member of the elite), and an irremediably corrupt government at ALL levels.
Once manufacturing more fully shifts to lower cost nations such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia etc. the jig is up, as unemployment will skyrocket, living standards will fall, and the intelligentsia will abscond to the countries where they hold dual citizenship to join their families who have already established a presence there.

I wonder if the Chinese population has the courage to overthrow the government and establish a more representative form of government that can serve the society as a whole. I certainly hope so, for the future of the current and future Chinese society.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED8

Alex B.San Francisco, CA
Being an American and living in America this shocks me that people in office use their power for personal gain.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED8

Squifford BearSanta Monica, CA
Who says politics doesn't pay well! At least here our politicians steal in plain sight.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED8

JohnPalo Alto
This is the problem whenever there is big and powerful government. Corruption follows power, money follows power - which of these don't the readers understand.

The issues that happen in China is not due to capitalism. It is due to crony capitalism - a symptom that can occur when there is too much concentration of power within a small group of politicians. It is exactly what happens in Washington too.

The solution is simple - a limited and small government, with only essential funcitons like defence, security, etc.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely - it is a human nature. Count on it.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:44 p.m.RECOMMENDED8

Combat VetPhoenix
It is too bad Milovan Đilas, the critic of Communism who irked Tito mightly by writing the "New Class," did not live to see this. Sometimes live just isn't fair.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:05 p.m.RECOMMENDED8

AndrewKaplan
...or a thief
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:05 p.m.RECOMMENDED8

CelesteUS
As a Chinese, this is really cannot be the "breaking news" to me. It is very common that such a high bracket leader has financial problem and involved in the corruption to some degree. Actually, it will be breaking news if he does not have such issues.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 1:40 a.m.RECOMMENDED7

T. Ramakrishnantramakrishnan
There is an old joke from the fifties' India.
Question: What is the difference between a highway robber and a Congressman?
Answer: The robber robs and goes to jail. The Congressman goes to jail and then robs. The reference is to the Congress Party men who went to jail during the independence struggle and in power amassed wealth.

But all the corruption of 'socialist India' pales into insignificance before their grand children's and their lackeys' loot in globalized 'free enterprise' economy. Being a democracy, the Press may harass and shame the billionaire and he may lose the next elections. But he gets to keep the money. In the U.S. we had the robber barons a century ago. Now we have a system where things 'illegal' to lesser men are perfectly legal for the corporate-banker elite.

But China takes the cake. No opposition, free press or elections! She is not 'capitalist' in any sense. Nor is she communist. The Soviet apparatchiks had the 'use' of the State-owned (crummy) economy but they lost it (and frequently their lives) when they lost the job. They had no access to Western banks and corporations, nor elite universities and 'Green Cards' for their children.

But the Chinese Party elite must remember that dictatorships do not last for long. Democracies do. At least to keep their loot for themselves and their progeny, they should embrace democracy --- and soon.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED7

FreemanNYC
Didn't President Bush and his close allies use his power and influence for personal gain? In line with what the other commentators said; America is just as corrupt as China but in different ways.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED7

BillRhode Island
All animals are equal. Some are more equal then others.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED7

JimBobCalifornia
This is all very interesting, but I'd be happier if the New York Times spent its energy trying to get inside Mitt Romney's tax returns and showing the true "broken economics" model that his businesses took advantage of. As Mr. Obama says, let's do some nation-building here at home.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED7

JackWashington, DC
China is on the verge of a huge political change. The path to democracy is inevitable, especially when the public see high officials amass vast fortunes with their raw power.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED7

happyktAustin
What I find more interesting is that no one from China is commenting on this article because it is completely blocked off by the Chinese Govt.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED7

Mingalee
Great report, but not news for lots of Chinese people.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED7

BlackwaterSeattle
I love how more potentially scandalous news items keep surfacing so soon before the top-level reorganization next month of the Communist Party.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED7

a_aldana New York, NY
Term limits -- China needs them almost as much as the US.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED7

TDDallas
The family of Prime Minister of Nguyen Tan Dung (Vietnam) is probably more wealthy - they were rumored to amass between 2.5 to 25 billions of USD.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED7

Jane CarrollSpringboro, OH
China is now Capitalist China--what else should we expect? Like our politicians in both the House and the Senate as well as the Executive ...and let's not forget the SCOTUS, they become millionaires and billionaires as they rise to power and accept gifts.

Political bribery is now legalized and it is no secret that we have the best Congress money can buy, and let's not forget that Scalia and Alito and Thomas are all fast friends of the Koch Bros. et.al, and have surely taken gifts in exchange for their fealty.

So China's leader having this much money...? Ha! What else is new?.
China is simply acting like the U.S.....
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

Don P.Perth Amboy, NJ
Mr. Wen is nothing more than a modern day Chinese Emperor, a few of his royal court family live in riches and while more than a billion of his subjects in poverty!

Sadly, Mr. Wen's level of corruption and deceit of the Chinese people is no surprise.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

michaelHong Kong
Why does everyone have to comment along the lines of "yeah, but it's just as bad in the USA." This has nothing to do with the USA. Get over yourself. China is a one-party state with no public discourse. Appreciate what you have.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

pompomHK
Most of the things covered here can be read in many books written in Hong Kong about these princelings' business dealings but publishing via NY Times shows that there's huge political struggle going on within Central authority.

I don't think this is excellent journalism. I wonder who asked the journalist to report this. That should be the news.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

JesseBoston
Finally we have one post with actual insights on China. I am shocked by what you know about my country and my people actually. You are absolutely right that for most of us, Communism is just a plain lie. We don't really care about communism, capitalism or anything else. Afterall it is just a name. Chinese people are extremely pragmatic and hard working, that is also why we don't have a common religion since it really doesn't matter.

What upsets me too is that most of the Chinese people hate corruption and yet they want to be part of it. The corruption is bad, but it is not a cancer for the country yet. We are working on it just as the Americans did in the past.

I would be actually surprised if Wen's family turns out to be an ordinary one. It is just how things work here. It is not good, but it is the best we have now.

BTW, the reasons why westerners don't have true Chinese friend are the same as why Chinese like me doesn't have true WHITE friends here in US. It is just the culture, the language, personal interests are entirely different between us. So why bother to be true friends?
In reply to cdav531Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

James J. ConnollyWaterford, ConnecticutNYT Pick
Modern China looks a lot like a corrupt banana republic. The Chinese people see that a mere 60 years after their Revolution, the rich and well connected "Communists" have used the apparatuses of party and state to enrich and entrench themselves as outrageously as Chiang Kai-shek and the warlords who preceded them. Wen Jiabao a Populist? More of a classic robber baron! These Chinese plutocrats herd their people into slave-like conditions in giant sweatshops and sell their labor to foreign companies like Apple.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:12 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

RobertNew York City
Great story about how Wen Jiabao and his family stole the country's assets for themselves in a very short amount of time. When the chinese citizens realize this, they will probably kill the whole family, as happened in the Russian revolution a century ago. Super reporting by the New York Times.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

Larry FinkLA
NYT published first, great, No.1.
This is an very important article which will change the coure of china soon. we will see.

Great job. I love NYT
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

Jon D.NM
Actually they're not.

Lenin once said that when the communists hung all the capitalists, the communists would do it with the rope the capitalists sold the communists.

However we capitalists have actually designed the rope and then sent the rope factory to China so they won't have to buy it from us.
In reply to PadfootOct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

Ralph P.New York
A-ma-zing! Wow. I can only imagine the work that went into writing this expose. Bravo to the NYT. Pulitzers all around.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

RBWest Palm Beach, FL
Nepotism at its highest level and Mr. Wen said he is not aware of it. He is nicknamed "the peoples Premier " and "grandpa Wen" while he and his family rob the poor Chinese peasants blind. Karl Marx must be turning over in his grave as communism never materialized into the stateless, classless society he envisioned. Just another system like capitalism which thrives on corruption and graft.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

Further 2 FlyShanghai, PRC
It's just as bad in the Western democracies. This is not a report on communism or corruption, it's a report on human nature;.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:55 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

Capt. PennySilicon Valley
Heminway,
Perhaps it could be read in print. But unless one has a VPN (virtual private network) in China one would not read the NY Times online. In my experience in China VPNs are generally restricted to expat companies and their employees, and occasionally the tech savvy who have friends outside China at universities and the like.
In reply to HeminwayOct. 26, 2012 at 1:17 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

Shawn HChicago
"The one that steals a belt buckle is a thieve. The one that steals a country is a king." -- Chuong'tze (Chinese philospher from over 2000 years ago)

Yes, we are all the same.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

And history repeats itself.
In reply to JackOct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

christineCaifornia
These comments are very interesting. Most seem to think - what else is new?

But please consider Gandhi and what he was able to achieve and then compare him to Wen.

I would be most interested in your opinions on that comparison.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

darter9000Seattle, WA
China is working extra quickly to stunt their own growth... and despite what the 'super capitalists' of today may argue, this recession is still on their heads, they became wealthier as people lost jobs... job creators indeed.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

Tim TengFremont
China's GDP and Laobaixing's lives are 3x better now than they were 10 years ago.

Vs. our GDP and lives were relative stagnant during the same time.

I'll take Premier Wen anytime.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

Eugene GorrinUnion, NJ
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" - Animal Farm
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:08 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

KimmyCA
This isn't really news to people who follow Chinese politics. Even taxi drivers in Beijing have been complain about the hypocrisy of Wen publicly fighting against corruption while privately allowing his family to amass great fortunes by exploiting Wen's political status. As much as this article tries to leave Wen out of the scandal, it's silly to believe that he's not involved. And as for China blocking web access to the NYT, well, it happens all the time, no surprise there either.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

readerLos Angeles, CA
It is more disturbing when you think that this is 2.7 billion dollars, not yuan ( the chinese currency). The amount Wen's family has in chinese yuan is 6 times this number.This happened in a country where the average income is 32,900 yuan to 56,061 yuan ( depending on the province) in the year 2011, or translated to US dollars 5,483 to 9343.5 annual income. I think the numbers speak for themselves as to whether he's a good leader or not and the degree of corruption in China.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:01 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

HolybagpipesRochester, NY
I must be uneducated. I thought communism was sharing the wealth equally among all the people.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:50 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

Blue SkyCA
Truth is clarified when it's not argued!
Wen Jia Bao is one of the most decent officials in China! It's so obvious that the Bo Xilai's supporters were trying to defeat Wen by paying New York Time to publish article to make Wen looked bad.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:32 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

Gary McCrayFort Bragg CA
The Chinese government is now blocking the New York Times on line in China as a result of these articles.

The Chinese government is, in fact even more corrupt than our own and they do not have the problem of freedom of speech or individual liberty to slow them down that we do.

Of course if we elect Romney, that could change.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:30 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

VladekNJ
Steal a line from a pop star and they sue you for plagiarism, steal a line from an ancient Chinese philosopher and they make you an inductee to the rock and roll hall of fame.
In reply to JackOct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

ckwanchina
As a PRC, i feel really disappointed when i first read this news and i noticed that this website is blocked in china after this article published.
Many Chinese know that chinese government has plenty "black files".But we dont care that too much. because we knew the corruption is a common issue inside the chinese government. sometimes, we get really angry about these things, but we cant do anything to change. they are the guys who taking the power. therefore, the only thing we can do is to wish, to pray, to hope it can improve in the future. at the same time, the chinese need to improve themselves as well. however,we cant say the government is 100% bad. although, the government has a lot of problem but it doesnt mean we can ignore that this nation is progressing, she is heading to a better way. for example, before the party took the office, the average lifespan of chinese is something around 40. and after several decades this number has risen to around 80. it shows the government is really doing something, Although it hurts them sometimes. look at the urbanization, the increasing in personal income and so on. it may not be good enough but at less it's a progression.
make the long story short, all i want to say is that when the whole world is looking at china, please be tolerant, give her the chances to make mistake and give her the chances to correct it. thank u for the reading.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

BradNYC
The Chinese really are doing everything bigger and better than we are these days.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

PkMalaysia
A very interesting article which raises the need for a similar investigative report. on the Indian political leadership and the abuses which are frequently reported upon by the Indian media. The recent adverse reports on mr. Singh's premiership brought some reaction from the Indian government. Indians pay more attention to reports from western sources. Indian democracy needs timely help with independent and verifiable reports on corruption and abuses by the political leadership and consequently the people of india can choose the best and honest among on offer.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

otis rushmiddleearth
It is pointless to pin down questionable dealings in other countries, least to say in China and other like countries (e.g. Russia)... Every man and his dog knows that those countries are riddled with nepotism, kickbacks and other shady dealings... Can it be changed? Fat chance... Is this going to stop anyone from dealing with such countries? I bet the answer is clear as at the end of the day profit and wealth drive it all... Overall interesting article, but leaves the well familiar feeling as though you saw something forbidden/unaccessible...
Overall feeling about the uncovered truth?... Pathetic state of affairs in the kingdom of China...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

ALCanada
Sad to see this news. I have thought Wen is a good leader.
Had been living in China for over 20 years, have to admit that those facts this news described is very common.
Greedy is really nature of human everywhere.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:34 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

3rd time trying to post a comment that i consider on-topic and not abusive, but just a different perspective,Singapore
Oh Come on. As if most other political leaders are not rich.
you see, people do self censorship while they select news to read, you select this kind of news reports because it accommodate your perspective of China. tell me when i am wrong.
I respect Wen, and i trace his news and even studied him in different resources. From his respond to Sichuan earthquakes to many international events, from his political days with Zhao Ziyang to his path to Prime Minister, from his earlier works to how his belief is hindered by interests conflict within the CCP. From how he respond to unfriendly foreigner to his yearly 'online interview by people' sessions, as a Chinese citizen, I respect him as my leader. I don't deny his family been rich, and its due to nepotism. but who is not guilty from nepotism?
for those of you really want to know china? go to China or at least go read some Chinese perspectives that are different from urs.if you just want to hate china? then continue this self censorship, its your right and freedom to do so.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

JuliaPengNJ,the U.S.
Stupid New York Times.
Most of men will become corrupt when the opportunity of corruption comes without any cost and penalty either in law or in morality.
Responsibility comes with free will. If Wen had created this unjust system even jointly, he would be guilty of the charge. Only benefiting from an unjust system involves less free choice and thus less responsibility.

More importantly, as far as I experience, under Minister Wen's ruling the Chinese people enjoyed more freedom of speech, especially in those social networking sites such as weibo (like twitter) than ever before and probably than the near future, which has brought profound changes to China's society.
My account in weibo had been shut down for last two months, probably in accordance with the time of Wen's losing power in the wake of the leadership transition.

He is one of the most enlightened Chinese leaders, regarding to their feeling of the need to reform China's social and political structures, with an aim to bring a better and more just society.
Of course how far those enlightened Chinese leaders can go in political reform is questionable. But sometimes a man who cares about his family can at the same time feel a genuine sympathy towards the common people who suffer. He may not care as much as his relatives care about those material goods. He may care more about his political legacy and reputation. But his choice is limited.

His political enemies probably helped the author to prepare this article.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:59 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

alanfdnSan Francisco
Surprise, I never would have thought such a thing could happen in a "peoples republic"
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED5

HeminwayWindsor, Vermont
It would be refreshing if the Chinese leadership just said, yes, this is our system, look at our growth rate, it's working, period. Everyone else who does, or tries to do, business in China accepts that you can't get anything done without "guanxi" - connections, the higher the better. It's simply a given. There's zero "revelation" to anything in the article, it's simply the details that are unusual and impressively researched. However, it will be interesting to see what happens when ordinary Chinese see the scope of it all laid out in print by the NYT.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED5

MichaelLos Angeles
This line, in various forms, antedates Bob Dylan by centuries.
In reply to JackOct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

HBMMexico City
No, The Chinese are much better at it. Clinton is only worth $120 million - although not bad for someone who never really had a job except politics.
In reply to PadfootOct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

BenMonterey, CA
The acquisitive voracity of the powerful knows no ideological limits. He's all too human - and, despite his power and property, mortal.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

Mr. SpockVulcan
Over time it's probably gotten easy for many of us to forget the ideological underpinnings of Communism, but the truth is it has always been a pretext for tyranny. Here we see the greed as well. Human nature will never change and there is no system of governance that can provide utopia. In fact, the ones that promise utopia are the ones that need be most feared.

The oligarchy of the leadership in China is a natural tendency in any society and one a Romney administration would facilitate. There's a natural tendency to consolidate ones holdings and to perpetuate the conditions to enrich ones family. It's just natural. That's why you need government to intervene and provide equal opportunity and access to those with under-privileged backgrounds. The founding fathers supported a 100% estate tax to prevent wealth and privilege from being perpetuated.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED5

Babbs6Chicago, IL
Smells like a hypocrite!
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:05 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

StephenShanghai
The CCP have six things as their bottom line issues, namely, Tiananmen, Tibet, Falun Gong, censorship, dissidents, and one-party rule. These are the most serious issues. There are of course problems with the Chinese Christians, the re-education through labor system, the disproportionate amount of capital punishments handed out, torture, hukou, border disputes, the one-child policy, pollution, labor issues, or corruption. Now supposed we have a scale to measure political freedom in China, rated from 0 to 100, if China solves all the six major issues listed above, there should be no problem rating China above 60. If more problems are solved, the rating for China will keep move up until perfection, which, I am afraid is not possible within my lifetime.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 5:44 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

illiaadBig Lake, Ak
We are pretty much the same... our political leadership invests heavily in market related opportunities. I myself did my time as a budget officer and saw the proliferation of P.C.'s throughout the government. Plus we had inter-agency connectivity... what would become the net. Who could not see that coming and with even small but steady investing, I myself have done quite well with my NASDAQ portfolio, heck Apple alone.

Anyway, with a presidential candidate worth possibly half a Billion and vested overseas, the more important function is to know where we are headed with this new, universal mega-wealth.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 1:40 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

MarioItaly
It looks like ousted Chongqing leader Bo Xilai has eventually got to fight back.
Revelations about Wen Jiabao family's hidden fortune have been timed to coincide with expulsion of Bo Xilai from top legislature that stripped him of his MP immunity, which means he's now facing a biased trial and harsh imprisonment, if not worse.

With the revelations Bo Xilai and his supporters landed a devastating blow straight at the top of China political establishment. Adding to the drama the long awaited change in China's secretive and closed leadership is looming only few days away.

Wondering whether this is just the first and last retaliatory blow from someone who has given up all hopes and deems to be doomed.
I would bet that Mr. Bo Xilai keeps ready some more bunker-busting ammos in store and signaled loud an clear that he's now ready to use all of them in his last-stance fight.

If my bet is right things in China in the very near future will get quite interesting.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:33 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

RonNYCNew York
Probably it's time to rewrite Marx: From each according to their ability, to each according to their connections.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:59 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

jasonRio de Janeiro
as a person who admire China's achievement in the last 30 yrs immensely, i think this investigative piece is significant contribution and motivation to facilitate improvement in China. China is improving everyday, some internally motivated, some external. this piece by Barboza serves to shine a light on China's deep rooted corruption. i think they will improve their system. congratulations to Barboza and NYT for this investigative piece.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

Donald2US
This report tells us these few things:

1. This is nothing new. Whoever needs to read from New York Time to knows this, must be, shall I say, 'American"

2. Apparently, there is a big power struggle in China at the very top level.

3. This reporter is either so stupid and doesn't know he is part of the weapon by a faction; or don't care. My guess is he doesn't care and just want to get a report out.

4. The big problem is how Chinese government handle this. Kick some reporters out just make them a hero. I suggest just let it go, don't even block the New York Times, and let the Chinese micro-bloggers fight the western media.

5. New York Times Chinese edition should accept Chinese bloggers smashing their blog. Don't block anyone.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

MomusOut west
How many are 2.7 BILLION rich?
In reply to 3rd time trying to post a comment that i consider on-topic and not abusive, but just a different perspective,Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:18 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

dabModesto, CA
Many people are commenting to the effect "Don't US politicians also try to turn their political connections into wealth?"

There are numerous differences between the US and Chinese systems, however:

1. The magnitude of wealth gained by US politicians is much smaller than what is gained by Chinese politicians. Is Bill Clinton a billionaire, or even a hundred millionaire? (For the record, Bill Clinton's net worth is $80 million, with about $40 million of that from post-presidential speaking fees.)
2. Most US politicians earn a large part of their money before entering politics (e.g., Ross Perot, Steve Forbes, Michael Bloomberg, John Edwards, etc.).
2. The way the money is earned after holding office is much more direct for US politicians: speaking fees, consulting fees, lobbying fees, etc.
3. US politics is infinitely more open than Chinese politics.

The readership of the NYT is politically naive to compare the corruption of China with that of the US. China is far more corrupt.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

LuisaWashington
This is one of the best journalistic pieces I have ever read. Congratulations, NYT
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

Wellington DempseyBrazil
In Brazil happen the same fact, like in China the former leadership Lula da Silva , the brazilian poverty father ,but, meanwhile he and his relatives are more and more rich every year. Please, NYT, writes about this Brazil's issue. Indeed I think that in Russia, India and South Africa happen too.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

SWSan Francisco
Go to any communist country and you'll see an elite upper class that makes the steel barons of 19C America look like paupers. Equality indeed.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

Tom TCentral Jersey
The top 70 Chinese legislature own assets over 80 billion US dollars as reported by Businessweek earlier this year. The corrupt system starts from the top and all the way down. It is worse than the old KMT regime before the revolution. But there won't be another revolution any time soon because, in general, the country is doing very much better compared to the pre-revolution time. Corruption is part of Asian culture, and not even Singapore is corruption free.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

Tony KChicago, IL
This sounds like the Madigans and Daleys in my native Illinois. Nothing new to us Chicagoans.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:20 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

RDA in ArmonkNY
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." - Lord Acton

A country that has corruption built into its system can never reach a fraction of its full potential. How great could Mexico be if only ...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

anamaya8India
Comparing China to Singapore is not fair. In a limited society it may be possible to control. But look at USA. Why so much of corruption at high level - I mean bankers, brokers, CEOs as mentioned by Eric W here in these columns. US has all possible antic corruption systems. Yet all these have not helped. It is always 1% control 99%. It is universal law of nature and it works irrespective of ideologies - capitalism to communism. What then is the solution? Only if basic morals, which can control greed and ensure empathy to have nots, become the fabric of the society. This is possible only if the business schools start talking about methods of tackling corruption, methods for distribution of income across the society.
In reply to SWWOct. 26, 2012 at 2:48 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

ImpishparrotAugusta, GA
Gee, image how wealthy the actual workers could be, if it were not for the thieving bosses and the global banking/investment financial terrorists? Interesting that capitalism, communism, socialism all end up ultimately funding the life styles of so many despots. Enough. Enough already.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

NeverCanada
Corruption is good. Corruption brings world peace: How can a Diamond Queen sell her diamonds if China is at war? (If Wen's wife is an arm dealer, I would be very worried) Corruption also brings wealth to the poor: Wen's wife need a wealthy population to buy her diamonds so she would nag her husband to death to keep the economic up.

Would you rather Wen be a virtuous theocratic leader like those in the Middle East? Or would you rather him be as frugal as Chairman Mao who killed 30 million people? A corrupted leader is always better than a crazy one.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:28 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

rdwhtnbluDE
Very interesting article. Congratulations to the author, Mr. Barboza.

I have always assumed corruption is a weakness. Does corruption in China make it less of an economic , military, and diplomatic threat?

"There but for the grace of God go we.." The US is incredibly blessed to have relatively little official corruption. But that will change if we fail to be vigilant, if money completely takes control of political races (too late?), and if the free press is ever limited. I fear media consolidation for this reason. Attorneys general who won't play politics when pursuing corruption, and an independent judiciary, are also essential. Let us not take our good government for granted.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

i dont see why my reply is irrelevant and should be censored.singapore
Oh Come on.
As if most other political leaders are not rich...

you see, people do self censorship while they select news to read, you select this kind of news reports because it accommodate your perspective of China. tell me when i am wrong.

I never met Wen personally, but i trace his news and even studied him in different resources. From his respond to Sichuan earthquakes to many international events, from his political days with Zhao Ziyang to his path to Prime Minister, from his earlier works to how his belief is hindered by interests conflict within the CCP.
From how he respond to unfriendly foreigner to his yearly 'online interview by people' sessions, I respect him. I don't deny his family been rich, and its due to nepotism. but who is not guilty from nepotism?

you see, this article quote him saying "ultimately, history will have the final say." if u r a person who knows nothing about Chinese culture, you will never be able to feel the emotional intensity of this quote.

so,
if you really want to know china? go to China or at least go read some Chinese perspectives.
if you just want to hate china? then continue this self censorship, its your right and freedom to do so.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:15 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

PropertiusShanghai
Sorry to inform you that after the publishing of this article, we cannot enter your website without a VPN. Cersorship and corruption are the biggest problems for us.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

VictorCanada
This is a good article by NYT. It used information that can be obtained publically and put the pieces into a picture that show shocking truth - shocking, but true by my judgement. It is important for the Chinese to know, the man, who is good at showing a nice face like an actor, has an ugly other side of the face. We should wait and see how the Chinese government deals with this. This is a critical test!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

Fred WhiteBaltimore
We're shocked, shocked that the Chinese party elite has gotten filthy rich. But as long as they keep raising the standard of living of the masses, no one's going to care enough to seriously oppose them.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

AmyBrooklyn
There is no American politican who has that much money. Freedom of the Press acetually does help to keep the system somehwat clean. We can hope that journalists try even harded to root out corruption.
In reply to phoenix risingOct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

expat inShanghai
Having lived in China for over 4 years one of the most important things to remember once you've been here awhile is to be careful as to what you believe when in China. Be careful what you believe when it comes to China -- be very careful.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:19 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

AlanHawaii
An exceptional job of old-school journalism by David Barboza and, I would guess, another Pulitzer for the Times. I can't imagine the reams of paperwork Mr. Barboza must have had to go through, and look forward to seeing a story about the story later on. Again, top-notch stuff.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:12 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

TCLouisiana
Just National defense? Pick your program and you can find a collusion of government and private interests sucking out a minimum of 2 dollars to deliver 1 dollar of value. That extra dollars going into a bloated bureaucracy, over staffed and over paid private companies. A setup driven by the revolving door. A glaring example is US public infrastructure Programs which cost double other first world countries.
http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2012/09/public-transport-costs?s...
In reply to TomOct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

Alan DLos Angeles
How inefficient of the Chinese.

In this country we just do steps 4 and 5.
In reply to WesOct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

phoenix risingnh
Simply means that the Chinese are good at copying American capitalism and running (or do I mean hiding?) things the same way our plutocrats do. Who can translate Cheaters, Liars, and Thieves, "Oh, My" into Chinese? Show that to the workers who live 9 to a room and jump from the 15th floor in total despair at their working conditions.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

forbetterworldBoston, MA
NYT is one of the few news outlets that are not blocked in China. Most of my friends in China can read NYT.
In reply to happyktOct. 26, 2012 at 2:43 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

Janet CampMilwaukee, Wisconsin
Verified
I don't see where the SIZE of government comes into it--defense is where a lot of the corruption of our own government is found.

Other than that, I agree with the gist of your comment.
In reply to JohnOct. 26, 2012 at 1:36 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

RedRatSammamish, WA
You are right on target! Like to see that happen. Heck, I think the various investigations of Cheney only scratched the surface. And that is only one guy.
In reply to Clement R KnorrOct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

Hello WorldPasadena, CA
Ironic that a lot of Chinese money - public and private - is right here in the United States and the West. What does that tell us? The "pricelings" party will not go on for ever...at least not in China.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:46 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

vpManhattan
I wonder how many of the commenters on this article are coming from Mr. Wen's circle. I love how they try to spin this remarkable piece of investigation as something usual in any country including US. Well, keep doing that until the day that Chinese people will say enough is enough.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

christineCaifornia
It is not about the money accumulation, it is about power.

Big money equals great power.
In reply to Pawnbroker1Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

ErnieBayside, NY
In order to get 2 billion dollars.
In reply to Pawnbroker1Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

CyrusNYC
The Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi, who predated Dylan by some 2,300 years, said "Steal a hook and they execute you, steal the country and they make you Marquis." ("Qie gou zhe zhu, qie guo zhe hou.")

His observation applies just as readily to China today as it did to the Warring States period in which he lived. Note both the high rate of capital punishment and the high number of billionaire politicians.
In reply to JackOct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

Alan BurnhamNewport, ME
Humans are the same everywhere. Power and money corrupt. Too bad the wisdom of the great Confucius is not in the forefront in our world and in our hearts. "The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell." "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." I think Confucius will be remembered for all time, hypocritical politicians not at all.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

DouglaseNew York, NY
I am shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, that politicians and government officials the world over cheat, steal, graft and play favorites. Who'd a thunk?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:43 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

Brian SmithAverill Park, NY
Do we want to be an aristocracy too? Can we aspire to be a meritocracy?
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

Albert De CastroPorto, Portugal
If that was true, then he would not have allowed/ordered blocking access to New York Times website in China. Democracy shall be frequent, not only when convenient.
In reply to klandersOct. 27, 2012 at 5:46 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

DanielSan Diego
At least he presided over a stable government and growing economy, unlike US business and political leaders who are similarly rewarded for abject failure. Considering his role and time as leader of the world's largest nation, is this so surprising?
Oct. 27, 2012 at 3:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

vjwwlcFL, US
Ironically, quite a few Chinese know (or they think they know) about the corruption of the elite leaders or so called "Red families". But it really only remains something people gossip about over the dinning table or when they feel frustrated in life. What can you do about it? How does that impact your life as an individual in China, especially for these working classes? Probably NOTHING!
All you can hope is "well, hopefully after these people got their desires satisfied, they can still do something good to the general public..." Are Chinese people most tolerant in this world? Probably yes, thanks to a couple-of-thousand-year old history of feudal system (which technically didn't change much after 1949).
It's a system failure. There's no simple fix. Dictatorship isn't the right to describe today's governance in China. It's a twisted, adapted and deformed system which has never been seen in any other country. Economically wise, we have been really successful over the last 30 years. But who's reaping such success??? How sustainable it is??? Again back to the old question: WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Hopefully we can answer these questions without going through a major revolution...
Oct. 27, 2012 at 12:39 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

KastusMir
Look at South Korea. Its democracy. They had huge amount of corruption scandals. Many presidents were involved.
But can this trait stop Korea's rising?
It's interesting but corruption in Confucius countries is not the same as in the West.
For example it's difficult to imagine that coverment can docide to invade some country because some companies need oil contracts.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:41 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

StephenShanghai
Update: China is no longer blocking the New York Times website.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:41 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

sternheadUS
Of course, as always pointing the finger west. Chinese like you are always using pretzel logic to save group face. So Wen is what kind of criminal? Exalted?
In reply to Jennie PC ChiangOct. 26, 2012 at 9:40 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

JoshNYC
Given his style, Premier Wen might speak about it in public. If not, silence speaks volume. Maybe it is not as bad as it was reported; maybe this was done without his permission or even knowledge. If the report was partly true, it would be a disappointment. Hypocrisy is not a virtue anywhere in the world.

I found it hard to understand why individuals could be that kind of greedy. But then I realized that individuals have family. Family members are often involved. When I talked about death penalty in China, I mentioned in my class that economic crimes can lead to death penalty in China, unlike in America, where only killing, rape and treason are deadly crime. If economic crimes are ruled out, corruption will probably become even more prevalent in China. Family is such an important unit in China. One would be happy to sacrifice himself, especially at advanced age, so as to enrich the entire family.

Maddoff was sentenced to life imprisonment, basically. His family pleaded innocence, which was hard to believe. His son later committed suicide. President Roh of South Korea was under investigation for corruption. He claimed that he knew his family involvement only after his retirement. But he committed suicide by jumping off a cliff.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:32 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Shawn HChicago
The $2.7B (likely only a tip of the iceberg) did not surprise me, knowing how absolutely corrupt the absolute power is in China.

What surprised me was the capability, organization and preparedness of "the opposition party" -- which can be perhaps defined as the faction(s) either behind or sympathetic to the now disgraced Bo Xilai -- that effectively exists in China today.

A few days ago I first read on some US-based Chinese language news websites that a number of US media outlets, both mainstream ones (including NYT) and the Chinese language ones, recently received incredibly detailed materials exposing the Wen family, such as copies of the monthly reports submitted by the company(s) that Wen's son had worked in.

It was thus believed that the operation must have had the cooperation and support from people still in charge. And therefore the eventual purpose, like the last round of the same (so-called "smear" campaign by the Chinese government) targeting Vice President Xi Jinping as reported by Bloomberg in June, is to derail the forthcoming 18th Congress of the CPC where power will be transferred to the next leadership.

Hopefully not all will be lost in this clash of titans (of the Greek proportions, to paraphrase another NYT article of the same day), and democracy might accidentally stumble on a rare chance in China. But in the long run, without true rule of law and a responsible and alert citizenry, even democracy may not save a sinking Titanic.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

PhytoistN.j.
Brav NYT,only you can do it. Stay & be brave as Dan Rather once said,we read you & need you when 1% elite(rotton to the core)hates moderates & liberals. Can you dig little more if Chinese Premier & all/any Romney have partenership interests on mainland China & hence they are hiding their past returns!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

JoeInLALos Angeles
Is anyone shocked - especially in America?
Cronyism rules every major economy! Ask anyone on Wall Street...
The fact that Chinese leadership has succumbed to the same avarice as the USA, Russia, et al. is no surprise to anyone that has read the news for the last 20 years.
Welcome to the big leagues, China!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

KurtNY
Isn't it amazing how governmental executives across the world all somehow manage to amass such amazing wealth during their tenure? But before we continue to cluck our tongues over Wen Jiabao, we might also want to ask how so many American congresspeople of both parties somehow are millionaires after a lifetime in governmental service drawing official salaries not too much greater than many of their constituents.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

ConstantineCarmichael, CA
Is this illegal? Corruption? They might not be. Who know! Wen might not be involved in any of the business transactions involved his family members. But like thousands or hundreds of thousands Chinese Communist officials, who control political power, have been enjoying the wealth gained my their family members, relatives, and friends. This is typically Chinese GUANXI in function. One would get preferrable treatment of all sorts in one has political ties to an official in Beijing or tie to a police officer in a village.
"My father is Li Gang", a young man told a police who tried to arrest him for a traffic accident. Li Gang is head of the police department in that town. :My father is Li Gang" is now a wellknown expression among the Chinese in China.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Prema VenkataramanMurrysville, PA
This is the crony capitalism's template all over Asia, including India, where an invisible man holds enormous control in businesses. I South Asia they even have a name for it: "Benami" ownership.

Everybody there knows that this goes on routinely among politicians. They will say in Hindi (and in other language versions), "Ssaala, woh sab khata hai." It is difficult to translate "Ssaala." The rest means, "They (the politicians) all [illegally] gorge [the nation's wealth]."

Kollengode S Venkataraman
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

IaviatorIowa
I don't find this to be much different from our corrupted political system. Our plutocrats are just as diligent in buying favors from our politicians-- our policies in education, foreign affairs, and health care are hugely geared for exploitation by them.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Lee G.Mercer Island, WA
There goes the leader of one BRIC country. Did anyone notice in Forbes how a former Brazilian Union Leader/Factory worker is now worth $2 billion, USD? In two short years since relinquishing Brazilian presidency? Giving speeches?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

AmateurHistorianNYC
I think it is right for China to block access to NYTimes' web portal. In a heated election season in the US and power transfer season in China it is quite irresponsible for NYTimes to publish a poorly researched article.

I read through this article and cannot identify one single piece of solid evidence of corruption even though the headline suggested such. Most of the "investigation" was done by Times and offers no insight on methodology nor source. Contrast this with U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's investigation on Armstrong with all the records, evidences and testimonies it is clear this is nothing more than a smear reporting.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

MarkoNew York
Tosten: it's fascinating. This is the big theory in the Acemoglu and Robinson book, "Why Nations Fail," playing out. The question you have as to will they ever feel comfortable enough, is answered in a complicated way in there. Per Acemoglu and Robinson, it requires that events move so that these elite CANNOT feel comfortable nor safely hold onto power by being so exclusive and having the political institutions remain so "extractive." The institutions might then become more "inclusive" because those folks will be forced, one way or another, to relinquish power. But then what takes its place. In any case, It does feel like China just cannot sustain this growth without seismic change. I am thinking of it because I only just read that part of the book last night (somewhere around page 400) and then this story this morning. Wow.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

fefe19IN
What I like about this story are all the strong women figures--real estate moguls, jewelry industry magnates.. and that's just the expose on one family.

I guess communism's commitment to gender equality becomes evident even in its crony-breakdown.

The only example I can think of from our side is Martha Stewart's puny (by comparison) insider trading. And as far as I know, she didn't wield any political influence.

Nevermind the corruption-- when are we going to have women owning and running multi- million and billion dollar industries?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:19 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Peter O'MalleyOakland, New Jeresy
What a surprise! All to the benefit of the proletariat, of course (or do they even bothe with such quaint ideas in China these days?). One is instantly reminded of "Animal Farm', and how "some are more equal than others."
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

AndrewChina
Are there virtually any difference of one country's leaders that are using their political power to accumulate wealth from another country's leaders that are using their financial power to gain political benefits and in turn to accumulate their wealth as well?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

RJPhiladelphia
Wow the news cycle is way too fast. It has been less than 24 hours and this article is no longer the top story? It's a shame since this is the best reporting the Times has done in years.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

A physicianNew Haven
same everywhere, greed and corruption knows no national boundaries. I wonder how much of this wealth is funded by western dollars, either sales to their wealth American peers, of via investments that are fueled by US corporate investments to create products at cheaper prices in workplaces where workers do not have the protections that US corporations would eliminate here, if they could.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

S DasUK
Excellent article and well worth reading.Poor Bo.

It would do a world of good if the NYT did a similar article on the Indian political elite.No Indian newspaper has the courage,professionalism or credibility to do an indepth,well researched expose the way NYT does.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

HowieNJ
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

ChinaXpatChina
This article deserves a Pulitzer! I have no idea how David Barboza got access to this information, but this sheds a lot of light on the Hu-Wen administration.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

CindyBaltimore, Md.
We need these articles that explore global politics to include the US in the discussion. It is odd to hear take of developing Rule of Law overseas and not note that the US no longer practices Rule of Law. The same with speaking of torture and imprisonment. The US is top in the world for both. Civil liberties are disappearing and elections are simply incumbents of one party running against incumbents from another. There are no democratic elections in the US.

So as we read about a country needing all these things to become democratized we are wondering why the loss of all these things in America is not headline news!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

TournachonadarChicago
Their real crime or sin, if you will, is to be Chinese and enjoy fabulous wealth. If these were Western people of the United States or Europe, we'd be applauding them for their acumen.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

JDNY
China could openly admit to its citizens what the rest of the world already knows and that is China has no territorial claims at all to the Senkaku Islands, Spratly Islands, etc. All you have to do is look at China's history and see where they have stolen complete countries like Tibet as an example. It is completely and utterly laughable that China whom tries to look like the good school child is trying to bully so many other countries to steal territory from them. In the end the last laugh will be on China for the naughty school child will be spanked!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Bepi MottesRatingen
I have many friends in China who have made fortunes. They are not relatives of anybody important, but with an economy that trippled, a guy with an ear to the ground can pick a lot of winners. Do we try to prove that the families of western leaders do not profit from their connections? Name one and for sure he must be hating to make money. Could Mr. Wen stop the relatives taking advantage of their connections? Considering to divorce the greedy wife must prove something.
You can choose your friends, but ....
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

SnorkelSimla, India
Same ol', same ol'. The same modus operandi of India's corrupt politicians. Sweetheart deals, plum government contracts, companies in the names of close relatives doing roaring business... the works. And all while the Dear Leader projects an austere lifestyle. Bet the Chinese learnt a few tricks from our Indian politicians. They've had more than enough practice ever since the Brits handed over power to them in 1947. As an Indian I ought to be insufferable proud of this. But somehow, I don't. Ain't patriotic enough, I guess.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

AshokNew Delhi
With growth come riches and money attracts all the usual suspects. Successful politicians are usually those sort of people who are able to morph into what the situation demands, with their inner goals set to serving themselves instead of their constituents. Point is despite all the corruption and all the the looting is the constituency progressing in health, wealth and leisure? In China it seems to be working for the people; I cannot think of a single other country of a billion people who went from sheer dogma and poverty to stable middle class and world power. So the question really before us is can the corrupted leaders deliver by and large - for corruption is inevitable and nothing can ever eradicate the basic human instinct of making it quick.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:43 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

sanjay ranadepune
Most of the money in Chinese Politicians pockets is of course from jobs shpped out of US.Unless the jobs return to US the so called progress of China cannot be halted
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:32 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

CityTruckerSan Francisco
Our Founding Fathers understood that unopposed power breeds corruption and tyranny and that this phenomenon wasn't limited to monarchies. They also promulgated the Rule of Law, without exception. As long as the Communist Party holds absollute power, "above the Law and above Heaven", there can be no free discourse, no effective reform, and no hope of ending the corruption and tyranny under which that nation is strugling forward.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

yasuaki toriiJapan
I was born in northern China, and admired Mao Ze-dong's people's army. Then ragtag peasant solider taught me revolution and it's songs(including, international's Chinese version) They were all poor and marginal but high sprite and moral, had human dignity and sympathy to others. They had shared their food rations with me, dispirit Japanese Child. Where are they now? Where had they gone? I am sad, but it is not China but all human common vulnerablity. Though two to three Chinese centuries Chinese history, Chinese people had learned and inherited this to their descendant that not trust others but relatives and friend, and not trust paper-money but jewelry. And thousand years shadow maneuver still rampant in China. Who could exactly explain Why Bo Xilai had fallen? Wen Jiabao know this. He says( quote from this article), Ultimately, history will have the final say.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

CCCalifornia
For the moment we at least have some rule of law and govt regulations, though they are weaker than at anytime, and at risk due to Citizen's United. For the moment...
In reply to nealOct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

AmyBrooklyn
Yes greed andselfishness are common traits of politicians, the difference between China and the US is that Freedom of the Press has some cleansing effects.
In reply to ChrisOct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

SWWSan Francisco
Chinese are still waiting for their Lee Kuan Yew. But compare to North Korea, Cuba. China today are miles ahead, it will be great for the world when Chinese government adopt a strong anti-corruption attitude like Singapore.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

Miss ChongqingNY
Those of us from Chongqing cannot but see the hypocrisy of Wen in his key to oust Bo XL. Bo is not worse than him or others but a whole lot better in what he did for the people. We still think the main reason Wen pushed to oust Bo is that Bo made him look so incompetent and unaccomplished.

Wen wasted ten years during his tenure as PM, no accomplishments, did nothing for the country or people; other than being the official mourner-in-chief, helicoptering to where crises occurred and did his crying. But why did so many crises occur under his rein in the first place?

what a good actor, no wonder he is known as Wen the Emperor in Acting (Wen Ying Di). a petty soul.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

RamMontgomery, NJ
Great work, NYT! Although this kind of collateral damage could be attributed to fallout from the Bo affair, it still takes NYT to investigate, validate, and importantly, publish. And, of course, the vested parties in China will blame "western bias" - much like the oft-claimed "liberal bias". So be it then.

Now, will you please go after Indian graft n high places? I can assure you it will many times more putrid than any Chinese affair which is just loose change.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:03 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Heq BananaGuangzhou
Well la di da! Most of us aren't in China. Unless you're willing to translate the Chinese equivalent into English. But let me ask you, which of their newspapers are doing a similar exposé like this one on their front page, and that users can share on weibo? That's what I thought.
In reply to BenjaminOct. 26, 2012 at 4:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

tsdflcchicago
Really have no idea why NYT posts such information at this very point of time. Such phenomena happened all the time within all kinds of political regime, including the US. But have to say that the reporter must take a long time do such a thorough research. We still need more evidence make us believe it. Otherwise, what's the difference between objective research and children's imaginary drawing?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

napnyc
A couple of points to put this story in context:

First, anyone with personal ties to the top of the Chinese pyramid will be regarded by ordinary Chinese as having a touch of royalty, as being part of the imperial family or its retinue, and there's an aura associated with that. There are enough Chinese who will practically throw money at those with imperial ties because they want to share in that aura and benefit from it. Anyone with those ties, even quite tenuous ones by Western standards, will be the constant recipient of extraordinary offers. Who could resist?

Second, the key to financial success in China is access to bank credit. And the state-controlled banks seem to roll out the welcome mat if you've got an imperial name or two among your supporters. They like associating themselves with the aura, too. Most importantly, the royal family members don't have pull a single string: lending their names is enough.

To ask, "But why?" misses the point. That's China, that's all.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

US ExpatWashington
Americans are way too upset about corruption in the rest of the world. It is the norm for business. No degree of indignation on the part of Americans will have an affect.

The Chinese understand this and have overtaken the US in their influence in many countries. For buying minerals and oil, a few bucks to a 3rd-world official makes the Chinese offer much more attractive then the American offer. In fact, it is a serious impediment to US companies that they can be fined in the US for adhering to the international norm.

If Americans are serious about participating in a global economy they have to adjust to the the norms of the customer's county. To my mind, bribes are as necessary as re-designing a car for right hand drive to sell in England.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

KrullebolVancouver, BC Canada
It's human nature - because of their system there are fewer checks and balances - Greed is always "good" and the same whether on Wall Street or on Chang An Da Jie.

China is just not a nice country. But few seem to care, guided by their greed as we all are.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

MarcusNew York, NY
The article is full of claims that is suggestive but really does not make much sense "Late one evening early this year, the prime minister's only son, Wen Yunsong, was in the cigar lounge at Xiu, an upscale bar and lounge at the Park Hyatt in Beijing. He was having cocktails as Beijing's nouveau riche gathered around, clutching designer bags and wearing expensive business suits" what does that suppose to suggest?The son of the Prime Minister can't go to a nice bar in Park Hyatt hotel where everyone goes to? I'm sure the Kennedys live a fair life too, date some singers, go to some nice bars or pull some strings every so often. And I'm sure there are a lot of nouveau riches indulging in Avenue. I'm sure Bill Clinton helped Hilary to get her job. The article is informative but lacks an opinion, and is not thinking critically at all. The whole purpose of the article seems like, "Americans, just read this article and act surprised and we will feel better about ourselves afterwards." I can't take it seriously and can't help to feel its another political campaign to make Americans to feel better about their broken system.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:55 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Mertonnew york
Now that the news about family wealth of China's leaders has surfaced,let's see how the government responds.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

mfordATL
$Billions is a lot! Like many other things, the Chinese do corruption on a massive scale, but come on, we're talking about politics, right? Corruption is definitely, obviously inherent in the game where government, industry, and commerce intertwine, no matter what system you live under. American politicians leave office for ultra-plush jobs on K St., and while in office---and for years after---they steer government contracts and policy toward friends and families, effectively steering national resources to their own pockets. That's what it is. We all know it. And that's why common folks (no matter what system they live under) pillage and burn the palaces every couple hundred years, give or take.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

ROBERT DEL ROSSOBROOKLYN NY
In case you missed the memo, China limits the top 2 leaders (including Mr. Wen) to two five-year terms. Next month, China gets new leaders.

But the dictatorship is not embodied in a single person, like Stalin or Brezhnev, who can be senile after 25 years in power.

The dictatorship is embodied in the Communist Party as a whole. While the possibility of change is there, the dictatorship is more robust and more of a problem than the decrepit Soviet kind was.
In reply to a_aldana Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

Rob CampbellWestern MA
Hmmm... not too sure that difference exists in practice.

At what point on the circle does capitalism start/end and communism end/start?
In reply to BarryOct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

JpLexington KY
How can you not see how far apart the parties are....at least on rhetoric. I for one can't remember the country so divided...except when Joe Biden was tending to Abraham Lincoln.
In reply to Nick MetrowskyOct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

BenjaminDallas, Texas
What you are presenting as news is common knowledge in China. What's your next headline? "Humans breathe air!" "Sun rises in east." How boring this newspaper has become.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

JoallenUSA
When the pro-independence party in Taiwan started gaining steam, news about corruption of the leader of the party, Chen, surfaced as a scandal, striking a crucial blow to the independence movement in Taiwan.

When the more pro-democracy candidate for the Hong Kong Chief Executive position, Tang, became more popular than the candidate who in favor of tighter controls of demonstrations, a mysterious leak of an "underground palace" flashed around the globe, making the top 10 news list in many American and European newspapers. In fact, the so called palace was of the size of a large luxurious New York apartment. And after the defeat of the pro-democracy candidate, it became known that the victorious candidate had committed the same exact type of violation of housing regulation as the defeated candidate.

Now, at a crucial time when reformist and the disgraced Maoists are locked in a tight power struggle in China, once again, the pro-reform leader, albeit being more popular to be begin with, is featured in a high profile corruption scandal by a leak to the media in the west.

I hope that news reporters, though no doubt naive, start to wise up about this trend. Most of the time, the corruption or scandal occurs to a comparable, and possibly greater extent among the anti-reform politicians, but are not leaked.

There is a striking trend here.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 5:44 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

Observer from the NorthMontreal, Canada
It looks like Chinese in good position, close to power, having clout plus education, degrees are not so different than Americans in the Ivy League circles making billions. It shows though that given the opportunities these Chinese are formidable businessmen/women. American beware.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 3:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

JMMDallas, TX
To SCB, Virginia:
I disagree. It is just as bad here. All of us in the USA are paying our politicians in this country via the purchase price we pay for our goods. For example, from auto manufacturing to the price of gasoline to the price of a Proctor & Gamble bottle of laundry detergent, we are paying for that company's lobbying costs and political donations. We just try to hide it here! They are bribes nevertheless.
In reply to SCBOct. 26, 2012 at 11:48 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

TK SungSF
Yes, it can, and will, stop Korea if they don't fix their corruption problem which, btw, pales compared to Chinese problem these days. They are aware of it, and so the central issue in Korean election this year is "economic democratization". This is the democracy in action.

You can only go so far without transparency and accountability.
In reply to KastusOct. 26, 2012 at 11:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

CCTexas
It seems that Americans are more outraged than Chinese upon hearing this news. To the Chinese, it's part of culture. An ordinary citizen knows if he ever becomes a government official, he would do exactly the same thing.

When people have the general attitude that "It's my turn if I get the chance," the society can't move forward. This kind of attitude doesn't persist just in China, of course.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:11 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

swamimilwaukee
Huh? I am not sure that we Americans are providing safe haven (not heaven as you say) to "corruptive" officers.

Even assuming for a second that your claim is true, how does that matter in this case? Are you implying that Wen accumulated these riches in the hope that the US or the EU would provide him a safe haven? That sounds rather daft.
In reply to Jennie PC ChiangOct. 26, 2012 at 10:15 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

slimtrimtaipei
my chinese girlfriend just said: so what. everybody already know that.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:41 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

WendyNJ, USA
Thank you, New York Times. You've done it again! An excellent job and true journalism! Kudos to the journalist and editor!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:41 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

forbetterworldBoston, MA
Many Chinese weibo (micro blogs) are talking about the news behind the news, questioning the authenticity of the sources as well as the timing of the reporting (just before the 18th Party Congress next months). Is this a political witchhunt by NYT aided by Wen/Xi/Hu's political enemy in China? Only NYT can answer it.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:41 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

eastbackbayeverywhere
its already being unmasked in India; one only has to scour news of corruption and accusation on indian central govt politicians in the last couple of years to know its been widely recorded and publicised.
In reply to Wellington DempseyOct. 26, 2012 at 9:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Always RightCanada
That's a lot of shark fin soup and tiger gonads
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:22 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

peteNYC
Great article, excellent investigative journalism! One question: what does that mean for US companies and execs who have dealings with these (many) shell- and other companies or directly with these individuals named here? One relevant law on our books is the "foreign corrupt practices act" or FCPA, which may make dealing with any such entities or persons illegal, especially if the US side knew or should have known that corruption was or is involved. I'll be curious to see how many investigations of this will start here in the next weeks and months.

Last, but not least: NYT, Keep it up, both looking abroad and at home!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Victor LaccaAnn Arbor, MI
Did you think his family would be living in poverty? The only difference is that in the west the wealth has been nestled by the gentry for generations. Remember corporations are people too and the the rich have many paper children that are harder to track
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:22 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

milongueroTexas
The usual China-bashing losers aside, it's curious to note that most of these corruption cases come from the nouveau rich that yells the loudest for "reform" and liberalization. And the phenomenon is nothing new among all the rising economic powers - Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, or BRICS in general. Some consider it the inevitable cost of development. In the case of Wen and today's CCP, it's the hypocrisy that is galling. Bo Xilai is a small-timer in comparison.

I wonder how much the carpers below would give up to have a sustained 8% annual growth rate, and a national high-speed rail network. Try ask the Russians and Indians.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:08 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Isaac MihaeliGlen Cove, NY
I am not surprise but have to command the NYT for the article. It is well known that there is an out cry against "local" officials for being corrupt, but the NYT revealed that it starts on the top level. In a country that the leaders are not elected by popular vote of the people, they are free to do whatever they please.

The American public has an addiction of buying goods made in china via US corporate greed. The money that goes to China enriches the top level which amasses billions in the process. This is one of the reasons China needs popular election to get a real genuine leadership that answers to the people.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

RobwLi Ny
Did you read the part where it said something to the effect of al stock trades go through him, so he gets all the insider trading information?
In reply to Allen CraigOct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

RobwLi Ny
I wonder if they've considered blocking access to the new york times site forever? Because every article posted on this site, to my knowledge, is archived online forever (or until they go out of business, whichever comes first).
In reply to Steven PlummerOct. 26, 2012 at 7:48 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

SCBVirginia USA
The real problem here is that China's entire system is designed to hide this corruption and correct the corrupt. Mr. Wen may be more liberal than the likes of Li Pen or Zhou Yongkang, but I've seen nothing that indicates that anybody within the CCP is serious about reform.

The idea that Mr. Wen is a supposed reformer makes this article even more timely and essentially. Everybody knew that Bo Xilai, for example, was a viscious opportunist, but Mr. Wen had convinced many that he was an upright man who sought to fix the system. But even this supposed reformer hugely benefited from a system that enriches its privileged few and assiduously protects them from public scrutiny.

In the end, it appears that Mr. Wen is not half the reformer he seemed - while he publicly maintained an upright facade, behind closed doors he was just as busy lining his pockets as every other amoral member of the extortion ring called the Chinese Communist Party.
In reply to JuliaPengOct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

jeffmontreal
The Chinese Communist Party is a gangster regime that has murdered 80 million of its own people and is now attempting the genocide of tens of millions of innocent Falun Gong practitioners by the use of torture, slavery, organ harvesting and murder.The Western World should not be doing business with these monsters yet continues to do business as usual because of corporate greed. Thank you for your consideration.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Paul FrankSwitzerland
This is why I subscribe to the Times: hard-hitting investigative journalism that must have taken months to research. I hope this important article will be posted on the New York Times' Chinese edition because even if the Times is blocked for weeks or longer because of this article, people in China can access it through VPNs.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Sally L.NorthEast
Wow, a privileged official makes a boatload of money and his family too? Corruption, greed, power. Where is the big surprise here?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

MomusOut west
Can't tell if this is a serious post or a joke.
In reply to TPWOct. 26, 2012 at 7:43 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Ken C. ArnoldSanta Monica, CA
Who in America is going to blame anyone else from wanting to get rich? Much of this article merely personalizes the abstract nature of wealth creation in China over the last two decades. Special access to the means and methods of aquiring wealth is not a phenomena unique to China. America politicans cozey up to the very wealthy and then access their friendships both during and after office in hopes for creating captial for themselves. The children of popliticans everywhere are given unique oppertunities. The size of the wealth creation by certain Chinese individuals points more to the scale and scope of the overall Chinse boom then anything. Many American's have got very wealthy investing in China too! Don't blame people for wanting to get rich! Someone is going to always get rich during a boom. Now is not the time to tar and feather the Chinese leadership. I think they have done a wonderful job of leading China out of poverty. Ken C. Arnold Santa Monica, CA
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

LanceDalTexas
The funny thing is that Chinese are not surprised about this. Top officials in any communist regime are known to be corrupt, hence rich. I would love to see an article on Vietnamese or Russian leaders.

A retired general I met in one of those communist country once told me: "prepare to pay up if you want to do business here". To my surprised, he continued: "even me, who know the prime minister well, still have to pay his people to get thing done". Every time he went to the capital asking for something, he brought with him 20, yes, 20 envelops to cover the entire rank.

There is a rule in those communist countries. The 20% rule. Guys like Wen Jiabao, would ask for 20% in the company holding, putting under the name of one of his relative. My company was once asked to "contribute" $600K on a $3M project. Exactly 20%.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:21 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

HHRSEA
I had an old friend who lived in one small county in China whose niece had just been promoted to a higher level Traffic Police Department, but was a mere middle ranking officer at that new level! During the dinner celebration with the family, my friend announce to his niece that "the future of our family is now in your hand", since he is now the highest rank in terms of official ranking within the family and all family who need help with any official matters will now look to him for help!

This is the way Chinese people under the communist rule think! Remember that this is at the county level! So there is really no surprise that relative of the prime minister make use of his position to the maximum! Ask any Chinese (even those who are now complaining of the corruption), not doing so would be unthinkable, and very stupid!

I have another official friend who has retired few years ago complained to me on one hand about the level of corruption now, but on the other hand regretted that he had not make use of his position while in power! This is despite the fact that he lives in a nice villa (his third property) within an upscale development!

I never use to believe my China friends who told me that officials at the national levels make billions (I thought maybe millions are more reasonable estimate), but after Bo Xilai and now Wen Jiabou, I truly underestimated how Chinese know one of their own!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

oh wellearth
Shame on NYT for being used as a tool. Wen is one of those who pushes for reform, opening up, and the rule of law. NYT singles out him for an articled titled to tell how corruption is a serious problem among Chinese leaders. Why didn't NYT publish about Wen's conservative enemies in such exquisite details? That 2.7B family business is chicken feed. How come it was so easy for NYT to access all the key sources without being swiftly cut off by Chinese authority? One can only suspect this story, with its perfect timing before the CCP Congress and government change, has been set up by someone far smarter than NYT to weaken Wen's position to choose more open-minded successors.
Some years ago another reform-minded Chinese premier, Zhu Rongji, was in the US looking for support at critical times. He was flatly refused. The conservatives in China seized the opportunity to show how stupid Zhu was trying to making deals with the US. Zhu was politically down and out. The conservatives have since prevailed in China for the decade after, until this very day.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

TeshNew York
Hypocrisy in its ultimate form - Communism is for the peasants under them, but Capitalism in its most rapacious form for the leaders! And they jail and execute lower level government officials who accept bribes or those not in the good books of the leadership.

Why do we still engage in dialog with them? Take a stance, form partnerships with other progressive nations, and slowly marginalize China - the rest of the world should not forget the slaughter and sacrifices at Tienanmen Square - we Americans have been shipping more work and our national sovereignty to them by the day!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

dmb0602Peoria, IL
All this artical says to me is China's leader has lead the American Dream of Rages to Riches!!!!!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

D.W.OaksOregon, USA
Weird to know direct access to our comments is blocked to such a large percentage of the world's people at this moment.

Extreme unfair economic inequality harms well being, mentally, emotionally and even physically. Perhaps we in USA can see this more clearly in an article about China. Here our corruption is veiled somewhat by pretense like Citizens United decision by US Supreme Court. The USA wealthy are so powerful they have the luxury to pretend they are not brazenly direct tyrants, yet.

But deep down this inequality harms 100 percent. After all, with more equality maybe the US presidential debates might have even mentioned the climate crisis? Those on bottom can be silenced and frightened and traumatized by extreme unfair inequality, but we all suffer.

I am reminded of the occasion a few years ago when the NY Times did a great article about abuse in Chinese health care, including instances of involuntary ECT (electroshock). By coincidence in my human rights work I was advocating for a New Yorker near NYC getting exactly the same abuse at same time in USA!

Maybe people of NYC might peacefully re-occupy Wall St. some day, just as Beijing residents may some day re-occupy Tiananmen Square? Maybe We The People can re-occupy our planet before 'the sea is boiling hot'?

I recall ML King called for Creative Maladjustment. Thanks NY Times for the excellent article, and this chance to join you in being censored. I am truly honored.

David W. Oaks, Oregon USA
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

PhytoistN.j.
Communists=Thugs & Gangsters & in China,they will never let POWER slips out off their reach. With continued territorial claims & disputes elsewhere outside mainland China,they succeed keeping Chinese people's attention diverted while silently pickpocketing wealth & hiding it away in shabby accounts no one can reach.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

ksatyanandasarma Palo Alto,Ca94303,USA
Let many more investigations into the ill-gotten wealth acquired by politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats occupying high positions in countries massively infested with corruption be carried on in order to cleanse the public life by exposing them and putting them to public shame and thereby tone up the governance s.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

TPWPak Chong, Thailand
As an American who has lived in Asia for 30 years and worked closely with many governments (including PRC), I find this article inane and insulting. What is it you thought would be the case? How does it further relationships for you to be 'telling all' like some know-it-all, as if you DID know it all; you who pick up some facts from here and there. What ARE people? Do YOU know? Why don't you go back to your borough where things are much simpler than in the real world, and there's no need to be heaping a 'new ethic' on the world at large. We'll all be dead and gone before it happens. Good luck in your endeavor to change human nature.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

DonkeyLogicUK
Congratulations to NYT for breaking this... despite news blockage by China, I am fairly confident that millions of Chinese youth have the capacity to get the article.
Well done.

This is not something you would ever get from Rupert Murdoch's newspapers and media outlets - Murdoch and all his gang are virtual puppets of the Chinese and sold their souls to corrupted Chinese officials, a decade ago.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Neator J P GuimaraesSalvador-Brazil
Search & knowledge about real Modern China.
Prime Minister Jiabao the "CORRUPTION TYCOON". If this is really true, the China's Communism is nothing but a big fake.
Social Democracy shall overcome someday. Neither capitalism nor old fashioned communism. Keynes' WELFARE STATE seems to be the solution.
Neator J P Guimaraes
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

bornorangeupstate, NY
Investigative reporting at the NYT?

We have the biggest coverup scandal in this country's history and they investigate China's leader's relataives?

Journalism is truly dead.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

LangejLondon
Some well-trained and able people traded on their name and relationship with a politician to make a bunch of money. Seems to me that this happens in pretty much every country. The less transparent the government, the more money can be made, but it is par for the course in even the most open of systems.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Stephen J JohnstonJacksonville Fl.
What shocking news! A Princeling who acts like a Princeling in the land of Oligarchs. Unearned wealth is the one commonality which binds the elite of the Chinese Communist Party. Why is so much made of one decadent Princeling today? The Chinese ruling class is perhaps terrified that the teeming hundreds of slave wage laborers in China will notice, and tear them to pieces. Maybe they want to distance themselves from him by the time honored tradition of scapegoating. I wonder what the point of this story is. Are the editors at the NYT unaware of this fact and mistaken that they need to share this incredible story with us? Most of us and the Chinese already know this. In fact some Americans are beginning to think that the only way to get our banksters back into line, since the laws of the land don't apply to them, is to likewise tear them apart. It may be getting to the point where plutocrats just aren't safe from exposure anywhere these days.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Edward SevumeStockholm
Politics has always been a way of accumulating riches in many countries.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

jophoenixAZ
Socialism is by far the best system. Capitalist and communists both by the nature of the beast can not but fail. If you look at Scandinavian countrys they work quite well and the super achivers who cant enjoy life and are driven to make more then say ten million they just trade their passport in and become American because all the hogs come here and we welcome them.. that is why we call it "the American DREAM.
In reply to devreaderOct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

ManGoSingapore
looks like Bo Xi Lai is hitting back ..... now the war is ON ..... the point is if these people who got the contract and actually delivered, then how ? BTW which political elites incl the American, British, French, German, Saudi, Israelis have not done exactly the same ????? please tell us something new .....
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

ChinaStyleChina
it is the politics of China style.
Bo and Wen all are not a good guy.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

CaliCalifornia
Shame that this article got the NYT blocked in China, since I'm planning on going there this winter. Knowing how the system works, it'll probably be several years before the Times is easily accessible again in China.

Now how am I going to spend my time online in China?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

mdfnyc
Getting someone in China to manufacture something for you is one thing, but if you're going to even think about selling anything to the Chinese people, you would be a fool to even try do so without an 'in' with the Party. Did anyone think they do this for free? Other than a few zeros, how is this any different than George W. Bush and the Texas Rangers?

Winston Wen, however, seems to be somewhat unfairly maligned. Beijing Institute of Technology is no slouch school, nor is Kellogg. With that background, and coming off three exits, with uniquely deep knowledge of Chinese markets, investors would be throwing money at him regardless of his family connections, and access to capital creates opportunity there, here, and everywhere.

While the American pluto-politico-industrial complex is as cronyistic in it its own way, somewhere, in the depths of Arkansas, Roger Clinton cried a little bit into his beer reading this story.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Martin RoscheisenSan Francisco
There's no piece of information in this article that has not been known for years. Why again is the NY Times publishing this now -- timed with his leaving office?

Perhaps it still comes as a surprise to some here that many Chinese are highly entrepreneurial.

And what is exactly the difference between dealings of Wen's relatives and Chelsea Clinton being appointed to the board of directors of Nasdaq:IACI as her first real job?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Veteran Ex-expatMidwest
Great job NYT!! Unfortunately, your've now joined the list of the Chinese blacklist of e-censorship. There should be awards for you guys. I wonder, what's next? Pull the plug on the entire inet? The way this is heading, they'll need to pull the plug on electricity, and start handing out candles to Chinese citizens.

I lived there for 10 years. Not surprised by any of this. Just imagine all the info that can be dug about all the top 50 officials? If I were them, I'd start shredding all evidence available, and preparing those candles...RIGHT NOW!!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Combat VetPhoenix
Let give Chinese corruption an anti-American spint. Obama isn't a billionaire, Romney on his best day isn't, Bill Gates earned his billions the old fashioned way, he earned it, Microsoft is many things but its barely a defense contractor. neither is Warren Buffet. Three cheers for the red diaper babies.
In reply to TomOct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

cdav531New Jersey
I'be been here close to 10 years and I honestly don't understand what you're talking about. Are you saying the story isn't true?
In reply to expat inOct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

augustbornLima, Ohio
I would bet the main source of the story was leaked from some obscure government group who delves into such facts that study the power structures of foreign governments.
In reply to M. PaireOct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

kmow24Iowa
What I find interesting about this article is 1) an actual calculated figure of 2.7 billions was researched out and published in the NYT 2) actual whereabouts of the investments were made.... other than these two points, big deal! How will this change China or it's government or whatever the point was to publish this? This does not come to any surprise to any person from China or has even lived in China for more than 3 years. Other than these two points, everything else written is completely common knowledge to 99% of the entire Chinese population.

The milk company Mengniu, which is sold at every corner store and supermarket in China was established by the son of a higher up government official. Everyone knows this! The list goes on and on. What point is NYT trying to make here? China is different than America?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

ConfuciusMelbourne
Let's not kid ourselves. If corruption can advance for the greater good and be contained within reasonable limit then it is still morally acceptable.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

MSAMiami
Really. Unclear? This is China. We are talking about some of the strongest nuclear families in the world
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

Jennie PC ChiangBoyertown, PA
We do not know if Mr. Wen's relatives profit from his position or from the political connection. Like other Asian countries or even European countries the corruption is prevalent. I am sure that Chinese leaders concerned the prevalent corruption. Chinese leaders should set an example for people to follow.

Corruption is core poverty and corruption affects the poor by diverting resources and holding back development, such as reducing economic growth, the progressively of the tax system, the level and effectiveness of social programs, and perpetuating an unequal distribution of asset ownership and unequal access to education, etc. However, we, Americans or EU should have not provided a safe heaven for those most Asian or African corruptive officers that would encourage corruption in developing countries.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

SusanNew York
Kleptocracy is what describes a system of wealth that lets people like Mr. Wen accumulate so much wealth while the masses of Chinese earn very little. It is just a matter of time before this system starts to implode on itself.
In reply to RBOct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

OutsiderOutside
WJB is supposed to be the "good" guy in this gang that runs the CCP. This speculative article smears WJB for something that all CCP officials do--even the lowliest county-level education supervisor.

It also ensures that there will be no one in the CCP pushing for more openness for a long, long time.

Everyone knows that the CCP is a giant gang that happens to control the world's 2nd largest economy, so it doesn't really tell us anything new about how China is run. I imagine there must have been considerable debate at the NYT about whether to release this article. I hope the editor lets us read about the discussion among those different sides. NYT is shut down in China now. Other sites are still open, but as they start reporting on this story, I'm sure they'll be cut off too. For now, looks like I will be reading the news via proxy, until they shut that down too.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

AngelbabyBeijing
I still belives in Wen's personal integrity. If these are all true, that's acceptable, because China is such a place of hierachy and high power distance. Sometimes the wealth and benefit comes "automatically" when someone's in high position, which is the rule of the game.

I still believe that if someone else were at Wen's position, he could be more incredibly corruptive.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

Tim TengFremont
Gandhi wasn't able to keep his contry united (split into India and Pakistan), was assasinated by the same Hindu/Muslim religious upheaval, and mainly lived in our admiration for his non-violent civil disobedience.

I often wondered- had India remained under the crown for another decade, or two, longer (much like Hong Kong) and gained its independence footing as natural outgrowth of its wherewithal. Or, if he had more of Mao's mettle and luck (minus Mao's bad deeds)..

India might of had bigger economy than the US, today.
In reply to christineOct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

TTNY
Goverment will respond by blanket censorship. They will also drum up nationalistic feelings and trash US capatalism. Would be very interesting to see if this news article will make any dent in the public opinion.
In reply to MertonOct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

RedRatSammamish, WA
Am I surprised by this? Nah. The Chinese have been traditionally a mercantile nation, more so than the west. The idea that they could commit to communism was a facade, it is just not in their culture. Yes, I bet that there are intertwining corporate holdings, but this also happens here in the west. Methinks, many would be quite surprised at how many of our "ruling elite" are embedded in the American corporate structures. Quite surprised, I bet.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

Ernie LamonicaQueens NY
How the Government responds? They are the Government and the accumulation of wealth, princelings, etc. is the response.
In reply to MertonOct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

Allen CraigSFO-BOG
So what? Why is this news in any way? So his family are aggressive and smart investors. What's the big deal?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

MMaurinSeattle
Wow. If it wasn't for nepotism China's economy would be stagnant.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

mskatSouthland
Except, it's more like the capitalist says, "what's mine is mine and I will sell you the idea that you can have mine for most of what is yours."
In reply to BarryOct. 26, 2012 at 4:27 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

mefnj
The Chinese hold a long-term belief in cyclical patterns of history: from revolution to "evolution" to revolution again, based on the elite's commitment, or lack of same, to governing for the good of the nation. In the West, the enduring concept of human rights has stoked both reform and revolt. ...Wouldn't it be grand if economic globalization led to the fusion of these two political traditions, and the imminent demise of our respective current oligarchs?
In reply to TomOct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

The ChoirWA State
This is news? Really, people, wise up, nothing to see here. This will never change, it's human nature.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

CGWToronto
It revisits what the CCP and its historians always considered a major scourge of pre-revolutionary China--"bureaucratic capitalism." Apart from scale, how does the Wen family and other Party notables' dealings differ from those of H.H. Kung and the plutocrats who backed the Nationalists?
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED2


ALL

MichaelFairfax, Virginia
FLAG
Good investigative journalism is being shown here...suggest that the article to provide some images of the documents or records the author has collected. It will dispel any potential denials....keep up good work! This is a good public service to everyone, especially to people in China.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 4:37 p.m.
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StephenShanghai
The CCP have six things as their bottom line issues, namely, Tiananmen, Tibet, Falun Gong, censorship, dissidents, and one-party rule. These are the most serious issues. There are of course problems with the Chinese Christians, the re-education through labor system, the disproportionate amount of capital punishments handed out, torture, hukou, border disputes, the one-child policy, pollution, labor issues, or corruption. Now supposed we have a scale to measure political freedom in China, rated from 0 to 100, if China solves all the six major issues listed above, there should be no problem rating China above 60. If more problems are solved, the rating for China will keep move up until perfection, which, I am afraid is not possible within my lifetime.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 5:44 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

JoallenUSA
When the pro-independence party in Taiwan started gaining steam, news about corruption of the leader of the party, Chen, surfaced as a scandal, striking a crucial blow to the independence movement in Taiwan.

When the more pro-democracy candidate for the Hong Kong Chief Executive position, Tang, became more popular than the candidate who in favor of tighter controls of demonstrations, a mysterious leak of an "underground palace" flashed around the globe, making the top 10 news list in many American and European newspapers. In fact, the so called palace was of the size of a large luxurious New York apartment. And after the defeat of the pro-democracy candidate, it became known that the victorious candidate had committed the same exact type of violation of housing regulation as the defeated candidate.

Now, at a crucial time when reformist and the disgraced Maoists are locked in a tight power struggle in China, once again, the pro-reform leader, albeit being more popular to be begin with, is featured in a high profile corruption scandal by a leak to the media in the west.

I hope that news reporters, though no doubt naive, start to wise up about this trend. Most of the time, the corruption or scandal occurs to a comparable, and possibly greater extent among the anti-reform politicians, but are not leaked.

There is a striking trend here.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 5:44 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

Observer from the NorthMontreal, Canada
It looks like Chinese in good position, close to power, having clout plus education, degrees are not so different than Americans in the Ivy League circles making billions. It shows though that given the opportunities these Chinese are formidable businessmen/women. American beware.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 3:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

klandersMD, USA
No doubt that the information is leaked by Wen's political enemies within the party. It must be a miracle that an investigator, as an American, can dig out such fruitful information without an high-hierarchy throat. Indeed, Wen has many faults but he is also only politician in China who acts as a western politician. And during the past years, he keeps evoking political reform for democracy. No matter if it is from his true thought or it's just a sort of temporal strategy, he is acting better than most politicians in China.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 3:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

Albert De CastroPorto, Portugal
If that was true, then he would not have allowed/ordered blocking access to New York Times website in China. Democracy shall be frequent, not only when convenient.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 5:46 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

DanielSan Diego
At least he presided over a stable government and growing economy, unlike US business and political leaders who are similarly rewarded for abject failure. Considering his role and time as leader of the world's largest nation, is this so surprising?
Oct. 27, 2012 at 3:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

GodBlessTheWorldNew York,NY
I wonder if this is another case of directing public opinion like have happened all the time when the US wants to target an "enemy". Corruption exist everywhere and it's a wrong think to do. I wonder if this news is because China is challenging the petrodollar by not using dollars anymore.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 3:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

CelesteUS
As a Chinese, this is really cannot be the "breaking news" to me. It is very common that such a high bracket leader has financial problem and involved in the corruption to some degree. Actually, it will be breaking news if he does not have such issues.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 1:40 a.m.RECOMMENDED7

Johan B.Los Angeles
What should be breaking news, that this is the Prime Minister himself, who supposedly is trying to stop the massive corruption within the government.
I personally met an older gentlemen who was 'given" a property of 45o square miles, that had 2 one million + citizens plus a bunch of smaller cities.
This makes it so hard to fight the government, as none of them want to give up their incredible wealth. It is much easier for them to persecute the people that attack them on their wealth and put them in prison.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 3:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

illiaadBig Lake, Ak
We are pretty much the same... our political leadership invests heavily in market related opportunities. I myself did my time as a budget officer and saw the proliferation of P.C.'s throughout the government. Plus we had inter-agency connectivity... what would become the net. Who could not see that coming and with even small but steady investing, I myself have done quite well with my NASDAQ portfolio, heck Apple alone.

Anyway, with a presidential candidate worth possibly half a Billion and vested overseas, the more important function is to know where we are headed with this new, universal mega-wealth.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 1:40 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

Packer Sinachina
p.r.china can't be called a nation. It's just a bunch of rogue.
Every social systems controlled by a handful of rotten communist top leaders had been dysfunctional and corrupt.
The majority of general populace in the mainland are still being suppressed by Dictatorship of china communist party and struggling in poverty.
So U.S should help all suppressed people living in the mainland to break haphazard-ous social condition in china.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 12:40 a.m.

Roland BergerOntario, Canada
China introduced capitalisme. More and more will it be like America.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 12:39 a.m.

Butler Chenoversee
As once-in-decade power transition approaches, the vying for power in the secretive and close door Chinese Politics is heating up. Boxilai is purged from the Communists.the hidden wealth of Wen is exposed to NYT.and Another person ,the nephew of Chairman who was sentenced to prison for 18 years after the end of culture revolution and disappeared from the public after his release is appearing on the Chinese mainstream websites.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 12:39 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

vjwwlcFL, US
Ironically, quite a few Chinese know (or they think they know) about the corruption of the elite leaders or so called "Red families". But it really only remains something people gossip about over the dinning table or when they feel frustrated in life. What can you do about it? How does that impact your life as an individual in China, especially for these working classes? Probably NOTHING!
All you can hope is "well, hopefully after these people got their desires satisfied, they can still do something good to the general public..." Are Chinese people most tolerant in this world? Probably yes, thanks to a couple-of-thousand-year old history of feudal system (which technically didn't change much after 1949).
It's a system failure. There's no simple fix. Dictatorship isn't the right to describe today's governance in China. It's a twisted, adapted and deformed system which has never been seen in any other country. Economically wise, we have been really successful over the last 30 years. But who's reaping such success??? How sustainable it is??? Again back to the old question: WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Hopefully we can answer these questions without going through a major revolution...
Oct. 27, 2012 at 12:39 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

MarioItaly
It looks like ousted Chongqing leader Bo Xilai has eventually got to fight back.
Revelations about Wen Jiabao family's hidden fortune have been timed to coincide with expulsion of Bo Xilai from top legislature that stripped him of his MP immunity, which means he's now facing a biased trial and harsh imprisonment, if not worse.

With the revelations Bo Xilai and his supporters landed a devastating blow straight at the top of China political establishment. Adding to the drama the long awaited change in China's secretive and closed leadership is looming only few days away.

Wondering whether this is just the first and last retaliatory blow from someone who has given up all hopes and deems to be doomed.
I would bet that Mr. Bo Xilai keeps ready some more bunker-busting ammos in store and signaled loud an clear that he's now ready to use all of them in his last-stance fight.

If my bet is right things in China in the very near future will get quite interesting.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:33 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

CCTexas
It seems that Americans are more outraged than Chinese upon hearing this news. To the Chinese, it's part of culture. An ordinary citizen knows if he ever becomes a government official, he would do exactly the same thing.

When people have the general attitude that "It's my turn if I get the chance," the society can't move forward. This kind of attitude doesn't persist just in China, of course.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:11 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

IBMNYC
first, I'd like to know more about the news source. For this kind of news about Chinese leaders, it's hard to obtain without having 'insiders'.
My take is Wen's family does take large amount of money, but the figure is far less than $2.7B.
I'd say at most half part of this report is real.

btw, can we have a news report about Bush family's wealth?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:10 p.m.RECOMMENDED10

Larry FinkLA
you are from China. US President's assets are disclosed and are public information.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 3:59 a.m.

cdav531New Jersey
It was all over the Chinese media a while back that the leader of the Railroad Ministry had embezzled over $100 million over a period of many years. It was reported he had something like 19 mistresses until that part of the story was removed at the insistence of censors. Of course someone with Wen's enormous influence could rake in that much more. As for Bush, well, he isn't President anymore.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 5:45 a.m.

Eugene GorrinUnion, NJ
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" - Animal Farm
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:08 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

RonNYCNew York
Probably it's time to rewrite Marx: From each according to their ability, to each according to their connections.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:59 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

KastusMir
Look at South Korea. Its democracy. They had huge amount of corruption scandals. Many presidents were involved.
But can this trait stop Korea's rising?
It's interesting but corruption in Confucius countries is not the same as in the West.
For example it's difficult to imagine that coverment can docide to invade some country because some companies need oil contracts.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:41 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

TK SungSF
Yes, it can, and will, stop Korea if they don't fix their corruption problem which, btw, pales compared to Chinese problem these days. They are aware of it, and so the central issue in Korean election this year is "economic democratization". This is the democracy in action.

You can only go so far without transparency and accountability.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

StephenShanghai
Update: China is no longer blocking the New York Times website.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:41 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

RPWJackson
Glad to hear it! I would imagine the news embargo has only fueled interest in the story.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

forbetterworldBoston, MA
Many Chinese weibo (micro blogs) are talking about the news behind the news, questioning the authenticity of the sources as well as the timing of the reporting (just before the 18th Party Congress next months). Is this a political witchhunt by NYT aided by Wen/Xi/Hu's political enemy in China? Only NYT can answer it.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:41 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

DanTokyo, Japan
I'm not sure why people would find the news particularly unbelievable. When you have a top-down government, those in government "know the future" if their enacted policy works as planned. If they invest accordingly, how can they not lose? They've eliminated the inherent risk that makes capitalism fair and work. Even in US congress, there are science publications demonstrating that their investment portfolio fares much better than the average American. Why? Because, to a certain extent, they are making the future and they know it before all the rest of Americans.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 3:59 a.m.

cdav531New Jersey
That is a typical reaction to any news reported by a "Western" source here. Going all the way back to 1949 part of The Party narrative has been that "the West is out to get us." (It may even be true but that's another topic for another day.) The Party cynically uses this line to unite the country. Another factor is many Chinese find it impossible to believe that a "free press" really exists in America and are convinced it is the US government pulling the strings. The few Chinese I know who are willing to talk about such things have told me that Wen's family becoming fabulously wealthy is not a big secret here. The story is true. That, however, is not the issue to many Chinese.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 5:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

bad Wen JBBJ
Wen JiaBao is the top Chinese leader who has been using his power to make his family so rich in over 5000 years of Chinese history. He is shameless to be greed and abuse his power to make huge money. Many people in Beijing estimate his family made at least 100 Billions of RMB.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:41 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

JoshNYC
Given his style, Premier Wen might speak about it in public. If not, silence speaks volume. Maybe it is not as bad as it was reported; maybe this was done without his permission or even knowledge. If the report was partly true, it would be a disappointment. Hypocrisy is not a virtue anywhere in the world.

I found it hard to understand why individuals could be that kind of greedy. But then I realized that individuals have family. Family members are often involved. When I talked about death penalty in China, I mentioned in my class that economic crimes can lead to death penalty in China, unlike in America, where only killing, rape and treason are deadly crime. If economic crimes are ruled out, corruption will probably become even more prevalent in China. Family is such an important unit in China. One would be happy to sacrifice himself, especially at advanced age, so as to enrich the entire family.

Maddoff was sentenced to life imprisonment, basically. His family pleaded innocence, which was hard to believe. His son later committed suicide. President Roh of South Korea was under investigation for corruption. He claimed that he knew his family involvement only after his retirement. But he committed suicide by jumping off a cliff.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:32 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Donald2US
This report tells us these few things:

1. This is nothing new. Whoever needs to read from New York Time to knows this, must be, shall I say, 'American"

2. Apparently, there is a big power struggle in China at the very top level.

3. This reporter is either so stupid and doesn't know he is part of the weapon by a faction; or don't care. My guess is he doesn't care and just want to get a report out.

4. The big problem is how Chinese government handle this. Kick some reporters out just make them a hero. I suggest just let it go, don't even block the New York Times, and let the Chinese micro-bloggers fight the western media.

5. New York Times Chinese edition should accept Chinese bloggers smashing their blog. Don't block anyone.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

peteNYC
Great article, excellent investigative journalism! One question: what does that mean for US companies and execs who have dealings with these (many) shell- and other companies or directly with these individuals named here? One relevant law on our books is the "foreign corrupt practices act" or FCPA, which may make dealing with any such entities or persons illegal, especially if the US side knew or should have known that corruption was or is involved. I'll be curious to see how many investigations of this will start here in the next weeks and months.

Last, but not least: NYT, Keep it up, both looking abroad and at home!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

T. Ramakrishnantramakrishnan
There is an old joke from the fifties' India.
Question: What is the difference between a highway robber and a Congressman?
Answer: The robber robs and goes to jail. The Congressman goes to jail and then robs. The reference is to the Congress Party men who went to jail during the independence struggle and in power amassed wealth.

But all the corruption of 'socialist India' pales into insignificance before their grand children's and their lackeys' loot in globalized 'free enterprise' economy. Being a democracy, the Press may harass and shame the billionaire and he may lose the next elections. But he gets to keep the money. In the U.S. we had the robber barons a century ago. Now we have a system where things 'illegal' to lesser men are perfectly legal for the corporate-banker elite.

But China takes the cake. No opposition, free press or elections! She is not 'capitalist' in any sense. Nor is she communist. The Soviet apparatchiks had the 'use' of the State-owned (crummy) economy but they lost it (and frequently their lives) when they lost the job. They had no access to Western banks and corporations, nor elite universities and 'Green Cards' for their children.

But the Chinese Party elite must remember that dictatorships do not last for long. Democracies do. At least to keep their loot for themselves and their progeny, they should embrace democracy --- and soon.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED7

KimmyCA
This isn't really news to people who follow Chinese politics. Even taxi drivers in Beijing have been complain about the hypocrisy of Wen publicly fighting against corruption while privately allowing his family to amass great fortunes by exploiting Wen's political status. As much as this article tries to leave Wen out of the scandal, it's silly to believe that he's not involved. And as for China blocking web access to the NYT, well, it happens all the time, no surprise there either.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

Chris WegenerSherman Oaks
And this is different from our country how? Perhaps by scale but certainly every Senator or Congressman in our past three decades has left office much richer than they were when they came in.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:11 p.m.RECOMMENDED8

milongueroTexas
The usual China-bashing losers aside, it's curious to note that most of these corruption cases come from the nouveau rich that yells the loudest for "reform" and liberalization. And the phenomenon is nothing new among all the rising economic powers - Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, or BRICS in general. Some consider it the inevitable cost of development. In the case of Wen and today's CCP, it's the hypocrisy that is galling. Bo Xilai is a small-timer in comparison.

I wonder how much the carpers below would give up to have a sustained 8% annual growth rate, and a national high-speed rail network. Try ask the Russians and Indians.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:08 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

GusNew York City
A rail network where people die in corruption-related crashes? Hmm...don't know how great that is.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:08 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

readerLos Angeles, CA
It is more disturbing when you think that this is 2.7 billion dollars, not yuan ( the chinese currency). The amount Wen's family has in chinese yuan is 6 times this number.This happened in a country where the average income is 32,900 yuan to 56,061 yuan ( depending on the province) in the year 2011, or translated to US dollars 5,483 to 9343.5 annual income. I think the numbers speak for themselves as to whether he's a good leader or not and the degree of corruption in China.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:01 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

HolybagpipesRochester, NY
I must be uneducated. I thought communism was sharing the wealth equally among all the people.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:50 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

KastusMir
Corruption is everywhere. Americans should know this detten than someone else.
Anyway Wen is great leader who helped his country overcome crisis without damage.
There is no evidence of Wen's corruption. So what is the problem?
Guanxi? I think if you are doing business in every county to know right people is very very important.
So don't envy.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

slimtrimtaipei
my chinese girlfriend just said: so what. everybody already know that.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:41 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

WendyNJ, USA
Thank you, New York Times. You've done it again! An excellent job and true journalism! Kudos to the journalist and editor!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:41 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Paul R.Korea
For all the NY Times bashers out there, do you have any idea how much a report like this might cost them? Why would they make this stuff up? This is journalism the way it is supposed to be!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:40 p.m.RECOMMENDED11

WilliamNYC
China is a corrupt, sordid country that may implode upon itself within our lifetime. Can you imagine if in the United States, Obama's extended family members went from dirt poor to billionaires while he was in office, all on the strength of rigged business deals? It is unfathomable, but that is what happened in China. It's a disgrace.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED15

BoilsDenver
Bless the NY Times for having the courage to print the article and the financial guts to finance the writing of it. And I'm a rather conservative fellow.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED11

jasonRio de Janeiro
as a person who admire China's achievement in the last 30 yrs immensely, i think this investigative piece is significant contribution and motivation to facilitate improvement in China. China is improving everyday, some internally motivated, some external. this piece by Barboza serves to shine a light on China's deep rooted corruption. i think they will improve their system. congratulations to Barboza and NYT for this investigative piece.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

ABMorristown, NJ
This is a great story..wondering if there is a US angle as well in the sense of facilitators residing in places like Boston/Cambridge coming into a lot of money and buying $6 mil apts..
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:23 p.m.

Daniel F BoadaVietnam
What a piece of news! Do you remember that golden journalist's rule about the man who bites a dog? This thing here is nothing new on Earth. Corruption in Chinese government is a well known and widespread issue, the higher the worse. Why this obstinacy to keep the power and not become a democracy? It's just for their own benefit. I don't buy that lie that they are communism. Even the US is more communist than China. Money is their religion.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:22 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Always RightCanada
That's a lot of shark fin soup and tiger gonads
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:22 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Victor LaccaAnn Arbor, MI
Did you think his family would be living in poverty? The only difference is that in the west the wealth has been nestled by the gentry for generations. Remember corporations are people too and the the rich have many paper children that are harder to track
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:22 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

ALCanada
Sad to see this news. I have thought Wen is a good leader.
Had been living in China for over 20 years, have to admit that those facts this news described is very common.
Greedy is really nature of human everywhere.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:34 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

Lucas SherrNew York
To the Editors of New York Times:

The recent diatribe against Hu, Wen and Xi is a direct result of high level political struggle between Hu, Wen Xi clique and the Zhou (Yongkang Zhou), Bo (Xilai Bo) Clique before the
18th National Congress.

Currently, the Zhou Clique has been distributing anti-Hu/Wen/Xi propaganda to stir up turmoil before the National Congress.

Hu, Wen and Xi are pro political reforms and China might be able to carry out further democratic reforms if they are in power. My question is instead of trying to win eyeballs for this kind of negative propaganda on China's hope for democratic reforms, could you please refrain from getting involved in China's political struggle and at least try to not side with anyone.

As a Chinese national who is abroad, I would like my country to proceed gradually towards democracy. The Zhou Clique will hinder this process and their record of persecution of Chinese nationals show no signs of hope whatsoever.

Between winning attention and doing what is correct, I hope that New York Times can do the right thing and support China's democratic cause, instead of using ill-willed evidence aimed to further their own political ends.

Thank you.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:34 p.m.RECOMMENDED15

Blue SkyCA
Truth is clarified when it's not argued!
Wen Jia Bao is one of the most decent officials in China! It's so obvious that the Bo Xilai's supporters were trying to defeat Wen by paying New York Time to publish article to make Wen looked bad.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:32 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

sanjay ranadepune
Most of the money in Chinese Politicians pockets is of course from jobs shpped out of US.Unless the jobs return to US the so called progress of China cannot be halted
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:32 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Meg DavisNew York
Congratulations to David Barboza and the New York Times for impressive research, excellent writing, and the courage to stand behind controversial work despite the costs. "Afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted"...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED11

Gary McCrayFort Bragg CA
The Chinese government is now blocking the New York Times on line in China as a result of these articles.

The Chinese government is, in fact even more corrupt than our own and they do not have the problem of freedom of speech or individual liberty to slow them down that we do.

Of course if we elect Romney, that could change.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:30 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

PaulPittsburgh, PA
Oh please. We could elect the greatest president the world has ever known and it's not going to impact China's internal decision making process any time soon. The situation in China along may lines - political, social, etc. - has a long way to go. It certainly won't be substantially different in the 4 or 8 years of Romney presidency nor the next four years of an Obama Administration should that outcome occur.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:06 p.m.

hdonutschina
Premier Wen and Vice Chairman Xi ,the most hated enemy of Maoists in china,has been under smear campaign for many years,i wonder how the Maoist got the audacity for trying to brainwash the rest of the world ,soon the Maoists gonna tell us North Korea is paradise .
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:29 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Jennie PC ChiangBoyertown, PA
Well, the New York Times article just provided a reasonable ground for belief yet it did not offer in proof of an alleged fact. Suspicion implies a belief upon circumstances which do not amount to proof that Wen's relatives profit from his position or from the political connection. I do realize that Asian and African countries or even some European countries the corruption is prevalent. I am sure that Chinese leaders concerned the prevalent corruption. Chinese leaders should set an example for people to follow.

I am not taking sides. However, we, Americans or EU should not have provided a safe heaven for those most Asian or African corruptive officers that would encourage corruption in developing countries. The corruptions are no different from normal criminals, it does not matter if it is bribery, extortion, embezzlement, drug trafficking, money laundering, or human trafficking.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:29 p.m.RECOMMENDED1
READ ALL 4 REPLIES

swamimilwaukee
Huh? I am not sure that we Americans are providing safe haven (not heaven as you say) to "corruptive" officers.

Even assuming for a second that your claim is true, how does that matter in this case? Are you implying that Wen accumulated these riches in the hope that the US or the EU would provide him a safe haven? That sounds rather daft.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:15 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

CCTexas
swami,

Americans of course are providing safe haven for corrupt officials all over the world. We're always willing to take their money, aren't we? We used to have a rule (not sure it still exists) that gives foreigners citizenship for investment. For officials from China or Africa, where do you think that money likely comes from?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.

Jennie PC ChiangBoyertown, PA
Sternhead,

I am just speaking to the facts. Perhaps, you should look up how many corrupt leaders of developing countries to the final in the United States or the European Union after they have been thrown out. New York Times article just provided a reasonable ground for belief yet it did not offer in proof of an alleged fact. Suspicion implies a belief upon circumstances which do not amount to proof that Wen's relatives profit from his position or from the political connection. There is not a crime until e confesses to the crime of which he is charged or been convicted on the trial for a particular crime.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 12:39 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

NeverCanada
Corruption is good. Corruption brings world peace: How can a Diamond Queen sell her diamonds if China is at war? (If Wen's wife is an arm dealer, I would be very worried) Corruption also brings wealth to the poor: Wen's wife need a wealthy population to buy her diamonds so she would nag her husband to death to keep the economic up.

Would you rather Wen be a virtuous theocratic leader like those in the Middle East? Or would you rather him be as frugal as Chairman Mao who killed 30 million people? A corrupted leader is always better than a crazy one.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:28 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

BNBJ
Chinese people will excute them, history will excute
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:28 p.m.

JPAlbuqueruqe, NM
In capitalist democracy, everyone gets a chance to be corrupt. In capitalist communism its the privileged few.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:28 p.m.RECOMMENDED8

hdonutschina
Premier Wen and Vice Chairman Xi ,the most hated enemy of Maoists in china,has been under smear campaign for many years,i wonder how the Maoist got the audacity for trying to brainwash the rest of the world ,soon the Maoists gonna tell us North Korea is paradise .
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:27 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

LuisaWashington
This is one of the best journalistic pieces I have ever read. Congratulations, NYT
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

PhytoistN.j.
Brav NYT,only you can do it. Stay & be brave as Dan Rather once said,we read you & need you when 1% elite(rotton to the core)hates moderates & liberals. Can you dig little more if Chinese Premier & all/any Romney have partenership interests on mainland China & hence they are hiding their past returns!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

99erLeft Coast
"China is a kleptocracy of a scale never seen before in human history."

How does it work? Check this out.

http://brontecapital.blogspot.com/2012/06/macroeconomics-of-chinese-klep...

Confucius said "Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." Pretty much sums it all up.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:25 p.m.

Paul FrankSwitzerland
This is why I subscribe to the Times: hard-hitting investigative journalism that must have taken months to research. I hope this important article will be posted on the New York Times' Chinese edition because even if the Times is blocked for weeks or longer because of this article, people in China can access it through VPNs.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

TK SungSF
This is why China will need some form of democracy sooner than later. These people need to be held accountable in order to root out corruption, and ultimately only people, free to express and free to vote, can hold them accountable.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

ConstantineCarmichael, CA
Is this illegal? Corruption? They might not be. Who know! Wen might not be involved in any of the business transactions involved his family members. But like thousands or hundreds of thousands Chinese Communist officials, who control political power, have been enjoying the wealth gained my their family members, relatives, and friends. This is typically Chinese GUANXI in function. One would get preferrable treatment of all sorts in one has political ties to an official in Beijing or tie to a police officer in a village.
"My father is Li Gang", a young man told a police who tried to arrest him for a traffic accident. Li Gang is head of the police department in that town. :My father is Li Gang" is now a wellknown expression among the Chinese in China.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

SolonChina
I believe Wen is simply "one of those", but far from the worst. Wish to read more from NYT of other Chinese leaders' stories. This is a regime completely rotten.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Isaac MihaeliGlen Cove, NY
I am not surprise but have to command the NYT for the article. It is well known that there is an out cry against "local" officials for being corrupt, but the NYT revealed that it starts on the top level. In a country that the leaders are not elected by popular vote of the people, they are free to do whatever they please.

The American public has an addiction of buying goods made in china via US corporate greed. The money that goes to China enriches the top level which amasses billions in the process. This is one of the reasons China needs popular election to get a real genuine leadership that answers to the people.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Pat ChoateWashington, VA
Excellent reportage. Now please report on the link between Chinese officials and U.S. corporations moving their factories to China.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

buulboston ma
For the broader context of China's political corruption, see Evan Osnos' article "Boss Rail" in the Oct. 22 issue of The New Yorker.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Shawn HChicago
The $2.7B (likely only a tip of the iceberg) did not surprise me, knowing how absolutely corrupt the absolute power is in China.

What surprised me was the capability, organization and preparedness of "the opposition party" -- which can be perhaps defined as the faction(s) either behind or sympathetic to the now disgraced Bo Xilai -- that effectively exists in China today.

A few days ago I first read on some US-based Chinese language news websites that a number of US media outlets, both mainstream ones (including NYT) and the Chinese language ones, recently received incredibly detailed materials exposing the Wen family, such as copies of the monthly reports submitted by the company(s) that Wen's son had worked in.

It was thus believed that the operation must have had the cooperation and support from people still in charge. And therefore the eventual purpose, like the last round of the same (so-called "smear" campaign by the Chinese government) targeting Vice President Xi Jinping as reported by Bloomberg in June, is to derail the forthcoming 18th Congress of the CPC where power will be transferred to the next leadership.

Hopefully not all will be lost in this clash of titans (of the Greek proportions, to paraphrase another NYT article of the same day), and democracy might accidentally stumble on a rare chance in China. But in the long run, without true rule of law and a responsible and alert citizenry, even democracy may not save a sinking Titanic.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Wellington DempseyBrazil
In Brazil happen the same fact, like in China the former leadership Lula da Silva , the brazilian poverty father ,but, meanwhile he and his relatives are more and more rich every year. Please, NYT, writes about this Brazil's issue. Indeed I think that in Russia, India and South Africa happen too.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

eastbackbayeverywhere
its already being unmasked in India; one only has to scour news of corruption and accusation on indian central govt politicians in the last couple of years to know its been widely recorded and publicised.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Jane CarrollSpringboro, OH
China is now Capitalist China--what else should we expect? Like our politicians in both the House and the Senate as well as the Executive ...and let's not forget the SCOTUS, they become millionaires and billionaires as they rise to power and accept gifts.

Political bribery is now legalized and it is no secret that we have the best Congress money can buy, and let's not forget that Scalia and Alito and Thomas are all fast friends of the Koch Bros. et.al, and have surely taken gifts in exchange for their fealty.

So China's leader having this much money...? Ha! What else is new?.
China is simply acting like the U.S.....
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

venzesingapore
If what is reported by NYtimes carries an element of truth, premier Wen will have a lot of questions to answer before quitting. His retirement could be truly mental punishing. (vzc1943)
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.

EricManhattan
No doubt, they are all thieves !
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.

NYCFurballNew York, NY
Reason to keep paying for my digital print subscription from overseas!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:22 p.m.

augustbornLima, Ohio
I wonder how long it took before Beijing blocked the this story? (Being that the story was posted 4:47 am Beijing time.)

I can only hope the rapid influx of money into China fosters an insatiable appetite for the irresistible push toward more Freedoms while the population grips desperately to the few current freedoms.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:21 p.m.

getalifeGA
We call them gse's in our country.

I wonder if they ignore corruption like the American people?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:21 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

CityBumpkinEarthNYT Pick
Americans really are a self-absorbed lot. Reading the comments on this piece, everyone seems to turn the discussion back to America in some way. Every comment seems to begin with some variation of, "Oh yeah? Well, here in America..."

Perhaps this piece is interesting because it shows something about the CCP leadership, which has been low-profile and opaque to the outside world as well as its own people for decades. The information here, and the attention it might generate, may signify changing times in China.

Perhaps this piece is worth paying attention to because China is worth paying attention to, and not merely another mirror for Americans to use to obsess over themselves.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:20 p.m.RECOMMENDED10

99erLos Angeles
"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." Or so Confucius said.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:20 p.m.

FXWFlorida
It is rather strange that a report like that came up at such a sensitive time - right before the Chinese Communist Party 18th congress. Obviously there is a fierce battle going on right now between the Pro-Maoism and the reformists in China.

Premier Wen Jiabao is a reformist who urges a political reform. He wants to do away with China's Maoist past and pushes for a more democratic future. Bo Xilai however, is the leader of the Pro-Maoism and well-known for his Chongqing model that promoted Mao's old value. Bo's wife murdered a British businessman and thought she could get away with it. Wen Jiabao was the one who publicly criticized Bo Xilai. Since Bo was ousted from the political party, his supporters started attacking Wen Jiabao and the new leader Xi Jinping ruthlessly. They spread rumors by using the parent company data for the subsidiary to defame the reformists' families and relatives.

A couple of days ago, some Chinese media overseas revealed that a lot of materials attacking Wen Jiabao have been sent to many foreign media and newspapers. Unfortunately, it was New York Times that was used and manipulated and acted like the Maoists' back-stabbing tool to the reformists. When everything is so "hidden" and the revelation is so massive, how it can be possible for a reporter to THOROUGHLY investigate and verify the story in just a few days?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED8

SCBVirginia USA
I see a lot of comments saying something like "it's just as bad here" or "how is this different from what happened with [INSERT CORPORATE SCANDAL].

Please look at any of the many comments by posters who've lived and worked in China (as I have) if you want to understand the difference. Official corruption pervades every aspect of Chinese life, and nothing can get done without greasing the wheels. Sometimes it is subtle, like how when you need a basic permit, you have to call a friend in the municipal government to move things along, otherwise your application will get 'lost'. Sometimes it's less subtle, like how before you take a trip overseas an official will casually tell you about a type of watch that he hasn't been able to find in China. And sometimes it's blatant, like when you have to leave an envelope with a couple of hundred dollars dollars on the desk of a bureaucrat to make sure your car passes a safety inspection.

It's all well and good to be upset about corruption at home, but saying that 'it's just as bad here' only demonstrates that you really have no idea how bad it is there.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED13

JMMDallas, TX
To SCB, Virginia:
I disagree. It is just as bad here. All of us in the USA are paying our politicians in this country via the purchase price we pay for our goods. For example, from auto manufacturing to the price of gasoline to the price of a Proctor & Gamble bottle of laundry detergent, we are paying for that company's lobbying costs and political donations. We just try to hide it here! They are bribes nevertheless.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:48 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

PhytoistN.j.
Communists=Thugs & Gangsters & in China,they will never let POWER slips out off their reach. With continued territorial claims & disputes elsewhere outside mainland China,they succeed keeping Chinese people's attention diverted while silently pickpocketing wealth & hiding it away in shabby accounts no one can reach.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

pompomHK
Most of the things covered here can be read in many books written in Hong Kong about these princelings' business dealings but publishing via NY Times shows that there's huge political struggle going on within Central authority.

I don't think this is excellent journalism. I wonder who asked the journalist to report this. That should be the news.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

yasuaki toriiJapan
I was born in northern China, and admired Mao Ze-dong's people's army. Then ragtag peasant solider taught me revolution and it's songs(including, international's Chinese version) They were all poor and marginal but high sprite and moral, had human dignity and sympathy to others. They had shared their food rations with me, dispirit Japanese Child. Where are they now? Where had they gone? I am sad, but it is not China but all human common vulnerablity. Though two to three Chinese centuries Chinese history, Chinese people had learned and inherited this to their descendant that not trust others but relatives and friend, and not trust paper-money but jewelry. And thousand years shadow maneuver still rampant in China. Who could exactly explain Why Bo Xilai had fallen? Wen Jiabao know this. He says( quote from this article), Ultimately, history will have the final say.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

3rd time trying to post a comment that i consider on-topic and not abusive, but just a different perspective,Singapore
Oh Come on. As if most other political leaders are not rich.
you see, people do self censorship while they select news to read, you select this kind of news reports because it accommodate your perspective of China. tell me when i am wrong.
I respect Wen, and i trace his news and even studied him in different resources. From his respond to Sichuan earthquakes to many international events, from his political days with Zhao Ziyang to his path to Prime Minister, from his earlier works to how his belief is hindered by interests conflict within the CCP. From how he respond to unfriendly foreigner to his yearly 'online interview by people' sessions, as a Chinese citizen, I respect him as my leader. I don't deny his family been rich, and its due to nepotism. but who is not guilty from nepotism?
for those of you really want to know china? go to China or at least go read some Chinese perspectives that are different from urs.if you just want to hate china? then continue this self censorship, its your right and freedom to do so.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

MomusOut west
How many are 2.7 BILLION rich?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:18 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

hdonutschina
Premier Wen and Vice Chairman Xi ,the most hated enemy of Maoists in china,has been under smear campaign for many years,i wonder how the Maoist got the audacity for trying to brainwash the rest of the world ,soon the Maoists gonna tell us North Korea is paradise .
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

PropertiusShanghai
Sorry to inform you that after the publishing of this article, we cannot enter your website without a VPN. Cersorship and corruption are the biggest problems for us.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

BradNYC
The Chinese really are doing everything bigger and better than we are these days.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

c hollandno california
they're about to do something really big, like a civil war
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:15 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

DavidShanghai
Can't say I'm at all surprised, but at least Wen is not supportive of his relatives' activities (IF that is indeed the case).
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Sally L.NorthEast
Wow, a privileged official makes a boatload of money and his family too? Corruption, greed, power. Where is the big surprise here?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

FreemanNYC
Didn't President Bush and his close allies use his power and influence for personal gain? In line with what the other commentators said; America is just as corrupt as China but in different ways.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED7

RPWJackson
Not even close! No comparison in fact. The FBI would be all over it were it to come anywhere near this here.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:43 p.m.

HowieNJ
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

KINDELANISSAQUAH, WA
Deja vu, the lure of money to buy stuff one doesn't need, but think they do, the power and exhilaration that goes with feeling secure and superior to all one surveys, the sheer might (delusional) attributed to lots of cash, the absolute madness of capitalism that will destroy this planet or any planet. The proof lies in the need for narcotics/drugs, alcohol, pot, sugary junk, caffeine, etc., that addict us and take away reason, health and our future. The Chinese are no different than the rest of us, we get corrupted by cash and what it buys. We've become so base one would think that baseness would translate into seeing what life's about. We seem to deny our close proximity to animals, somehow imagining ourselves beyond the pale of creatures that cannot detach from nature as we have. What went wrong or was it ever right? We live fictions, or do we, or did something, a gene, a toxic substance that got past the blood brain barrier of some who then corrupted those around them and designed something so anti-life, called capitalism. Ayn Rand, a nut case and Ryan an advocate of Mad Rand's ideas, you know, that creature from another planet who happens to be running for public office, along with that odd creature who chose him as his running mate somehow missed the disappearing natural resources that began 20 years ago. Where have they been, where have all of us been? It's time to stop the capitalstic train, and eliminating a false economy before it's too late. It may already be.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.

Crunchy NutLA
Sure this report will arouse such a storm in Beijing. it's getting close to the power transfering stage in China and US, I wonder what NYT really want to approve in such a senstive time. It's not surpeising that there is always corruption in China, due to the one party political system. I really can not imaging how Beijing will reply to this report and how this will effect the relationship between the two countries.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

DaneColorado
It's not just due to the changing of the system. It's systemic.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.

John laPlantePittsburgh
Is this news? Of course it is titillating to hear about the tidy profits made by the leaders relatives but translating political power into money is common in all countries. In some countries, the political powerful just pocket the tax revenues. China seems to be getting more sophisticated. A big part of this article reveals the associations between family members, big companies and other wealthy people. The TImes could make a nice info-graphic of Obama or Romney too showing all the people they have dealings with. That would be a lot more interesting. I can't help thinking that the Times is cynically playing on anti-China sentiment.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.

CityBumpkinEarth
Obama's income is old news, and therefore not "news" at all. This is news because CCP leadership is not known for its transparency. Exposure of party leadership, which was previously opaque and removed from the Chinese public and international media, may be a sign of changing times in China.

Not everything revolves around America. Maybe NYT is running a piece on China because China is worth paying attention to.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:17 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

JMMDallas, TX
There is no anti-China sentiment in these posts - at least not that I have read. Why do you complain and bash the Times? If you don't like the topic of the article just don't read it. Such grumps.
Oct. 27, 2012 at 1:39 a.m.

IaviatorIowa
I don't find this to be much different from our corrupted political system. Our plutocrats are just as diligent in buying favors from our politicians-- our policies in education, foreign affairs, and health care are hugely geared for exploitation by them.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

diogeneseusaIdaho
Is PM Wen a capable man of the people and enlightened leader of more than a billion people or is he a Sergeant Shultz who sees nothing and knows nothing? An ancient and popular Chinese ploy is to act as a simple minded person which apparently many of the Chinese apologists commenting appreciate as if it is a virtue to achieve the highest level of corruption. He can not be both ignorant and capable of leading without being held accountable by reasonably honest people. The long term consequence of condoning such nepotistic avarice and corruption is either revolution or the incitement of war to relieve the political pressures that builds up. Choice your poison apologists of PM Wen.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.

KurtNY
Isn't it amazing how governmental executives across the world all somehow manage to amass such amazing wealth during their tenure? But before we continue to cluck our tongues over Wen Jiabao, we might also want to ask how so many American congresspeople of both parties somehow are millionaires after a lifetime in governmental service drawing official salaries not too much greater than many of their constituents.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

TufanNepal
This is not a surprising at all. No matter what name is given to the system, if the certain politics correspond to a certain mode of production, economic culture of leader is forcefully dragged to the later. What could be amazing and joy to many western its not only their leaders who accumulate wealth, now the eastern countries are on that line. And, this could be a great excuse to wrap up such cases. Though the investigation of the NYT could be questionable.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.

CJNY
I'm going to play the role of an apologist here.

Where in the article does it actually present evidence of corruption? How many jets, yachts, sprawling mansions does the family own? I can answer that for you. Zero. Lavish vacations? None. Does Winston run with a princely entourage and has a binder full of women? No. He has a wife and lives at his father's estate.

Wen's wife and son are exceptionally brilliant businessmen. They have no wealth under their personal name and no means to enjoy the wealth they created. Now they are corrupt because they achieved success from the power of a name. How does that make sense?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Ken C. ArnoldSanta Monica, CA
Who in America is going to blame anyone else from wanting to get rich? Much of this article merely personalizes the abstract nature of wealth creation in China over the last two decades. Special access to the means and methods of aquiring wealth is not a phenomena unique to China. America politicans cozey up to the very wealthy and then access their friendships both during and after office in hopes for creating captial for themselves. The children of popliticans everywhere are given unique oppertunities. The size of the wealth creation by certain Chinese individuals points more to the scale and scope of the overall Chinse boom then anything. Many American's have got very wealthy investing in China too! Don't blame people for wanting to get rich! Someone is going to always get rich during a boom. Now is not the time to tar and feather the Chinese leadership. I think they have done a wonderful job of leading China out of poverty. Ken C. Arnold Santa Monica, CA
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

tiktinUnited States
Barbara Tuchman called it "The March of Folly". The United States has everything to gain and nothing to lose from a friendly relationship with China - and everything to lose from a hostile one. China is not a threat to the United States and there are no conflicting interests. The Chinese are not hostile to the United States but naturally resent the United States being hostile to China (for no reason). So the President of the United States calls China "an adversary", senators make hostile speeches against China, the Defense Department speaks of "the Chinese threat", and the media are full of hate mongering and hostility against China. Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

ChristyChenRui
It is really sad to see this.... although this phenomenon is well known in China and all Chinese can do is to talk about it in person (definitely not on the web) and some take advantages of it. Meanwhile, I am glad and even admire prime minister Wen. If NYT and other sources can find all these detail information but no evidence about Wen's involvement, I want to assume and believe in Wen's integrity.
Yes, it is not surprising at all for the Chinese. Even in a country like America, corruptions are in every aspect of the economy. Yes, there are much more comprehensive and well developed laws to protect and prevent issues like this in America, but having a party like republican would just turn it backward.
Hope one day there will be fair and honest societies all around the world. It needs the efforts from every one of us!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.

John MacgregorPhnom Penh
Lovely reporting - thanks.

Both China & the United States have brought about societies where the 1% wield 99% of the power & wealth. They're roughly as democratic as each other, notwithstanding the present $2bn charade in the latter.

In China the political elite came first - & enriched itself via business concessions to family members. In the US, the corporations came first - thereafter creating a political elite conducive to their interests, via campaign contributions, lobbying, revolving door employment & straight-out bribes.

In both countries a very narrow-spectrum media ensures debate is confined within limits that won't harm elite interests. (No talk of war crimes trials for GW Bush for slaughtering up to a million Iraqi civilians; no Op-Eds on impeaching PM Wen or investigating his family's interests.)

Both countries have court and penal systems dedicated to incarcerating minor offenders in large numbers, whilst allowing kleptocrats on a massive scale (China) and the wreckers of the entire national economy (US) to remain untroubled by the law.

In both cases, crimes are only 'discovered' when a purge is required.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED11

AardmanMpls, MN
It seems that China still suffers from the same malady that has brought down every dynasty that has ruled China --corruption. The communist party being the latest 'dynasty' to exhibit the cancer. Corruption is very hard to stamp out because it is culturally ingrained, borne out of a distorted view of the Confucian value of devotion to family: As long as you are doing it to benefit your family, then thieving, cheating, and scheming is not bad.

For folks who worry about a Chinese century and what that implies about the fate of liberal democracy the world over, perhaps your fears are overstated. Add to the above the observation that practically all of China's political and economic elites are sending their children to Western Europe, North America and Australia to establish legal residency, then you get the impression that even the Chinese leadership doesn't seem to be that confident about China's future.

China has to solve the corruption conundrum or all the progress of the last 35 years could very well be undone. Chinese entrepreneurs where I grew up talk of the '3rd generation hurdle' faced by family businesses. The 3rd generation of a successful family business is the first generation to be born into prosperity and if not properly raised, they turn out fat and lazy and will drive the business into the ground when they take over. If Deng Xiao Ping is the founder of the current dynasty, then that dynasty will soon enter its 3rd generation.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

RGKnorwood
Nothing new. Politicians are class apart and they are their own religion. At least in China, Chinese is amassing such wealth. In India, a foreigner is doing the same. So bottom line is no matter what geographical location , politicians are Corrupt.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

JoeInLALos Angeles
Is anyone shocked - especially in America?
Cronyism rules every major economy! Ask anyone on Wall Street...
The fact that Chinese leadership has succumbed to the same avarice as the USA, Russia, et al. is no surprise to anyone that has read the news for the last 20 years.
Welcome to the big leagues, China!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

PVAZCentral AZ
Who said communism isn't profitable. lol
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

dabModesto, CA
Many people are commenting to the effect "Don't US politicians also try to turn their political connections into wealth?"

There are numerous differences between the US and Chinese systems, however:

1. The magnitude of wealth gained by US politicians is much smaller than what is gained by Chinese politicians. Is Bill Clinton a billionaire, or even a hundred millionaire? (For the record, Bill Clinton's net worth is $80 million, with about $40 million of that from post-presidential speaking fees.)
2. Most US politicians earn a large part of their money before entering politics (e.g., Ross Perot, Steve Forbes, Michael Bloomberg, John Edwards, etc.).
2. The way the money is earned after holding office is much more direct for US politicians: speaking fees, consulting fees, lobbying fees, etc.
3. US politics is infinitely more open than Chinese politics.

The readership of the NYT is politically naive to compare the corruption of China with that of the US. China is far more corrupt.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

SWSan Francisco
Go to any communist country and you'll see an elite upper class that makes the steel barons of 19C America look like paupers. Equality indeed.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

oh wellearth
Shame on NYT for being used as a tool. Wen is one of those who pushes for reform, opening up, and the rule of law. NYT singles out him for an articled titled to tell how corruption is a serious problem among Chinese leaders. Why didn't NYT publish about Wen's conservative enemies in such exquisite details? That 2.7B family business is chicken feed. How come it was so easy for NYT to access all the key sources without being swiftly cut off by Chinese authority? One can only suspect this story, with its perfect timing before the CCP Congress and government change, has been set up by someone far smarter than NYT to weaken Wen's position to choose more open-minded successors.
Some years ago another reform-minded Chinese premier, Zhu Rongji, was in the US looking for support at critical times. He was flatly refused. The conservatives in China seized the opportunity to show how stupid Zhu was trying to making deals with the US. Zhu was politically down and out. The conservatives have since prevailed in China for the decade after, until this very day.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Hipster DufusCarolinas
Can you say "implosion"?
Can you say "inevitable"?
Mr. Rogers would know what to expect of China's inbred centralized control of the Chinese state. More corruption and crime for China for some time to come - until their growing middle class maxes out on possessions and focuses on freedom.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.

MegakidsSingapore
If you can piece them together by referring to all public records, it's not something "hidden". Tell me which country does not have nepotism and human influence in business making. America? Singapore? Grow up. This piece of reporting is NYT's vicious attempt to attack China while the country is preparing for the next decade's leadership handover. The motive is highly questionable. I read all these accolades on how great this reporting is. I give a 5 stars aw well. But the timing chosen is "below the belt". Shame on you, NYT.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.

James J. ConnollyWaterford, ConnecticutNYT Pick
Modern China looks a lot like a corrupt banana republic. The Chinese people see that a mere 60 years after their Revolution, the rich and well connected "Communists" have used the apparatuses of party and state to enrich and entrench themselves as outrageously as Chiang Kai-shek and the warlords who preceded them. Wen Jiabao a Populist? More of a classic robber baron! These Chinese plutocrats herd their people into slave-like conditions in giant sweatshops and sell their labor to foreign companies like Apple.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:12 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

jeffmontreal
The Chinese Communist Party is a gangster regime that has murdered 80 million of its own people and is now attempting the genocide of tens of millions of innocent Falun Gong practitioners by the use of torture, slavery, organ harvesting and murder.The Western World should not be doing business with these monsters yet continues to do business as usual because of corporate greed. Thank you for your consideration.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

keefie.co
the boss class of China is a bunch of crooks. I'm sorry for the chinese.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.

Eric ChangPalo Alto
But in China everyone has $2.7B USD, right? Long live socialism with Chinese characteristics!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.

Prema VenkataramanMurrysville, PA
This is the crony capitalism's template all over Asia, including India, where an invisible man holds enormous control in businesses. I South Asia they even have a name for it: "Benami" ownership.

Everybody there knows that this goes on routinely among politicians. They will say in Hindi (and in other language versions), "Ssaala, woh sab khata hai." It is difficult to translate "Ssaala." The rest means, "They (the politicians) all [illegally] gorge [the nation's wealth]."

Kollengode S Venkataraman
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

bar421NYC
Excellent! Now I'd like to see the same analysis of Mr. Putin's fortune which, I have not doubt, will far exceed that of his Chinese counterpart.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

BlacksmithBoston, Massachusetts
I wonder if Mr. Wen will start ranting about the "lame stream" media after he reads this outstanding piece journalism?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.

Eliot W. CollinsRaritan Borough, NJ
I think of Communism as the workers controlling the means of production. That is not what they have in China. It is more like "State Capitalism", with either Wen Jiabao and / or Hu Jintao as President and CEO. The whole country is run like a giant corporation, with the PSC as the Board of Directors. In addition, China will soon become the greatest contributor to man-made climate change.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.

DasShrubberDetroit, MI
To quote George Orwell's Animal Farm

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.

JohnVancouver
Thank you NYT's for articulating what we already know and long suspect, that it is a corrupt regime is common knowledge. China is a falsehood and it's premise clouded with massive corruption and exploited human capital. Sad given their veneer of a state. Inside deals, state theft and outright brazen manipulation of power at the inner core rules the day. A long journey instantly corrupted by what they long denounced.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.

James CalvertLondon
Communism is certainly a very effective mechanism for personal enrichment, even if it has to be done in secret.

Congratulations to the New York Times on this excellent journalism. No doubt the worldwide expatriate Chinese community is reading it with great interest. Even though the Chinese authorities have blocked the Times website it will be impossible to stop this information reaching everyone in China.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.

RainSingapore
Anyway, Wenjia Bao is a good premier, he doesn't like his relative to use his name to do business and he himself is concentrated on his job of serving for the country. An official's relatives can't run a business? Of course they can, they are also citizens of China, they have their rights to do business legally.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.

Martin RoscheisenSan Francisco
There's no piece of information in this article that has not been known for years. Why again is the NY Times publishing this now -- timed with his leaving office?

Perhaps it still comes as a surprise to some here that many Chinese are highly entrepreneurial.

And what is exactly the difference between dealings of Wen's relatives and Chelsea Clinton being appointed to the board of directors of Nasdaq:IACI as her first real job?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

hdonutschina
desperate Maoists are libeling people with corruption again,this is Kaiten attack by the most power abusive political group on this planet , how come the Khmer rouge and North Korea Kim have't tried this ,drastic measure but funny ,looks like all the Chinese Malala have been shot already,
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.

OPSharmaGurgaon
All over the world the politicians are more corrupt than before. One it has to explode and that will be the end of democracy because democracy has been infilterated by corrupt people.And it is more in authorotarian ruled countries,like in Arab world and China.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.

MikeNYC
$2.7 bil. That's a lot of iPhones.

(All produced by slave-like labor, for coolie wages.)
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Isaac MihaeliGlen Cove, NY
Well said, we "finance" the corrupt autocracy of China and enrich them with Corporate greed like Apple, HP, Dell ,etc.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:51 p.m.

D DoucetteVancouver, BC
"...out from the door of the farmhouse came a long file of pigs, all walking on their hind legs...out came Napoleon himself, majestically upright, casting haughty glances from side to side, and with his dogs gambolling round him.

He carried a whip in his trotter.

There was a deadly silence. Amazed, terrified, huddling together, the animals watched the long line of pigs march slowly round the yard. It was as though the world had turned upside-down. Then there came a moment when the first shock had worn off and when, in spite of everything-in spite of their terror of the dogs, and of the habit, developed through long years, of never complaining, never criticising, no matter what happened-they might have uttered some word of protest. But just at that moment, as though at a signal, all the sheep burst out into a tremendous bleating of-

"Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better!"

It went on for five minutes without stopping. And by the time the sheep had quieted down, the chance to utter any protest had passed, for the pigs had marched back into the farmhouse."

― George Orwell, Animal Farm
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

TeshNew York
Hypocrisy in its ultimate form - Communism is for the peasants under them, but Capitalism in its most rapacious form for the leaders! And they jail and execute lower level government officials who accept bribes or those not in the good books of the leadership.

Why do we still engage in dialog with them? Take a stance, form partnerships with other progressive nations, and slowly marginalize China - the rest of the world should not forget the slaughter and sacrifices at Tienanmen Square - we Americans have been shipping more work and our national sovereignty to them by the day!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

dmb0602Peoria, IL
All this artical says to me is China's leader has lead the American Dream of Rages to Riches!!!!!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Edward SevumeStockholm
Politics has always been a way of accumulating riches in many countries.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

ManGoSingapore
looks like Bo Xi Lai is hitting back ..... now the war is ON ..... the point is if these people who got the contract and actually delivered, then how ? BTW which political elites incl the American, British, French, German, Saudi, Israelis have not done exactly the same ????? please tell us something new .....
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

mdfnyc
Getting someone in China to manufacture something for you is one thing, but if you're going to even think about selling anything to the Chinese people, you would be a fool to even try do so without an 'in' with the Party. Did anyone think they do this for free? Other than a few zeros, how is this any different than George W. Bush and the Texas Rangers?

Winston Wen, however, seems to be somewhat unfairly maligned. Beijing Institute of Technology is no slouch school, nor is Kellogg. With that background, and coming off three exits, with uniquely deep knowledge of Chinese markets, investors would be throwing money at him regardless of his family connections, and access to capital creates opportunity there, here, and everywhere.

While the American pluto-politico-industrial complex is as cronyistic in it its own way, somewhere, in the depths of Arkansas, Roger Clinton cried a little bit into his beer reading this story.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

JoeKetchum Idaho
Someone is surprised that China is a hugely corrupt mafia state?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

AnneO.
@bong1288 And once they have the proof, they'll be followed and harassed by secret police, or put in house arrest, or put in jail for "subversion". It never gets reported. So which of the 9 propaganda, oh I'm sorry, "cultural promotion", ministries do you work for?

Funny how so far most Chinese comments say this is old news, and then we one agitated enough to declare fascist martial law.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.

Doc WhoSan Diego
I thought Mr. Wen was supposed to be a Communist, but he is just another Capitalist Plutocrat Gutter Dog. What a massive betrayal.

Lenin is spinning in his grave.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

ckwanchina
As a PRC, i feel really disappointed when i first read this news and i noticed that this website is blocked in china after this article published.
Many Chinese know that chinese government has plenty "black files".But we dont care that too much. because we knew the corruption is a common issue inside the chinese government. sometimes, we get really angry about these things, but we cant do anything to change. they are the guys who taking the power. therefore, the only thing we can do is to wish, to pray, to hope it can improve in the future. at the same time, the chinese need to improve themselves as well. however,we cant say the government is 100% bad. although, the government has a lot of problem but it doesnt mean we can ignore that this nation is progressing, she is heading to a better way. for example, before the party took the office, the average lifespan of chinese is something around 40. and after several decades this number has risen to around 80. it shows the government is really doing something, Although it hurts them sometimes. look at the urbanization, the increasing in personal income and so on. it may not be good enough but at less it's a progression.
make the long story short, all i want to say is that when the whole world is looking at china, please be tolerant, give her the chances to make mistake and give her the chances to correct it. thank u for the reading.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

CyrusNYC
No doubt things in China are better now than in the past and will continue to get better. But even without the Communist Party, life expectancy, per capita incomes and much else would certainly have improved, just as they have in virtually every developing country. China has always been a great civilization.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.

Little PandaCelestial Heaven
Adding to your comment: corruption is a common issue not only among the Chinese officials but in most countries of the world including (or especially) in the U.S. It's the pot calling the kettle black.
Anyway, thanks to share your opinion because as an ordinary citizen it shuns from the usual ideological harangue from the most commentators here.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:26 p.m.

tom from jerseyjersey, the land of sea breezes, graft and no self serve gas
"I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here."
"Your winnings, sir"

...........(yawn).................
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

NancyCorinth, KY
Golly. The leader of a major nation that claims to be founded on "the people," with a massive, hidden fortune accumulated thru cronyism and political influence.

How can they stand it?

Oh wait...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.

RJPhiladelphia
Wow the news cycle is way too fast. It has been less than 24 hours and this article is no longer the top story? It's a shame since this is the best reporting the Times has done in years.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Milree KeelingLunenburg, MA
Kings and dynasties, the feudalism of the 21st century. And it looks so modern!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.

DD01NY
I was so impressed by his shows on TV and sometimes even touched. Now I understand that a great liar will never think that he is telling you a lie, probably Wen himself would be moved by whatever he said. This is the exact basic skill that Chinese leader has to have---to be a big liar, but believes that he or she is the most honest people in the world.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Fullpaperjacketnowhere
Well, in China Wen is called the Best Actor. Now NYT explains it.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

HausdorffMO
Pay attention to those companies and industries mentioned here and keep track of your thoughts when next time you read about a news saying that a Chinese company is a spy. A great article more than teasing a prime minister in the right place at the right time. BYW, it's not "new" at all.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.

CCCalifornia
And who i s surprised by this? Though. Congrats to the NYT for digging up the facts. State-owned enterprises, hah!

As I've been reading - in the NYT - all about all the high schools and colleges seeking full pay Chinese students, I just wonder *where* exactly those institutions think the money is coming from.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.

erbSeattle
By my math, that's about $2 per broken back of every man, woman, and child in China. The phrase, "How does this guy sleep at night?" has never held greater poignant sorrow.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

kingacresarpiy, california
Gee, I guess Communism really must be dead.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.

Veteran Ex-expatMidwest
Great job NYT!! Unfortunately, your've now joined the list of the Chinese blacklist of e-censorship. There should be awards for you guys. I wonder, what's next? Pull the plug on the entire inet? The way this is heading, they'll need to pull the plug on electricity, and start handing out candles to Chinese citizens.

I lived there for 10 years. Not surprised by any of this. Just imagine all the info that can be dug about all the top 50 officials? If I were them, I'd start shredding all evidence available, and preparing those candles...RIGHT NOW!!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Lee G.Mercer Island, WA
There goes the leader of one BRIC country. Did anyone notice in Forbes how a former Brazilian Union Leader/Factory worker is now worth $2 billion, USD? In two short years since relinquishing Brazilian presidency? Giving speeches?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

JBK007Boston, MA
I imagine this explains why most of the houses on my block have been bought up by (connected) Chinese families....
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:28 p.m.

LanceDalTexas
The funny thing is that Chinese are not surprised about this. Top officials in any communist regime are known to be corrupt, hence rich. I would love to see an article on Vietnamese or Russian leaders.

A retired general I met in one of those communist country once told me: "prepare to pay up if you want to do business here". To my surprised, he continued: "even me, who know the prime minister well, still have to pay his people to get thing done". Every time he went to the capital asking for something, he brought with him 20, yes, 20 envelops to cover the entire rank.

There is a rule in those communist countries. The 20% rule. Guys like Wen Jiabao, would ask for 20% in the company holding, putting under the name of one of his relative. My company was once asked to "contribute" $600K on a $3M project. Exactly 20%.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:21 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

JoeInLALos Angeles
Perhaps a study of the wealth changes among members of the US Congress is a better place to start.
Oh, wait, there have been many on how our elected officials can consistently beat the best money managers by an average of 12% per year.
Hmm. Perhaps the US cannot throw so many stones.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

PhytoistN.j.
Vow,Wen Jiabao as Chinese Premier out smarted now Pakistani President who once was famous as Mr.10% while his wife Mrs.Bhutto was Premier in past. Corruption rewards corrupts,no exceptions anywhere in this world.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:17 p.m.

Larry FinkLA
Wen is No. 1 in corruption in the world! $2.7b!
Oct. 27, 2012 at 3:59 a.m.

i dont see why my reply is irrelevant and should be censored.singapore
Oh Come on.
As if most other political leaders are not rich...

you see, people do self censorship while they select news to read, you select this kind of news reports because it accommodate your perspective of China. tell me when i am wrong.

I never met Wen personally, but i trace his news and even studied him in different resources. From his respond to Sichuan earthquakes to many international events, from his political days with Zhao Ziyang to his path to Prime Minister, from his earlier works to how his belief is hindered by interests conflict within the CCP.
From how he respond to unfriendly foreigner to his yearly 'online interview by people' sessions, I respect him. I don't deny his family been rich, and its due to nepotism. but who is not guilty from nepotism?

you see, this article quote him saying "ultimately, history will have the final say." if u r a person who knows nothing about Chinese culture, you will never be able to feel the emotional intensity of this quote.

so,
if you really want to know china? go to China or at least go read some Chinese perspectives.
if you just want to hate china? then continue this self censorship, its your right and freedom to do so.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:15 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

SCBVirginia USA
Self censorship would be failing to report this news. Do you think that they are going to report that the friends and relatives of China's second most powerful man have all became fabulously wealthy during his rise to power? If you're not sure about the answer, check to see if the NYTimes is still accessible in Mainland China today.

This news is relevant, especially in a country known to be hamstrung by pervasive corruption and rent seeking among its rulers. And it's ordinary Chinese people who suffer for this corruption. The CCP would have you believe that they care about fighting corruption, but the only way that this behavior will change is by shining a harsh, unflattering light on it.

Reporting unflattering facts about China's rulers is not 'hating China', but if you only want to read flattering portrayals of the Wen, Hu and other top leaders, by all means stick to the Xinhua. More accountability for China's leaders will redound to the benefit of the common Chinese people, censorship will only help the rich to get richer from their corruption.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.

RobwLi Ny
Actually, from what i see (from your name) it's worth pointing out that i can read you here in new york, only china (the government) is censoring *you* by blocking this site.

Also, this article doesn't express hate for china, only their leader, and it's not really hate so much as criticism. Just for the record, i've seen articles on this same site that criticize our leaders just as much, yes here in the u.s..
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:50 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

RamMontgomery, NJ
Great work, NYT! Although this kind of collateral damage could be attributed to fallout from the Bo affair, it still takes NYT to investigate, validate, and importantly, publish. And, of course, the vested parties in China will blame "western bias" - much like the oft-claimed "liberal bias". So be it then.

Now, will you please go after Indian graft n high places? I can assure you it will many times more putrid than any Chinese affair which is just loose change.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:03 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Ralph P.New York
A-ma-zing! Wow. I can only imagine the work that went into writing this expose. Bravo to the NYT. Pulitzers all around.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

MarianneJohannesburg, South Africa
No wonder Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, and his cabinet, are such good friends with Wen and his!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.

Steven PlummerSichuan, China
hahaha - They have cut access to the New York Times here in China. The only way to get to the story is by VPN!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

RobwLi Ny
I wonder if they've considered blocking access to the new york times site forever? Because every article posted on this site, to my knowledge, is archived online forever (or until they go out of business, whichever comes first).
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:48 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

LeongSeremban
and "zi you men", free gate
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:48 p.m.

AnneO.
Quick billionaire handbook for "communist" officials and family. Create corporation that provides 'x'. Decree a law that requires 'x'. Watch the money roll in. And no one can do a darn thing about it since they are the supreme authority that answers to no one, least of all, the people too busy trashing japanese made cars to notice.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.

JuliaPengNJ,the U.S.
Stupid New York Times.
Most of men will become corrupt when the opportunity of corruption comes without any cost and penalty either in law or in morality.
Responsibility comes with free will. If Wen had created this unjust system even jointly, he would be guilty of the charge. Only benefiting from an unjust system involves less free choice and thus less responsibility.

More importantly, as far as I experience, under Minister Wen's ruling the Chinese people enjoyed more freedom of speech, especially in those social networking sites such as weibo (like twitter) than ever before and probably than the near future, which has brought profound changes to China's society.
My account in weibo had been shut down for last two months, probably in accordance with the time of Wen's losing power in the wake of the leadership transition.

He is one of the most enlightened Chinese leaders, regarding to their feeling of the need to reform China's social and political structures, with an aim to bring a better and more just society.
Of course how far those enlightened Chinese leaders can go in political reform is questionable. But sometimes a man who cares about his family can at the same time feel a genuine sympathy towards the common people who suffer. He may not care as much as his relatives care about those material goods. He may care more about his political legacy and reputation. But his choice is limited.

His political enemies probably helped the author to prepare this article.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:59 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

SCBVirginia USA
The real problem here is that China's entire system is designed to hide this corruption and correct the corrupt. Mr. Wen may be more liberal than the likes of Li Pen or Zhou Yongkang, but I've seen nothing that indicates that anybody within the CCP is serious about reform.

The idea that Mr. Wen is a supposed reformer makes this article even more timely and essentially. Everybody knew that Bo Xilai, for example, was a viscious opportunist, but Mr. Wen had convinced many that he was an upright man who sought to fix the system. But even this supposed reformer hugely benefited from a system that enriches its privileged few and assiduously protects them from public scrutiny.

In the end, it appears that Mr. Wen is not half the reformer he seemed - while he publicly maintained an upright facade, behind closed doors he was just as busy lining his pockets as every other amoral member of the extortion ring called the Chinese Communist Party.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Mani the parakeetLittle India, Singapore
"His political enemies probably helped the author to prepare this article."

I suspect you are right Julia.

Wen is considered by many as one of the leading reformer in China and together with President Hu Jin Tao had never visited Bo Xi Lai when he was the top dog in Chongqing.

And this article was published less than 24 hours before Bo Xi Lai was officially expelled from the Chinese parliament. Co-incidence?

Something smell fishy and I am not near the market. I just hope the NYT is not being used as a pawn in the political struggles in China.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:16 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

workerbeeMaryland
What I don't understand is why everyone finds this surprising. I'm not an expert on Chinese history, but I believe China has had a long history of interplay between meritocracy and autocracy. You always had the relatives of the emperor who were wealthy and powerful due to birthright, but you also had intelligent, savvy people who could test their way via exams up to the very top. Once you're in the system, then it's a even game of alliances, partnerships, leagues, factions, interest groups, etc--something not all that different from US politics. Families that started poor could become wealthy and powerful due to the right connections and actions in government. The only difference today is that the job of 'emperor' itself is up for grabs every 10 years. Commensurate with this fact is that the stakes are way higher in China--ie, you can win and be worth billions a la Wen Jiabao, or you can end up like Bo Xilai. (As an aside, imagine if in Obama v Romney the loser had to forfeit all personal wealth and go to prison for the rest of his life -- I'm sure that would make for MUCH more spectacular presidential debates!!) Personally, I don't find anything wrong with trying to enrich and empower your family while you're at the top. Didn't the Kennedy's? The Vanderbilts? The Rockefeller's? (And those are just the ones I learned in 11th grade American history class).
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Gabriel ButlerHarbin, Heilongjiang, China
The New York Times is now inaccessible without a VPN here...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:55 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Further 2 FlyShanghai, PRC
It's just as bad in the Western democracies. This is not a report on communism or corruption, it's a report on human nature;.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:55 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

Matt NgNew York, NY
Have to agree with the comments, why the shock and outrage? Not to excuse the abuse of power but is China really the only country in the world where this happens?

Look at Richard Nixon, how did he acquire such wealth as a public employee, even outside income from books or speaking fees?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

MarcusNew York, NY
The article is full of claims that is suggestive but really does not make much sense "Late one evening early this year, the prime minister's only son, Wen Yunsong, was in the cigar lounge at Xiu, an upscale bar and lounge at the Park Hyatt in Beijing. He was having cocktails as Beijing's nouveau riche gathered around, clutching designer bags and wearing expensive business suits" what does that suppose to suggest?The son of the Prime Minister can't go to a nice bar in Park Hyatt hotel where everyone goes to? I'm sure the Kennedys live a fair life too, date some singers, go to some nice bars or pull some strings every so often. And I'm sure there are a lot of nouveau riches indulging in Avenue. I'm sure Bill Clinton helped Hilary to get her job. The article is informative but lacks an opinion, and is not thinking critically at all. The whole purpose of the article seems like, "Americans, just read this article and act surprised and we will feel better about ourselves afterwards." I can't take it seriously and can't help to feel its another political campaign to make Americans to feel better about their broken system.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:55 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Allen CraigSFO-BOG
So what? Why is this news in any way? So his family are aggressive and smart investors. What's the big deal?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

RobwLi Ny
Did you read the part where it said something to the effect of al stock trades go through him, so he gets all the insider trading information?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

MMaurinSeattle
Wow. If it wasn't for nepotism China's economy would be stagnant.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Richard LuettgenNew Jersey
It should be interesting, now that the news is out, to see how many major newspapers get hacked by the Chinese, just to find the naughty people who may have leaked all this.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

vpManhattan
I wonder how many of the commenters on this article are coming from Mr. Wen's circle. I love how they try to spin this remarkable piece of investigation as something usual in any country including US. Well, keep doing that until the day that Chinese people will say enough is enough.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

mfordATL
$Billions is a lot! Like many other things, the Chinese do corruption on a massive scale, but come on, we're talking about politics, right? Corruption is definitely, obviously inherent in the game where government, industry, and commerce intertwine, no matter what system you live under. American politicians leave office for ultra-plush jobs on K St., and while in office---and for years after---they steer government contracts and policy toward friends and families, effectively steering national resources to their own pockets. That's what it is. We all know it. And that's why common folks (no matter what system they live under) pillage and burn the palaces every couple hundred years, give or take.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

HalLA, CA
The timing of this article sounds like a retailiation from Bao Xilai, probably orchestrated by his son Bo Guaiguai, at the time when the prosecution of Bao xilai is to be announced
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

nwkoregon
local boy does good. [sigh] great reporting, however.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:49 p.m.

m.latemNJ
To NYT,

Please can you do similar investigations in my country of birth - India. You will find many low hanging fruits. A large section of India's media is hand-in-glove with the oligarchs so Indians do not expect much from them. In last decade these oligarchs have become filthy rich selling public property - mines, spectrum and rights and they carry on shamelessly while half the country lives in dire poverty.

Any exposure would help more than a billion people of India get a bit of justice.

Thanks in advance,
ml
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:49 p.m.RECOMMENDED10

PkMalaysia
A very interesting article which raises the need for a similar investigative report. on the Indian political leadership and the abuses which are frequently reported upon by the Indian media. The recent adverse reports on mr. Singh's premiership brought some reaction from the Indian government. Indians pay more attention to reports from western sources. Indian democracy needs timely help with independent and verifiable reports on corruption and abuses by the political leadership and consequently the people of india can choose the best and honest among on offer.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

AmateurHistorianNYC
I think it is right for China to block access to NYTimes' web portal. In a heated election season in the US and power transfer season in China it is quite irresponsible for NYTimes to publish a poorly researched article.

I read through this article and cannot identify one single piece of solid evidence of corruption even though the headline suggested such. Most of the "investigation" was done by Times and offers no insight on methodology nor source. Contrast this with U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's investigation on Armstrong with all the records, evidences and testimonies it is clear this is nothing more than a smear reporting.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

MarkoNew York
Tosten: it's fascinating. This is the big theory in the Acemoglu and Robinson book, "Why Nations Fail," playing out. The question you have as to will they ever feel comfortable enough, is answered in a complicated way in there. Per Acemoglu and Robinson, it requires that events move so that these elite CANNOT feel comfortable nor safely hold onto power by being so exclusive and having the political institutions remain so "extractive." The institutions might then become more "inclusive" because those folks will be forced, one way or another, to relinquish power. But then what takes its place. In any case, It does feel like China just cannot sustain this growth without seismic change. I am thinking of it because I only just read that part of the book last night (somewhere around page 400) and then this story this morning. Wow.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Roch McDowellNew York City
Every culture has it's winners and it's bag men. From our recent past....look at Cheney, Halliburton and Blackwater (now called Xi)...in plain site.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED9

RichardWinston-Salem NC
Crooks.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

RickyatshShanghai
This is a great artice/investigation! this is the way that USA can help Chinese! the way of criticizing China's democracy or human right does not work at all.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

RDA in ArmonkNY
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." - Lord Acton

A country that has corruption built into its system can never reach a fraction of its full potential. How great could Mexico be if only ...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

Neator J P GuimaraesSalvador-Brazil
Search & knowledge about real Modern China.
Prime Minister Jiabao the "CORRUPTION TYCOON". If this is really true, the China's Communism is nothing but a big fake.
Social Democracy shall overcome someday. Neither capitalism nor old fashioned communism. Keynes' WELFARE STATE seems to be the solution.
Neator J P Guimaraes
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

bburrDenmark
Dictatorship of the Proletariet...yeah right. It stinks!! Criminal abuse of trust.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

BDLanePhnom Penh
Here we have the NYT releasing a low-hanging fruit story that it excitedly acknowledges will damage the political standing of one of the people who has tried do something about corruption at the highest levels of the party. Is this journalistic integrity, or is it simply lust after a scoop which will inevitably make investigation into more serious cases well-nigh impossible?

A good journalist knows that the most that can ever be presented is a small corner of the truth . A good journalist also knows that the manner in which that small corner of truth is presented can have far reaching consequences. Even in a market such a madly market driven world such as our own, it is reasonable to expect some modicum of accountability from the Fourth Estate.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.

CaliCalifornia
Shame that this article got the NYT blocked in China, since I'm planning on going there this winter. Knowing how the system works, it'll probably be several years before the Times is easily accessible again in China.

Now how am I going to spend my time online in China?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Mani the parakeetLittle India, Singapore
Haha...same thought here Cali.

I visit China a few times a year and I was always happy to be able to read the NYT online there. My other favourite news website, BBC News had been blocked for years.

With this blockage of the NYT, I might have to read CNN instead. *sigh*
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:16 p.m.

TrenderBeijing
I suspect, there was a setback with the new New York Times' Chinese-language Web site, which was supposed to be drawing especially on China's booming luxury industry for revenue and this paper had to switch back to pleasing the China-bashing crowd at home.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.

myopnionLA
first, this is not your US business. OK. pure chinese business.

Wen deserves this small amout of $ compared to huge contribution in his tenure. your american will laugh, but think about it. your CEO can make billions for his role, why we can not award to our leader. here we have huge culture differences. we are will pay these leader this money exchange for their peaceful step-down and their hard works. It is not written contract, but this is our chinese way, our tradition our culture. can american people do anything to those wall street greedy animals? can you stop them?

In fact ,it is better Wen is paid more, this means the economic is better. so for the next leader, his benifits will be double , if he does good job. we do not have problem, you should not too, after all, as I said, it is not your business.

of course, if a war happened everything will be gone. so you understand it now, chinese leader do not want a war. in another word, the money paid here also contribute to the peace of this world.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

CyrusNYC
If it's better for Chinese politicians to be paid billions, why not do so openly?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:29 p.m.

otis rushmiddleearth
It is pointless to pin down questionable dealings in other countries, least to say in China and other like countries (e.g. Russia)... Every man and his dog knows that those countries are riddled with nepotism, kickbacks and other shady dealings... Can it be changed? Fat chance... Is this going to stop anyone from dealing with such countries? I bet the answer is clear as at the end of the day profit and wealth drive it all... Overall interesting article, but leaves the well familiar feeling as though you saw something forbidden/unaccessible...
Overall feeling about the uncovered truth?... Pathetic state of affairs in the kingdom of China...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

K ElderShanghai
Wow! This is huge. You might be interested to know that I can only read this here in Shanghai by using a VPN. The NYT site is blocked -- pretty unusual. Yet the story is already out and about here. The only Chinese person I've yet spoken to this morning says her daughter told her last night -- but even she was shocked by the amount of money.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED12

DonUSA
Big governments take away a lot more than freedom from their citizens.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.

kmow24Iowa
What I find interesting about this article is 1) an actual calculated figure of 2.7 billions was researched out and published in the NYT 2) actual whereabouts of the investments were made.... other than these two points, big deal! How will this change China or it's government or whatever the point was to publish this? This does not come to any surprise to any person from China or has even lived in China for more than 3 years. Other than these two points, everything else written is completely common knowledge to 99% of the entire Chinese population.

The milk company Mengniu, which is sold at every corner store and supermarket in China was established by the son of a higher up government official. Everyone knows this! The list goes on and on. What point is NYT trying to make here? China is different than America?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

teapartyNew Deli
you know too much (all you said is true). lol.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:48 p.m.

S ManningUK
The difference is access to information ... ?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:48 p.m.

BillRhode Island
All animals are equal. Some are more equal then others.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED7

John DonovanAustin
As an ethically challenged Mexican politician once said, "A politician who is not rich is a poor politician."
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

S DasUK
Excellent article and well worth reading.Poor Bo.

It would do a world of good if the NYT did a similar article on the Indian political elite.No Indian newspaper has the courage,professionalism or credibility to do an indepth,well researched expose the way NYT does.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

ChinaStyleChina
it is the politics of China style.
Bo and Wen all are not a good guy.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

JimBobCalifornia
This is all very interesting, but I'd be happier if the New York Times spent its energy trying to get inside Mitt Romney's tax returns and showing the true "broken economics" model that his businesses took advantage of. As Mr. Obama says, let's do some nation-building here at home.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED7

ALHong Kong
Most NYT articles about China have a long list of researchers, fixers. Interestingly, not the case this time.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

Raging BullGreenwich, CT - London
Insightful article - A good piece of reporting and investigative journalism. Imagine what we don't know about other Chinese leaders finances?.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Kevin BitzReading, PA
Gee...just like our House and Senate. Serve and get rich...and the heck with the people you govern.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

TPWPak Chong, Thailand
As an American who has lived in Asia for 30 years and worked closely with many governments (including PRC), I find this article inane and insulting. What is it you thought would be the case? How does it further relationships for you to be 'telling all' like some know-it-all, as if you DID know it all; you who pick up some facts from here and there. What ARE people? Do YOU know? Why don't you go back to your borough where things are much simpler than in the real world, and there's no need to be heaping a 'new ethic' on the world at large. We'll all be dead and gone before it happens. Good luck in your endeavor to change human nature.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED2
READ ALL 4 REPLIES

MomusOut west
Can't tell if this is a serious post or a joke.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:43 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

JackIllinois
In America at one time in was the nature to keep slaves.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:43 p.m.

ask57Puerto Rico
With your logic, we should tolerate any wrong no matter how despicable because it is human nature. Where would you draw the line: rape, murder, incest? Why don't we let the bullies run free, forget about Holocaust, applaud ethnic cleansing and all the rest in our endeavor to appeal to the WORST in the human nature? Or is this who you have become?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:44 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

DonkeyLogicUK
Congratulations to NYT for breaking this... despite news blockage by China, I am fairly confident that millions of Chinese youth have the capacity to get the article.
Well done.

This is not something you would ever get from Rupert Murdoch's newspapers and media outlets - Murdoch and all his gang are virtual puppets of the Chinese and sold their souls to corrupted Chinese officials, a decade ago.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

ChinaXpatChina
This article deserves a Pulitzer! I have no idea how David Barboza got access to this information, but this sheds a lot of light on the Hu-Wen administration.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

JohnCanada
Why such a concern with China. Is this the family
who owns the USA debt? Not a lead story NYT.
Like you own government, focus on your own country.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

TournachonadarChicago
Their real crime or sin, if you will, is to be Chinese and enjoy fabulous wealth. If these were Western people of the United States or Europe, we'd be applauding them for their acumen.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

TedBAtlanta
Um, no. Crony capitalism is not particularly well-regarded in the west.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:43 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Edward SevumeStockholm
Well that sounds almost like as if it was in Europe, I am sorry, Eastern Europe!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.

RobertShanghai
This is the same newspaper that brought us
the dubious journalism around Foxcomm. How
much can we believe this time?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.

PhytoistN.j.
No,be an avid reader & you will know it. While NYT is BRAVO 99ers,FOXCOM is foxy 1%ers,like Chinese Premier who is blocking Chinese-English web sight as world is watching him & learning about his corrupt family webs.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:15 p.m.

JDNY
China could openly admit to its citizens what the rest of the world already knows and that is China has no territorial claims at all to the Senkaku Islands, Spratly Islands, etc. All you have to do is look at China's history and see where they have stolen complete countries like Tibet as an example. It is completely and utterly laughable that China whom tries to look like the good school child is trying to bully so many other countries to steal territory from them. In the end the last laugh will be on China for the naughty school child will be spanked!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

JackIllinois
In the meanwhile, the Chinese have nearly destroyed their relationship with their largest trade partner, Japan. Your contention that China is behaving like a spoiled child can apply to this situation I believe. To me, this action by China against Japan will not have good consequences. The rest of the world will begin to view China as an unreliable partner and this will affect investments.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.

BrentJatkoHouston, TX
Don't you mean to say that the last laugh will be on us, because China will be the one getting spanked?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.

Bepi MottesRatingen
I have many friends in China who have made fortunes. They are not relatives of anybody important, but with an economy that trippled, a guy with an ear to the ground can pick a lot of winners. Do we try to prove that the families of western leaders do not profit from their connections? Name one and for sure he must be hating to make money. Could Mr. Wen stop the relatives taking advantage of their connections? Considering to divorce the greedy wife must prove something.
You can choose your friends, but ....
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Don P.Perth Amboy, NJ
Mr. Wen is nothing more than a modern day Chinese Emperor, a few of his royal court family live in riches and while more than a billion of his subjects in poverty!

Sadly, Mr. Wen's level of corruption and deceit of the Chinese people is no surprise.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

michaelHong Kong
Why does everyone have to comment along the lines of "yeah, but it's just as bad in the USA." This has nothing to do with the USA. Get over yourself. China is a one-party state with no public discourse. Appreciate what you have.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED6

bornorangeupstate, NY
Investigative reporting at the NYT?

We have the biggest coverup scandal in this country's history and they investigate China's leader's relataives?

Journalism is truly dead.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

PeterNew Haven
Huh? This is exactly what journalism is: exposing unknown corruption or, at the very least, vast nepotism in a country where equality has long been the poltical slogan and where billionaires were an unknown thing a mere 30 years ago? Would you prefer something like "omigod! Obama said 'terrorism' can you believe it! he must an african socialist!"? If so, please spend your energies on Faux News.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.

ask57Puerto Rico
And what is the biggest coverup scandal? Do tell!!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:48 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

BrentJatkoHouston, TX
To what scandal are you referring?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:49 p.m.

juan alvarezmallorca
"And from the time that the continual burnt-offering shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand and two hundred and ninety days."
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

YakamiNew Deli
I am astonished to read this news. The firece plotical battle may come to a real end now.

It has always been said that Wen and his familie hold large sum of wealth. Of course, every Chinese leader do this.

Since Deng Xiaoping's son became the leader of Disabled Asscioation of China and Zhao Ziyang lost his power due to economic actions of his son, Chinese leaders have tried their best to hide their wealthy.

The two big group in China, the Jiang Zemin Group and the Hu Jintao Group, difinetely fight against each other hard.

The economic problems of Wen are just a reflection of the battle between Jiang and Hu.

We should wait to watch what will happen.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Loyd EskildsonPhoenix
Verified
Clearly corruption is a major issue in China. On the other hand, it is also a major issue in the U.S. - simply taking another form, via campaign donations, etc.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:49 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Peter O'MalleyOakland, New Jeresy
What a surprise! All to the benefit of the proletariat, of course (or do they even bothe with such quaint ideas in China these days?). One is instantly reminded of "Animal Farm', and how "some are more equal than others."
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

AndrewChina
Are there virtually any difference of one country's leaders that are using their political power to accumulate wealth from another country's leaders that are using their financial power to gain political benefits and in turn to accumulate their wealth as well?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

kartindia
2.7 billion??

This amount is nothing compared to the wealth of the ruling central government elite of another major country south of china.

Their wealth is rumored to be in trillions in local currency.

News of scams in which they were involved broke out earlier this month.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.

ksatyanandasarma Palo Alto,Ca94303,USA
Let many more investigations into the ill-gotten wealth acquired by politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats occupying high positions in countries massively infested with corruption be carried on in order to cleanse the public life by exposing them and putting them to public shame and thereby tone up the governance s.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

eddienyc
Countries like the United States?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

SnorkelSimla, India
Same ol', same ol'. The same modus operandi of India's corrupt politicians. Sweetheart deals, plum government contracts, companies in the names of close relatives doing roaring business... the works. And all while the Dear Leader projects an austere lifestyle. Bet the Chinese learnt a few tricks from our Indian politicians. They've had more than enough practice ever since the Brits handed over power to them in 1947. As an Indian I ought to be insufferable proud of this. But somehow, I don't. Ain't patriotic enough, I guess.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

LangejLondon
Some well-trained and able people traded on their name and relationship with a politician to make a bunch of money. Seems to me that this happens in pretty much every country. The less transparent the government, the more money can be made, but it is par for the course in even the most open of systems.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Stephen J JohnstonJacksonville Fl.
What shocking news! A Princeling who acts like a Princeling in the land of Oligarchs. Unearned wealth is the one commonality which binds the elite of the Chinese Communist Party. Why is so much made of one decadent Princeling today? The Chinese ruling class is perhaps terrified that the teeming hundreds of slave wage laborers in China will notice, and tear them to pieces. Maybe they want to distance themselves from him by the time honored tradition of scapegoating. I wonder what the point of this story is. Are the editors at the NYT unaware of this fact and mistaken that they need to share this incredible story with us? Most of us and the Chinese already know this. In fact some Americans are beginning to think that the only way to get our banksters back into line, since the laws of the land don't apply to them, is to likewise tear them apart. It may be getting to the point where plutocrats just aren't safe from exposure anywhere these days.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

ImpishparrotAugusta, GA
Gee, image how wealthy the actual workers could be, if it were not for the thieving bosses and the global banking/investment financial terrorists? Interesting that capitalism, communism, socialism all end up ultimately funding the life styles of so many despots. Enough. Enough already.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

KristinaGreece
Great article! Now please use the same investigative scrutiny on the Greek Finance Minister and his cronies. If all their hidden assets were returned to Greece then the pensions and salaries of the poorest segment of the population would not have to be cut, or the poor denied medical care.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.

CityTruckerSan Francisco
Our Founding Fathers understood that unopposed power breeds corruption and tyranny and that this phenomenon wasn't limited to monarchies. They also promulgated the Rule of Law, without exception. As long as the Communist Party holds absollute power, "above the Law and above Heaven", there can be no free discourse, no effective reform, and no hope of ending the corruption and tyranny under which that nation is strugling forward.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

John MacgregorPhnom Penh
Hilarious. Do you do this routine in clubs, or is it only for the benefit of NYT readers?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:44 p.m.

Tom TCentral Jersey
The top 70 Chinese legislature own assets over 80 billion US dollars as reported by Businessweek earlier this year. The corrupt system starts from the top and all the way down. It is worse than the old KMT regime before the revolution. But there won't be another revolution any time soon because, in general, the country is doing very much better compared to the pre-revolution time. Corruption is part of Asian culture, and not even Singapore is corruption free.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

HHRSEA
I had an old friend who lived in one small county in China whose niece had just been promoted to a higher level Traffic Police Department, but was a mere middle ranking officer at that new level! During the dinner celebration with the family, my friend announce to his niece that "the future of our family is now in your hand", since he is now the highest rank in terms of official ranking within the family and all family who need help with any official matters will now look to him for help!

This is the way Chinese people under the communist rule think! Remember that this is at the county level! So there is really no surprise that relative of the prime minister make use of his position to the maximum! Ask any Chinese (even those who are now complaining of the corruption), not doing so would be unthinkable, and very stupid!

I have another official friend who has retired few years ago complained to me on one hand about the level of corruption now, but on the other hand regretted that he had not make use of his position while in power! This is despite the fact that he lives in a nice villa (his third property) within an upscale development!

I never use to believe my China friends who told me that officials at the national levels make billions (I thought maybe millions are more reasonable estimate), but after Bo Xilai and now Wen Jiabou, I truly underestimated how Chinese know one of their own!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

WayneBrooklyn, NY
They are even more corrupt than here. We recently read about Bo Xilai and his wife, who got a suspended death sentence for the murder of a British businessman who apparently was aware of their corruption. Now we read about the PM's family fiancial enterprise. No wonder there is no freeddom of press in China. This sort of information is enough to stir resentment, dissent and maybe even lead to a revolution.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

tsurrrfurOakton,VA
We're headed in the same direction in the USA. They never leave office unless they are rich or soon find a way to accumulate more.

It is an insidious affliction that once embedded in the culture becomes incurable and only gets worse. We need laws put on the books now, that make political corruption by bureaucrats, politicians and other public servants the most serious of felonies where a first time conviction will result in a minimum mandatory sentence without parole of 10 years.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.

D.W.OaksOregon, USA
Weird to know direct access to our comments is blocked to such a large percentage of the world's people at this moment.

Extreme unfair economic inequality harms well being, mentally, emotionally and even physically. Perhaps we in USA can see this more clearly in an article about China. Here our corruption is veiled somewhat by pretense like Citizens United decision by US Supreme Court. The USA wealthy are so powerful they have the luxury to pretend they are not brazenly direct tyrants, yet.

But deep down this inequality harms 100 percent. After all, with more equality maybe the US presidential debates might have even mentioned the climate crisis? Those on bottom can be silenced and frightened and traumatized by extreme unfair inequality, but we all suffer.

I am reminded of the occasion a few years ago when the NY Times did a great article about abuse in Chinese health care, including instances of involuntary ECT (electroshock). By coincidence in my human rights work I was advocating for a New Yorker near NYC getting exactly the same abuse at same time in USA!

Maybe people of NYC might peacefully re-occupy Wall St. some day, just as Beijing residents may some day re-occupy Tiananmen Square? Maybe We The People can re-occupy our planet before 'the sea is boiling hot'?

I recall ML King called for Creative Maladjustment. Thanks NY Times for the excellent article, and this chance to join you in being censored. I am truly honored.

David W. Oaks, Oregon USA
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

A physicianNew Haven
same everywhere, greed and corruption knows no national boundaries. I wonder how much of this wealth is funded by western dollars, either sales to their wealth American peers, of via investments that are fueled by US corporate investments to create products at cheaper prices in workplaces where workers do not have the protections that US corporations would eliminate here, if they could.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

CindyBaltimore, Md.
We need these articles that explore global politics to include the US in the discussion. It is odd to hear take of developing Rule of Law overseas and not note that the US no longer practices Rule of Law. The same with speaking of torture and imprisonment. The US is top in the world for both. Civil liberties are disappearing and elections are simply incumbents of one party running against incumbents from another. There are no democratic elections in the US.

So as we read about a country needing all these things to become democratized we are wondering why the loss of all these things in America is not headline news!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Missouri ReaderMissouri
Graft, in various forms, is proportional to the value of resources controlled by the government ... not only in China, but in every other nation. 

Another article in today's NYT describes how campaign spending by the two presidential candidates and affiliates entities will spend at least $2 billion in the 2012 race.  Campaign finance laws --- like China's strict laws --- only serve to channel the corruption into hidden activities. 

Such laws reduce neither the amount of 'economic rents' to be captured nor the incentive to seek them. The only sure way of limiting graft is to limit the size and scope of government. 

It is ironic that liberals, who tend to support big government (for many good reasons), are typically on the losing end when elected officials trade their influence for campaign contributions.  Big businesses, parading as conservatives, theoretically support small government but are usually first in line when the bounty is distributed.  It would be funny if the results were not so destructive ...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.

oh wellearth
Shame on NYT for being used as a tool. Wen is one of those who pushes for reform, opening up, and the rule of law. NYT singles out him for an articled titled to tell how corruption is a serious problem among Chinese leaders. Why didn't NYT publish about Wen's conservative enemies in such exquisite details? That 2.7B family business is chicken feed. How come it was so easy for NYT to access all the key sources without being swiftly cut off by Chinese authority? One can only suspect this story, with its perfect timing before the CCP Congress and government change, has been set up by someone far smarter than NYT to weaken Wen's position to choose more open-minded successors.
Some years ago another reform-minded Chinese premier, Zhu Rongji, was in the US looking for support at critical times. He was flatly refused. The conservatives in China seized the opportunity to show how stupid Zhu was trying to making deals with the US. Zhu was politically down and out, have since prevailed in China for the decade after, until this very day.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:20 p.m.RECOMMENDED8

Tony KChicago, IL
This sounds like the Madigans and Daleys in my native Illinois. Nothing new to us Chicagoans.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:20 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

fefe19IN
What I like about this story are all the strong women figures--real estate moguls, jewelry industry magnates.. and that's just the expose on one family.

I guess communism's commitment to gender equality becomes evident even in its crony-breakdown.

The only example I can think of from our side is Martha Stewart's puny (by comparison) insider trading. And as far as I know, she didn't wield any political influence.

Nevermind the corruption-- when are we going to have women owning and running multi- million and billion dollar industries?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:19 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Willy GissenHartsdale, New York
Verified
This article almost makes one think that China could be on the verge of another revolution.

Families of senior officials are amassing fortunes, using their influence and foreknowledge to engage in financial deals in an economic marketplace that is still highly regulated by the state.

In China, the intersection between government and the economy is a strong one with many regulated industries, required approvals and other top-down direction that relatives of powerful officials can use to their benefit.

The article provides a searing analysis of family and relatives of China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao, as an example. His wife, Zhang Beili, is engaged in the lucrative jewelry business, often participating on regulatory bodies of her own industry. The Prime Minister's son, who goes by the name of Winston Wen is a highly educated participant in private equity. Even the Prime Minister's mother holds an investment worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

It is because of plutocrats like these that the Communist Party was founded and should this corruption continue, the government will be vulnerable to a demagogue/populist who will lead a purity campaign to stop it.

It remains to be seen how the Times analysis and revelations will reverberate in China. (Go to http://www.cioediting.com/wordpress for more New York Times analyses.)
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:30 p.m.RECOMMENDED13

tostenSwan Valley, Montana
My experience in China has taught me that nothing happens there without some party official profiting from it. The second thing I have learned is that this is culturally accepted as the engine of progress. It is the Chinese characteristic in their capitalism that they so often cite but never explain. It is nothing new there. Privilege has always been considered a natural part of political involvement. Guanxi is the glass ceiling for China in competing with the rest of the world economically. The enemy of all this is democratic reform. When will those in power be rich and secure enough to allow this? When does any monarchy finally let go? Perhaps the royal family of England could hire on as consultants to untangle this mess.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:44 p.m.RECOMMENDED14

AshokNew Delhi
With growth come riches and money attracts all the usual suspects. Successful politicians are usually those sort of people who are able to morph into what the situation demands, with their inner goals set to serving themselves instead of their constituents. Point is despite all the corruption and all the the looting is the constituency progressing in health, wealth and leisure? In China it seems to be working for the people; I cannot think of a single other country of a billion people who went from sheer dogma and poverty to stable middle class and world power. So the question really before us is can the corrupted leaders deliver by and large - for corruption is inevitable and nothing can ever eradicate the basic human instinct of making it quick.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:43 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

j. von hettlingenSwitzerland
Verified
Wen Jiabao appeared twice on Fareed Zakaria's "GPS" on CNN. He gave the impression that reading Western philosophy was his pastime and that his tenets were inspired by ethics. In his public speech last March, he urged the posterity to judge his tenure. Yet one wisdom we have learned, is that in China the wives and siblings of the leadership were to be blamed for all scandals. Perhaps Wen would haven been better off and be more revered in history, had he divorced his shrewd wife and disowned his brazen son!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

JackIllinois
And disavow filial piety? Very difficult to do, maybe impossible.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

devreaderNew Brunswick
All ruling elites of the world (capitalists, communists, socialists, anarchists) are all united to suppress, intimidate, control and leech the powerless using any means necessary! Unless the exploited people wake up, this will only get worse!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED53
READ ALL 4 REPLIES

ImpishparrotAugusta, GA
Wake up and go where? Do you have an app for revolution yet?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

buckneckedocala
Appears that greed is the same no matter what hat you put on it and unfortunately there is no cure. The more you have the more you want.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.

usokHouston
Wah! You truly have a deep understanding of the world.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:28 p.m.

NWCentral Illinois
The only thing surprising about this is the scale of their earnings. It's the same in America, though not to the same extent. Money in politics is corruption in action (cf. Lawrence Lessig).

I've thought about what I'd do if I were rich a lot for a twenty-something, but $120 million? I just can't even fathom what I'd do with that.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED12

Nicholas CliffordNew Haven, VT
You're wrong about corruption in the US. Our policy is to legalize what we might consider corrupt in other countries, and then -- hey, presto! -- we're no longer corrupt, because we're "legal." Q.E.D.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

JackWashington, DC
China is on the verge of a huge political change. The path to democracy is inevitable, especially when the public see high officials amass vast fortunes with their raw power.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED7
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jophoenixAZ
Everything I read leads me to think not of democracy,
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

CAPT JoneW Va
Not just politcial change, social change must come first. Humanity must come to their heart first.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

JackIllinois
When the China Spring hits, it's going to be a doozie!
For all the Chinese spies listening in that means it's going to be a big one.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:41 p.m.

achangShanghaiNYT Pick
Came in to my office this morning in Shanghai and no NYT, usually isn't blocked, so like the others hopped the great firewall with my VPN to see this article. I work with all Chinese so I asked a few of them what they thought about it. They hadn't specifically heard about Wen's situation but no one was surprised in the least. Their comment was, all top Communist officials are very rich.

This article does a good job in explaining the dynamics of how political favor is courted and wealth among the political elite is accumulated. In the US we use Super PAC's and lobbyists to influence government in China it's done through the families of the Party. Unfortunate, and destructive but nothing new to those on the ground here.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED69

agent_orangeShanghai
Very good comment. I too have had the same experience. Without exception, every person I know is keenly aware that the money goes to the political elite. Bo Xi Lai is reported to be worth $120 million. How is that possible as the mayor of a major city? (Rhetorical question)
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

rojacalienteWherever the music is....
Thank you for this reporting. I read so many articles from the west heralding China as the next big thing without any significant analysis of the country at hand. Yes, the numbers look good on paper but whose hand is writing these numbers. Corruption is what keeps China's economy running on every level... Seriously, I have to pay someone in my building community not to steal my bike because if I don't they will steal it.

I have lived in China for awhile in both Shenzhen and Beijing. Shenzhen is the modern economic engine of China. Many people come from the fields and become billionaires but only after paying tribute to some government official. I can tell you that people tell me all the time that they have to hire some "red collar workers" to keep harmony with the government. If you fall out of favor, you have no chance that you life will be ever be secure. Either the gangs or the paid-off judges are going to get you.

There are a few people with tremendous wealth and they sure like to flaunt it in the faces of the rest of the population. But even in Beijing, you don't have to go far to see the people squatting the uninhabited building projects that make the wealthy ie government and cronies so rich. I cross the street from my apartment complex and people in the hutongs are living without access to toilets and water. Soon, another poorly made high rise will be constructed there: unoccupied yet somehow creating ridiculous earnings for the gov players and friends.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED18

Eric WFL
Great article.
But remember, the income inequlity indicator Gini Index is as bad in US as in China (0.45 in both countries), the difference is that in China the top 0.1 percenters are the political elites, whereas in US they are the Wall Street bankers/brokers, big corporation CEOs.
Big difference, huh? May be; may not be.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED35

C from AtlantaAtlanta
The difference, also, is that the bottom is is much larger and inconceivably poor as compared with the poor, here.

In the coal fields of Shanxi Province villages look uninhabited, but thousands live in caves that you haven't noticed. The worlds true sweatshop is planting, replanting and replanting rive bent over in a seaming rice paddy under a blazing sum with water up past your ankles.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Steve BolgerNew York City
US plutocrats have historically left politics to hired stooges rather than dirty themselves in demeaning public offices.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

joshCA
China is much worse because the Chinese hide grey market income of the elite
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:18 p.m.

James HurwitWest Hartford, CT
Well witnessed NYT "being at the intersection of government and business as state influence and private wealth converge ", Why should China be any different than the US, "and so it goes".
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED12

SWWSan Francisco
Chinese are still waiting for their Lee Kuan Yew. But compare to North Korea, Cuba. China today are miles ahead, it will be great for the world when Chinese government adopt a strong anti-corruption attitude like Singapore.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

anamaya8India
Comparing China to Singapore is not fair. In a limited society it may be possible to control. But look at USA. Why so much of corruption at high level - I mean bankers, brokers, CEOs as mentioned by Eric W here in these columns. US has all possible antic corruption systems. Yet all these have not helped. It is always 1% control 99%. It is universal law of nature and it works irrespective of ideologies - capitalism to communism. What then is the solution? Only if basic morals, which can control greed and ensure empathy to have nots, become the fabric of the society. This is possible only if the business schools start talking about methods of tackling corruption, methods for distribution of income across the society.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:48 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

JohnPalo Alto
Lee Kuan Yew is equally corrupted. His son is the prime minister now. His second son and daughter-in-laws control lots of government company and public money.

Average ministers in the government earning $1 million dollar....

Go figure.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:53 p.m.

RobertNew York City
Great story about how Wen Jiabao and his family stole the country's assets for themselves in a very short amount of time. When the chinese citizens realize this, they will probably kill the whole family, as happened in the Russian revolution a century ago. Super reporting by the New York Times.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

Know NothingAK
"...kill the whole family...." In Russia the oligarchs are still alive and buying apartments in NYC. In the US the Banksters are still free and still theiving - one is even running for a high office. Meanwhile the poor are still poor in all countries.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:41 p.m.

rdwhtnbluDE
Very interesting article. Congratulations to the author, Mr. Barboza.

I have always assumed corruption is a weakness. Does corruption in China make it less of an economic , military, and diplomatic threat?

"There but for the grace of God go we.." The US is incredibly blessed to have relatively little official corruption. But that will change if we fail to be vigilant, if money completely takes control of political races (too late?), and if the free press is ever limited. I fear media consolidation for this reason. Attorneys general who won't play politics when pursuing corruption, and an independent judiciary, are also essential. Let us not take our good government for granted.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

Bernard DuckworthLaufenburg, Germany
What about PACs and that corporations are persons. We are just a bit better in covering corruption in the States than in other countries.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

GregoryVancouver, Canada
Not sure how one justifies the gutting of an economy by stating that at least Wen is re-investing his corruption in state infrastructure. If that is comfort, it is at best cold comfort.
The gutting of the Chinese economy is a sad process; moving back to Vancouver after 20 years absence (5 living in Asia and visting China multiple times) has presented the stark representation of a smaller but chronic economic gutting. To wit, consumer and commercial real estate investments made by the Mainland Chinese into this city is nothing short of astounding. Why? Each individual can only exit with USD50,000...which begs the question of how they purchase multiple million dollar properties, ferraris, and so on. Corruption. Gutting.
Vancouver feels rich through property values, however, this is based on laundered money. No, not the type of proceeds of crime such as from the drug trade, nevertheless, laundered just the same. From petty bureaucrats to senior officials, the funds are escaping the Chinese economy. Invested in pristine Canadian properties. What the rest of us get is much higher property taxes (which are based on market valuation) and an environment whereby our heirs cannnot afford to live in the City.
Well done, Prime Minister Wen, for leading the way!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

stevehawaiiNYT Pick
Well, this is really no surprise to anyone who knows how China works. But as suspicious as this all is, I find it interesting where much of this money is being invested--biotech, wind and solar energy, waste recycling, education, insurance, construction, jewelry. I suppose jewelry is rather useless in the grand scheme of things, and construction can have its negatives as well as positives, but most of these industries to me seem like good, solid, forward-looking investments. If they're going to use their connections, I'd rather have them invest in those industries rather than polluting, chemical and oil-based industries, or in sweatshops.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED31

Mu RuiWashington, D.C.
This is only one man's family network. The other Standing Committee members all have their own corruption/investment portfolios.

Zhou Yongkang, for instance, currently head of the security apparatus (secret police, etc.) was in charge of the national oil industry for about a decade. Unlike Wen, he's both corrupt, and runs a machine of torture and extrajudicial killing. And you can bet he doesn't invest in solar.

Where's the investigative piece on him?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

Mani the parakeetLittle India, Singapore
Mu Rui, Zhou Yongkang will not be reviewed by the NYT because the "deep throats" feeding NYT with all these delicious tit bits are probably on the side of Bo Xi Lai and Zhou is his friend.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

VictorCanada
This is a good article by NYT. It used information that can be obtained publically and put the pieces into a picture that show shocking truth - shocking, but true by my judgement. It is important for the Chinese to know, the man, who is good at showing a nice face like an actor, has an ugly other side of the face. We should wait and see how the Chinese government deals with this. This is a critical test!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

Bernard DuckworthLaufenburg, Germany
I am waiting to see how the United States deals with its actor in November. The only difference is that our actor has a different face for different occasions.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Kowtha, N.Seoul,Korea
This is a good piece of reporting. But as these things work all over the world, I suspect that much of the information that was buried under layers could have come to light only because someone high up has a vested interest in the expose. This is probably a critical juncture for Chinese politics. The story might mean more than an expose and it should worry all of us who are already worried to death about "the economy".

A second point I would like to make looking at the comments here- if slightly offensive- pertains to the hue and cry about Chinese corruption and all that. I do not think any of us anywhere in the world is in a position to point fingers . To wit, the wannabe Superstat India will have a good laugh when it looks at this tiny amount of $2.7 Billion. I do not want to get into what is happening (or happened) in America and Europe.

Corruption is bad, hurts people and damages nations. Let us also remember that corruption is not just stealing money but also a state of mind that leads to relentless pursuit of wealth at any cost to others. That does not put any country or peoples in a good light.
But to act and speak as if you are encountering something completely alien is laughable. It is this kind of put-on rectitude and self-righteousness that turns off people in other countries.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED30

Missouri ReaderMissouri
I agree with the sentiments expressed by Kowtha.  I do not believe that anything inherent in Chinese politicians causes them to behave differently than politicians in other countries, but find it amusing that 'Communists' --- whose philosophy emphasizes social interests over private interests --- are every bit as motivated by self interest as everyone else.

Communism is a myth used for decades by the Chinese elite to justify subjugating their countrymen.  Until Putin & Company stopped calling themselves Communists, the same was true in Russia.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Rex CheungPhiladelphia, USA
This is not an everyday story because of its context. The PRC prime minister has grossly fattened his relatives with the power of his office. The danger in PRC's case is the blurry line between the bellicose behavior of PRC and its leaders' corruption. In a sense, the murder plots within the Bo family were more foreboding. PRC was thought to be rehabilitating after June 4 Tienanmen Square, PRC has renewed its aggression. PRC now claim the entire South China Sea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_disputes_in_the_South_China_Sea. This will choke off naval passage there. USS George Washington is patrolling the area claimed by PRC to demonstrate our resolve to protect our freedom to navigate through the Sea. Possibly to vent their pent up frustration with US, PRC today just sent battle ships to approach the disputed Japanese islands in the East China Sea. This summer has been hot for PRC, while Communist China's universities rose in world ranking in a German June Survey and their athletes gathered second most number of gold medals, PRC also attacked foreigners in Beijing China including ambassadors from US, Italy and Japan. Whither Red China? Mixing corruption and nationalism could be quite combustible. President Obama was right in during the third US presidential debate that PRC should adhere to international laws. Well as long as PRC follows the law, I guess nobody will have a problem if any of their officials get a few billion dollars.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

SCBVirginia USA
You're right, of course, that corruption exists everywhere - I don't think that I've seen anybody say that they live in a country completely free from taint. But you should also note that there are many people here with experience working in China (including me) and they will, to a man, all attest that the corruption all across China is far more pervasive than anything you'd encounter even in the most corrupt corner the United States or other Western countries.

Nobody can stat that their own country is perfect, but suggesting that all countries are equally corrupt is utterly false.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.

citizen625Bigfork, MT
Excellent journalism. This is how the US/Ivy League/Wall Street/DC clique works. It's no wonder who went first in the French, Russian and Chinese revolutions. The rich only have "friends" until their money runs out. That's why the rich guys created religion: guilt for the little people.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED12

Fred WhiteBaltimore
We're shocked, shocked that the Chinese party elite has gotten filthy rich. But as long as they keep raising the standard of living of the masses, no one's going to care enough to seriously oppose them.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

Zenon DolnyckyjNew York
you think thats bad? Nothing compared to Wen's political enemies.

http://tinyurl.com/9bha5kd

The CCP is so outdated its amazing that in all of his brilliance even Mr. Jobs turned a blind eye. Society will move on. It is so sad to see those who can't keep up.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

BenCascades, Oregon
So, what is different compared to the rest of the world? How do you think the 1% in the US operate? Do you expect these people to list opportunity in the newspaper classifieds or exploit trusted networks. I don't buy the breathless air of the article, do not think it will cause much of a stink, and how did Wikileaks become a credible source for the Times after all the beat downs? I also don't buy the big deal investigative reporting accolades. From what I read what we are looking at is a fairly thorough research job so sadly lacking in the so called news analysis we read so often that they have replaced plain old fact driven reporting. I bet most of this was accomplish via a high speed internet connection. It's not like anyone was sneaking around digging up facts unknown except to the inner sanctum of a clandestine organization. Those thinking I find the whole thing irritating would be correct. It seems to me there is an overabundance of fecund ground needing to be plowed up here at home. But no, its more important to write articles invalidating Occupy and Wikileaks than to dig up the dirt on home grown corruption. The Times treats our bigwigs with kid gloves. Heck the Times, if it wanted to could probably boil the state legislature alive tomorrow morning, again if it wanted to. I'm remembering how it treated the GS deal where Goldman bet against the position it was aggressively marketing to its customers after engineering a guaranteed looser for them and the list goes on.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED35

jophoenixAZ
This is us playing change leadership in China, we think the gress is greener but we are short sighted because folks in main land China can be very unpredictable, as good bye capitalism ! Think about which the masses see it not the 1% playing with China is riskey business, good luck!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.

DoodleFort Myers
As observers for racism and classism have noticed, the bottom line often is not race but class. What is the distinctiion between a rich capitalist versus a rich comminist? None. They both step on the toil and suffering of the masses to amass their riches. As such, no matter how much economic growth there is, there will always be poor, destitute people.

That's why democracy is so important. Only a genuinely functioning democracy (not here in United States by the way) can build a government by the people and for the people. Without strong democracy, capitalism, socialism or communism are just different routes to oligarchy. The only difference is that it will be more obvious in a communistic country than a capitalist one where one is fooled by the illusion of a free market.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED17

nealmontana
Just shows wealthy people all act the same no matter what country or government or economic system controls that country. Won't be long before they are all together in controlling most everything. If they aren't already there. I don't see much difference between todays gop wealthy and China's Wen.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED15

CCCalifornia
For the moment we at least have some rule of law and govt regulations, though they are weaker than at anytime, and at risk due to Citizen's United. For the moment...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

Bernard DuckworthLaufenburg, Germany
Right on Neal.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Alan WrightNJ
Post-communist China is a house built on a foundation of sand. It's anti-democratic capital success is due to the depravity and violence of its communism, which cowed and scarred its people.

Recent reports show China has dozens of large, newly built cities - but many of these were made with low architectural standards for safety. Last year a major bullet train crashed due to sloppiness.

Accountability?

Don't look to Wen Jiabao. Look to Tienanmen Square. That is where you will find it, buried neck-deep in the sand as the tide rises.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

Bernard DuckworthLaufenburg, Germany
What happens when bridges collapse in the United States?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:14 p.m.

EleanorChicago
As someone who cares about what's happening in the world and appreciates good old-fashioned investigative journalism, I loved this article. Thanks for being an online news source that actually has news, not cat videos and the top five "binders full of women" Halloween costumes.

As an American high school student studying Mandarin, I found it interesting that Wen Jiabao's given name, 家宝, literally translates to "family treasure." Coincidence, yes, but still amusing.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

Yankee49Rochester NY
Well, it seems that American capitalism and Chinese capitalism and their respective political systems resemble each other more and more each day.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED9

ConfuciusMelbourne
Let's not kid ourselves. If corruption can advance for the greater good and be contained within reasonable limit then it is still morally acceptable.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

buckneckedocala
The same thing happened to the USSR. The Elite stole the country blind. Now we have only one Rich Russian, PUTIN to deal with.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Missouri ReaderMissouri
You begin by saying let's not kid ourselves ... then attempt to kid everyone else.  If behavior described in this article is morally acceptable, then it wouldn't be hidden.  The people whose lives, liberty and property are taken from them don't consider such behavior acceptable.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Bernard DuckworthLaufenburg, Germany
You are correct. Otherwise, there would not be a Vatican.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:42 p.m.

Carl RSan Francisco, CA
Glad to see a story on the nefarious mix of money and state power. I understand it may be easier for people to recognize naked corruption somewhere far away.

Why is it so hard to connect the dots to Mitt Romney? Great wealth. Check. Low taxes already and a plan to cut those to 1%. Check. Secret finances, i.e., secret places to send payment for services rendered. Check.

In short, things are nearly as bad here.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

Missouri ReaderMissouri
I don't challenge your suspicion of Romney, but I wonder who you believe gave the $1 billion to Obama over the past year ... the poor?  You are blinded by your bias.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Miss ChongqingNY
Those of us from Chongqing cannot but see the hypocrisy of Wen in his key to oust Bo XL. Bo is not worse than him or others but a whole lot better in what he did for the people. We still think the main reason Wen pushed to oust Bo is that Bo made him look so incompetent and unaccomplished.

Wen wasted ten years during his tenure as PM, no accomplishments, did nothing for the country or people; other than being the official mourner-in-chief, helicoptering to where crises occurred and did his crying. But why did so many crises occur under his rein in the first place?

what a good actor, no wonder he is known as Wen the Emperor in Acting (Wen Ying Di). a petty soul.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

RamMontgomery, NJ
Winston (sic!) Wen going to Kellog from a middling school across the border from Detroit is not extraordinary. But I'm willing to bet it's not because of his scholarship. There is a pattern here of the top schools in the USA admitting future potentates from other countries at the cost of our own meritorious students. They will knowingly admit rich business heirs, princelings, bureaucrats' and politicians' vagrant no-goods, and even underworld bosses' upstarts however mediocre they all are. There must be some correlation between their education here and what they foster globally? [There's a story for you, NYT].

The benefits to the universities are obvious. But what burns me is the universities' hypocrisy and their self-righteous posturing about the rectitude of the selection process. And they call it, rather shamelessly, "class balance".
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

Carl RSan Francisco, CA
When did they ever have merit-based admission? Are there even good objective tests for knowledge beyond 9th grade?

Schools are clubs, to paraphrase and grossly simplify Michael Spence's work on highbrow schools as market signaling mechanisms. Of course they want an incoming class to strengthen their brand.

Perhaps a case can be made that schools with 100% government funding should have a strictly test score based admission. Even those schools would probably find value in looking for a balanced class, and also admitting any future potentates.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:15 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

TKDCNYT Pick
This article is only peeling the surface of the true problem and danger of China today. When talking to someone from the Senate committee dealing with China issues, years ago, and asked what would be most important issue the United States would need to focus on when dealing with China, my answer was corruption.

Their political, military, regional and local leaders control and manage all of China's economic affairs. It means that China's international and domestic policies are controlled by greed of these individuals. The rampant corruption in their government not only impacts their internal politics, but their external relationship from economic trade to military affairs.

Even back then corruption in China was a reaching a breaking point, and it was only going to get worst before they had to react to appease its public. However, corruption and doing favors through relationships ("guanxi") so deeply ingrained in Chinese culture, it will always be present in some form or fashion.

While China's corruption could be compared with Russia, China is geopolitical novice who is just starting to understand that players with power have responsibilities. At the same time, China is currently having economic issues, because level growth was never sustainable, and hurting the system that cannot sustain its power base fueled by corruption. Then China really only has two choices, reform its system or start looking outside. And those with power have a hard time letting it go.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED34

Baltimore
In an odd sort of way, the average Chinese on the street is proud to see their elite jet setting around the world with other world elite. They want the world to know they have arrived. They want the world to know they can pay their own way.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

expat inShanghai
Having lived in China for over 4 years one of the most important things to remember once you've been here awhile is to be careful as to what you believe when in China. Be careful what you believe when it comes to China -- be very careful.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:19 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

cdav531New Jersey
I'be been here close to 10 years and I honestly don't understand what you're talking about. Are you saying the story isn't true?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

cdav531New Jersey
It is not exactly a secret here in China that the key to becoming wealthy is either to become a Party member or to have close friends who are. In one of my university classes here last year a freshman girl was filling out an application to join The Party and I asked her why she wanted to join. She attempted to say something along the lines of "to serve the people" and I immediately called her out on it. She never quite admitted it was actually for her own selfish interests but she never quite denied it either. Sadly, this is the way China operates these days. Everyone knows "Communism" doesn't exist here anymore and everyone goes along with the Big Lie that it does. ("Socialism With Chinese Characteristics" for example. This is just a fancy way of saying "unfettered capitalism.") What is striking to me, however, is not how openly corrupt the Party is, but how accepting "ordinary" Chinese generally are of the corruption. They don't necessarily want to see it end. They'd rather just become part of it. That is what saddens me the most. It influences the entire culture here. Ask any Westerner living here how many true Chinese "friends" they have. Most will answer "not many." A "friend" here is usually someone who can "help" you.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:13 a.m.RECOMMENDED18

JesseBoston
Finally we have one post with actual insights on China. I am shocked by what you know about my country and my people actually. You are absolutely right that for most of us, Communism is just a plain lie. We don't really care about communism, capitalism or anything else. Afterall it is just a name. Chinese people are extremely pragmatic and hard working, that is also why we don't have a common religion since it really doesn't matter.

What upsets me too is that most of the Chinese people hate corruption and yet they want to be part of it. The corruption is bad, but it is not a cancer for the country yet. We are working on it just as the Americans did in the past.

I would be actually surprised if Wen's family turns out to be an ordinary one. It is just how things work here. It is not good, but it is the best we have now.

BTW, the reasons why westerners don't have true Chinese friend are the same as why Chinese like me doesn't have true WHITE friends here in US. It is just the culture, the language, personal interests are entirely different between us. So why bother to be true friends?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

SummerHong Kong
I don't meant it to sound like a conspiracy - this article is a bit like China threat propaganda or at least shows what Americans would like to believe how ordinary people are suffering, how officials are corrupted in China at the juncture when the American fortune is turned.

It is absolutely right that Chinese officials are using power for personal gain (Wen is not the worst case. The officials who corrupt most are those hold positions in provincial government). But given all the money invested and the booming economy in China, there definitely should be people getting more and more rich. And usually those are people who have more connections, more resources, probably more knowledge, and officials are in a convenient position to gain when China starts to rise. There is a big money relocation happening in the world, and some of it is not justifiable, but certainly understandable.

I hate to relate Chinese culture to corruption, but I think the fact that ordinary Chinese are more accepting about corruption is because it is understandable. "Relations" are deep rooted in Chinese culture. It can easily be observed in the "family tree" records which are usually kept for bringing the whole family to fortune once one branch in the family rise to power.

Corruptions are bad, and should not be tolerated. But putting Wen somehow as the No. 1 corrupting villain is still not feeling right - or maybe I am just conned by his acting...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:43 p.m.

AlanHawaii
An exceptional job of old-school journalism by David Barboza and, I would guess, another Pulitzer for the Times. I can't imagine the reams of paperwork Mr. Barboza must have had to go through, and look forward to seeing a story about the story later on. Again, top-notch stuff.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:12 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

M. PaireNYC
Thank you for reminding me why after a century, NYT is still an undisputed source of news. Other newspapers/cable "news" channels take note, this is how it's done.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:55 a.m.RECOMMENDED112

augustbornLima, Ohio
I would bet the main source of the story was leaked from some obscure government group who delves into such facts that study the power structures of foreign governments.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

Robert Henry EllerMilan, Italy
I'd rather they focus on American "business successes." The NYT is not keeping up with Matt Taibbi over at Rolling Stone, and other journalists keeping after the American oligarchy.

Chief Justice Roberts and his little playmates over at SCOTUS vitually ensured much more of the same in the US with Citizens United, as we're seeing now. About three dozen billionaires are determining what people are seeing hearing and reading in the current election cycle about not only the presidential race, but the senatorial, congressional, and state house races as well.

The only way to prevent further erosion towards most of our "elected" officials being just bigger and smaller versions of Wen Jiabao is to look at who backs the candidates, and vote against any candidate backed by the oligarchy.

Anyone funded by the .01% is not someone who's going to serve the American people in total.

Citizens United guarantees Free Fire Zone speech, not free speech.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

SummerHong Kong
Given there is a power shift soon....I would be it is leaked from China.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

ed johnsonCuba, AL
Keep digging. Don't stop...don't ever stop.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED17

MikeWestchester. NY
An amazing piece of reporting. Bravo, New York Times, bravo!!!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED18

GuestFlorida
Great reporting, great work.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

Larry FinkLA
NYT published first, great, No.1.
This is an very important article which will change the coure of china soon. we will see.

Great job. I love NYT
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

gzhangmo
it will do nothing to china since people actually in china will never get a chance to see it. we will see..
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.

BobbiToulouse
Since I'm in China today, let me add to the comments about NYTimes blocking. We are being blocked today in my part of the country. It's true that the Times is normally available without blocking but today is an exception.

As soon as I switched to VPN and saw the front page, I knew why today was an exception. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see the ban hold for a few days before it gets back to normal.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.RECOMMENDED14

DaveAuckland
No surprise there...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

A ChineseLawrence
Although it is a little late, I am still very happy to see such a report. It is actually a very old news to many Chinese that Wen Jiabao and his family are extremely corrupted. I don't think this is a *news* to NYtimes either. NYtimes reports it right now because Wen will step down from his position in a few days. He has no value to the West any more. Actually Wen is a very pro-west premier. He portrayed himself as a reformer, even the conscience of China. A lot of his political ideas are similar to Western political idea. But a lot of Chinese know his true color. He actually has a nickname "the best Oscar actor" in China.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.RECOMMENDED14

Semper FiNY
Good comments, and accurate.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

swongca
And I thought Mr. Wen is an exceptionally "clean" politician in China. Wow, he's just like all the rest ... e.g. Mr. Bo who recently was castrated for conducting same type of activities! Well, he's due to retire anyway come November, and in style!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.

Yu ZhangSydney
I thought so too.. that he is one of the fewest "clean" politicians... but which high level politician does not have such power in China? I still hold my belief in him.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

phoenix risingnh
Simply means that the Chinese are good at copying American capitalism and running (or do I mean hiding?) things the same way our plutocrats do. Who can translate Cheaters, Liars, and Thieves, "Oh, My" into Chinese? Show that to the workers who live 9 to a room and jump from the 15th floor in total despair at their working conditions.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

AmyBrooklyn
There is no American politican who has that much money. Freedom of the Press acetually does help to keep the system somehwat clean. We can hope that journalists try even harded to root out corruption.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

OutsiderOutside
WJB is supposed to be the "good" guy in this gang that runs the CCP. This speculative article smears WJB for something that all CCP officials do--even the lowliest county-level education supervisor.

It also ensures that there will be no one in the CCP pushing for more openness for a long, long time.

Everyone knows that the CCP is a giant gang that happens to control the world's 2nd largest economy, so it doesn't really tell us anything new about how China is run. I imagine there must have been considerable debate at the NYT about whether to release this article. I hope the editor lets us read about the discussion among those different sides. NYT is shut down in China now. Other sites are still open, but as they start reporting on this story, I'm sure they'll be cut off too. For now, looks like I will be reading the news via proxy, until they shut that down too.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

ChrisArizona
While millions work as slaves manufacturing everything that ends up in big box stores around the world, this guy skims billions enriching himself, family and friends.

I guess greed and selfishness are traits of the elite no matter where.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED22

AmyBrooklyn
Yes greed andselfishness are common traits of politicians, the difference between China and the US is that Freedom of the Press has some cleansing effects.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

45hoage
when you walk around big cities in China you see incredible wealth; luxury bags and clothing are ubiquitous; Maseratis, Porsches , Bentleys are surprisingly common; more and more real estate is geared for the wealthy and super-wealthy. people seem to have more money than they know what to do with. it can be shocking to see.

it begs the question, where does it all come from? how are these people getting so rich so fast? and in so many cases it comes from someone with a powerful connection, an old school friend in a government position. people in these positions can turn on the tap and create a flood of money for everyone around them.

in big cities and small towns all over china there are huge building projects in development, and for every project, there's a privileged group enriching themselves, extracting their share. from the small town local cadres to politburo members it's the same story

if so much wealth is being distributed like this, how can it be good for China's economy? how is this system possibly creating value? there is no way that it's sustainable. only because of the massive scale of china's growth has it lasted this long.

when is the crash coming?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED24

Miranda RightNew York
There are so many bright and hard working international students who grew up impoverished. If ivy leagues have any decency, they will reserve more spaces for them instead of foreign criminals who can eat us for breakfast. That goes for Canada too. Can we for once put our conscience first before the dollar?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED12

HathorLos Gatos, CA
Miranda Right, there are many bright and hard working U.S. born and raised students, some impoverished and some not, who deserve more spaces in our school systems. I live in Silicon Valley (Cupertino--also known as "Little China"), where a large number of foreign exchange students fill the local Junior Colleges. When are we going to stop giving everything away and start taking care of our own? I would much rather see my tax dollars (local, state, and federal) going to support college and university systems for U.S. born and raised students rather than international students who take up space at our JCs and then UCs and/or Ivy League schools and then return to their country of origin.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.

tsdflcchicago
Really have no idea why NYT posts such information at this very point of time. Such phenomena happened all the time within all kinds of political regime, including the US. But have to say that the reporter must take a long time do such a thorough research. We still need more evidence make us believe it. Otherwise, what's the difference between objective research and children's imaginary drawing?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

napnyc
A couple of points to put this story in context:

First, anyone with personal ties to the top of the Chinese pyramid will be regarded by ordinary Chinese as having a touch of royalty, as being part of the imperial family or its retinue, and there's an aura associated with that. There are enough Chinese who will practically throw money at those with imperial ties because they want to share in that aura and benefit from it. Anyone with those ties, even quite tenuous ones by Western standards, will be the constant recipient of extraordinary offers. Who could resist?

Second, the key to financial success in China is access to bank credit. And the state-controlled banks seem to roll out the welcome mat if you've got an imperial name or two among your supporters. They like associating themselves with the aura, too. Most importantly, the royal family members don't have pull a single string: lending their names is enough.

To ask, "But why?" misses the point. That's China, that's all.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

US ExpatWashington
Americans are way too upset about corruption in the rest of the world. It is the norm for business. No degree of indignation on the part of Americans will have an affect.

The Chinese understand this and have overtaken the US in their influence in many countries. For buying minerals and oil, a few bucks to a 3rd-world official makes the Chinese offer much more attractive then the American offer. In fact, it is a serious impediment to US companies that they can be fined in the US for adhering to the international norm.

If Americans are serious about participating in a global economy they have to adjust to the the norms of the customer's county. To my mind, bribes are as necessary as re-designing a car for right hand drive to sell in England.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

someone in NJCentral NJ
This is bombshell for current leadership transition.

Mr. Wen is long considered one of most pro-western politician in Communist China leadership, and he always casts himself as a reformer, In fact his positions are so open, the leftist blog often labels himself as "leading party' which means leading the western countries into China, other word for traitor. So US and western countries should really think twice to depend the person like him to push reform in China.

Instead, US should help Chinese people by identifying all his family holdings in the western world and frozen them and return to the poor Chinese people. After all these are wealth of the Chinese people, and China is still a communist country in paper. Otherwise we will see a China Spring upraising like Middle East, and we in US can forget to buy $600 iPad in next Christmas.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

MSAMiami
Really. Unclear? This is China. We are talking about some of the strongest nuclear families in the world
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

Jennie PC ChiangBoyertown, PA
We do not know if Mr. Wen's relatives profit from his position or from the political connection. Like other Asian countries or even European countries the corruption is prevalent. I am sure that Chinese leaders concerned the prevalent corruption. Chinese leaders should set an example for people to follow.

Corruption is core poverty and corruption affects the poor by diverting resources and holding back development, such as reducing economic growth, the progressively of the tax system, the level and effectiveness of social programs, and perpetuating an unequal distribution of asset ownership and unequal access to education, etc. However, we, Americans or EU should have not provided a safe heaven for those most Asian or African corruptive officers that would encourage corruption in developing countries.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

AngelbabyBeijing
I still belives in Wen's personal integrity. If these are all true, that's acceptable, because China is such a place of hierachy and high power distance. Sometimes the wealth and benefit comes "automatically" when someone's in high position, which is the rule of the game.

I still believe that if someone else were at Wen's position, he could be more incredibly corruptive.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

RobertNew York City
Nobody could be more corrupt than the Wen family.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

TerrryNew York
Really? How did they get into those high positions in the first place? By being elected or by violent persecution and revolution? Nothing is "automatic". But I supposed I'm naive to think that meritocracy is something worth fighting for.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

NiagaraFrontierEnschede, NL
Great reporting! As usual I went to the NYT first thing in the morning here in China, and for the first time I remember it's blocked by the Great Firewall. Hmmm... I wonder why? Used a VPN to "fly over the wall" and here it is. It's this kind of reporting that makes the NYT great (remember how they uncovered the LIRR retirement scam a few years ago?) and until China has its own investigative reporting and independent press, it will never achieve the self-reflection necessary for political progress in any form.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:50 a.m.RECOMMENDED58

BingSeattle, WA
Great job NYT for digging into layers and layers of paper work, and making a substantial case. Thanks God for Investigative Journalism! Mr. Baboza and his worthy peers have done a great service to the public.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:49 a.m.RECOMMENDED19

Little PandaCelestial Heaven
What public do you mean?
Seems that you underestimate the Chinese people since guessing that just because they cannot read this article due to blocking they know nothing about the size of corruption of their leaders.

The truth is that such an article only makes the joy of a well segmented audience, formed by the CCP-bashers.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 10:07 p.m.

GuestBrooklyn
Long live the New York Times! Good work, folks.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:46 a.m.RECOMMENDED18

WesFort Worth TX
Step 1: Sell the populace on socialism
Step 2: Overthrow the authority, eliminate your competitors
Step 3: Take control of what's left
Step 4: Sell the populace on capitalism
Step 5: Cash out

Machiavelli would be proud.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:46 a.m.RECOMMENDED36

Alan DLos Angeles
How inefficient of the Chinese.

In this country we just do steps 4 and 5.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

MSAMiami
Please re-read The Prince. It is nothing like that.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

Hello WorldPasadena, CA
Ironic that a lot of Chinese money - public and private - is right here in the United States and the West. What does that tell us? The "pricelings" party will not go on for ever...at least not in China.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:46 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

FHSMiami
Great journalism...and a measure of the Times commitment to it.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:44 a.m.RECOMMENDED9

DouglaseNew York, NY
I am shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, that politicians and government officials the world over cheat, steal, graft and play favorites. Who'd a thunk?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:43 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

RBWest Palm Beach, FL
Nepotism at its highest level and Mr. Wen said he is not aware of it. He is nicknamed "the peoples Premier " and "grandpa Wen" while he and his family rob the poor Chinese peasants blind. Karl Marx must be turning over in his grave as communism never materialized into the stateless, classless society he envisioned. Just another system like capitalism which thrives on corruption and graft.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

SusanNew York
Kleptocracy is what describes a system of wealth that lets people like Mr. Wen accumulate so much wealth while the masses of Chinese earn very little. It is just a matter of time before this system starts to implode on itself.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

Sgt LuciferChicago, IL
Great reporting, NYT. Thanks for giving me my subscription money's worth.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED22

michael a. livingstoncheltenham pa.
I always laugh when people think the CPC will stay in power forever. It is corrupt, environmentally disastrous, and spawning unprecedented inequality. China will last forever, but the Party won't
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED22

mfordATL
This is certainly true. China is governed according to a dynastic cycle which turned for 7000 years. CPC can't change that.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.

joshCA
The Chinese banking system is essentialy bankrupt. The elte have benefitted from most of the bad loans . The state has sopped up the bad debt into off balance sheet pools.

Wash , rinse , recycle, repeat

AT some point the bad debt gets to a tipping point and the edifice collpases
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:19 p.m.

recreantmanhattan
This article actually put me in a good mood while at the same time it reads like a run-up to the world seen in Blade Runner...the extremely wealthy living discreetly in opulence, while most of us are lucky to have a month's rent in the bank. I simply can't see any system this corrupt being that great of a threat to the United States or the world in the long term because it is a house built on sand. I'm not turning cartwheels over our situation in the US (I mean, isn't the most telling point of this election the fact that both candidates are graduates of Harvard Law School? These are not the people who start revolutions.). I just feel like China is doomed to undergo another revolution and we'll once again benefit from our nifty geographical location and abundant natural resources, as well as a well-sorted-out military-industrial-academical-governmental complex that assures the kind of continuity big money craves in uncertain times.

I noted with interest that what the Chinese need most badly in the eyes of Wen's son Winston is a really exclusive boy's boarding school. Why don't they just buy one of ours and move it?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED9

TerrryNew York
Wow. Insider trading, misuse of government funds, monopoly, nepotism, betrayal and divorce. This movie practically writes itself. If China wants an oscar, this is their chance!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED22

MikeGuangzhou, China
I can't imagine a government official at any level in China that doesn't take part in this kind of cronysim, it's how things get done.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED14

happyktAustin
What I find more interesting is that no one from China is commenting on this article because it is completely blocked off by the Chinese Govt.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED7

forbetterworldBoston, MA
NYT is one of the few news outlets that are not blocked in China. Most of my friends in China can read NYT.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:43 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

ShawnShanghai
It's blocked now :-)
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.

Mingalee
Great report, but not news for lots of Chinese people.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED7

J. TseFlushing, NY
Is there any major company or industry who's not in bed with the communist party? The recent AMC acquisition is especially disturbing. Et tu, hollywood?

As a native Hong Konger, the ramifications are frightening. Imagine a movie where Tibetans and Falun Gong members are actually the bad guys (which is what they've been successfully spinning at home).

We can expect to see more Chinese propaganda coming to a theater near you. And with their ridiculous pockets, what greedy Hong Kong actor/actress wouldn't want a piece of that action?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED25

WenTaipei
Taiwanese feel 100 percent the same. All oversea Chinese unite, we should rid of this corrupted regime
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

JesseBoston
You have no idea what Falun Gong is, do you? It is so laughable to see guys like you talking about Falun Gong like you have lived in China for years. Let me shed some lights on this topic for you. If there is a party claims that if you join it, you will be immune to all diseases. And if you somehow get sick, all you need to do is call up your party leader and he will heal you. What's more, the party leader is claiming himself to be Godlike. Would you like to join this fun and rightous party and welcom Jesus himself in person? LOL.

BTW, The way you talking about the AMC deal just amuses me. Read some more books dude (assume you are a dude), be educated. Don't comment on things you don't actually know.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:47 p.m.

stacky12Mexico
Follow the money no matter where it is coming from.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:28 p.m.

ShawnShanghai
I woke up this morning and as usual went to the NY Times website to catch up on the election. Strangely it didn't work on my smart phone. I fired up my computer and I couldn't get on to the site from my computer either. "Strange" I thought, "maybe i should try with my VPN connected." I connected the VPN, and suddenly was able to log into nytimes.com again. The headline of this story on the front of the home page told me all I needed to know about why I couldn't access nytimes.com without a VPN. It's times like these that I have to laugh at the backwardness of the CCP and China. For the first time that I can remember nytimes.com has been blocked by the great firewall, congratulations!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED139
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BlinkerHong Kong
The NYT has been blocked briefly in China a couple of times that I'm aware of, but not in recent years. Of course one can still get it in HK. The question now is how long the block will remain. In the past, it's been a few days, as I recall. I assume the current instance has everything to do with the NYT being available for some months in Chinese.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

maveric6NJ
The Chinese government and CCP is really like morons by blokcing websites. should they have the guts, they should disclose the assets of the government officials, all.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.

usokHouston
Try read "13 Bankers" by Simon Johnson & James kwak. Then you understand how we did the same thing.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:35 p.m.

Ryan JamesRock Springs, WYNYT Pick
Chinese corruption happens behind closed doors. American corruption is institutionalized by campaign finance laws that allow private companies to essentially buy congressional votes. Time to take a good at our own politicians before looking down on China's.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED38
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M. PaireNYC
Not only do we routinely "take a look" through in depth journalism programs such as Moyers, NPR, NYT, we dare put it on the front pages so the public can unseat them in elections. As a Chinese person whose family emigrated from China, your false equivalence is foolish.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:42 p.m.

TerrryNew York
Can't we do both?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:44 p.m.

j. von hettlingenSwitzerland
Verified
True, the name of the political game is universal - to preach water and drink wine.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.

ObserverPhiladelphia
One needs to be a "Princeling" - a direct relative of a founding Communist Party member to enter into high poltics in China today.
Clearly, who you are is what's going on there.

To blithely assume China will beat the US in the march of time and progress is to discount its endemic corruption and grinding poverty. At some point, as with the USSR, the people will tire of this nonsense and revolt.

The Communnist government can stop 3000 students with tanks; it cannot stop 1.3 billion.

Just like Poland; East Germany; Syria; Libya; Egypt; etc.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

KrullebolVancouver, BC Canada
It's human nature - because of their system there are fewer checks and balances - Greed is always "good" and the same whether on Wall Street or on Chang An Da Jie.

China is just not a nice country. But few seem to care, guided by their greed as we all are.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

ObserverCanada
It is no secret that Chinese Communist Party leaders and their families benefited financially from their privileged positions and get filthy rich.

Another angle to look at the capitalistic Chinese Communist leadership is to compare their wealth with the fat CEO pay package in USA, which include corporate jets, club membership, and often golden parachutes. The responsibilities of top Chinese leaders, and the associated risk, no doubt far surpass those of the top multinational corporation executives. Thus their wealth is not that unreasonable. The cartoon figures of the pigs in Orwell's Animal Farm do come to mind though.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED9

markdcolorado
I bet most chinese will never hear about any of this. Their internet filters will probably block most of this information. But is the U.S. any different. We are "ruled" by a system where the pursuit of money is everything. Our politicians, our military, our information services, all governed by the calculus of the dollar.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED11

FairplayerSan Jose CA
The thing is that i do not see anything wrong with chasing wealth. Yes it is greed but eating too much is gluttony and as long as you are hurting others and playing by the rules why should it bother others. After all greed like hunger and desire to procreate is a basic human instinct. Therein lies the success of capitalistic society as long as there are rules. US may be known as a greedy capitalistic society but more charity money comes from the US than from anywhere else. Go figure.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.

TastyBoston
They are all a bunch of self-serving, depraved criminals who try to use the tools of the state to present a docile and beneficent nature to the world and their own people. A popular uprising is urgently needed, as the society as a whole is being hollowed out from its core for the benefit of the chosen elite members of society.

It is only a matter of time before the society collapses on itself with foul air to breath, filthy water to drink, an unsafe transportation infrastructure, a contaminated food supply (unless you are a member of the elite), and an irremediably corrupt government at ALL levels.
Once manufacturing more fully shifts to lower cost nations such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia etc. the jig is up, as unemployment will skyrocket, living standards will fall, and the intelligentsia will abscond to the countries where they hold dual citizenship to join their families who have already established a presence there.

I wonder if the Chinese population has the courage to overthrow the government and establish a more representative form of government that can serve the society as a whole. I certainly hope so, for the future of the current and future Chinese society.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED8
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JackIllinois
Yes, Ai Wei Wei is a thorn in the foot of the Ruling Chinese. May the Ruling Class walk through the Rose Garden with no shoes.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

AnneO.
@bong1288, by "Chinese", I assume you're only talking about the government and not the billion people who can't read this article. And if they're so smart, then surely they're confident enough to come out with an intelligent and eloquent rebuttal instead of the symbolic "talk to the hand" gesture via internet blocking.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

TerrryNew York
@bong, Everyone knows by now, that China's 'national security' is only a pretext for 'job security' of the communist party elite. To a one party politburo that lacks checks and balances, they're one and the same.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

RedRatSammamish, WA
Am I surprised by this? Nah. The Chinese have been traditionally a mercantile nation, more so than the west. The idea that they could commit to communism was a facade, it is just not in their culture. Yes, I bet that there are intertwining corporate holdings, but this also happens here in the west. Methinks, many would be quite surprised at how many of our "ruling elite" are embedded in the American corporate structures. Quite surprised, I bet.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

MKSacramento, CA
not surprised at all. It's been the same in S. Korea, but not as bad now precisely because of free press, civil society, rule of law, etc.----which China does not have.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 1:17 a.m.RECOMMENDED25

J. TseFlushing, NY
Excellent point. It is absolutely horrifying what a lack of free press or speech can do to a society. If no one knows or can find out about the problem, then there is no problem.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED12

kentSan Diego, CA
In the past, China was ruled by corrupt imperial dynasties. Today they are ruled by a corrupt Imperial Dynasty called, rather amusingly, the Communist Party.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 1:17 a.m.RECOMMENDED59

bong1288Hong Kong
There is no difference in America, except America like to false flag and cover-up until it open up on headline.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.

RedRatSammamish, WA
Yup! Two thumbs up. Right on target.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:27 p.m.

Vincent AmatoNew York City
In spite of one respondent's (fintip) description of China's "slow embrace of capitalism," there was actually nothing slow about it. Mao's body had not even cooled before the legions of Chinese for whom wealth acquisition is given the highest value had siezed the reins of power. The so-called Gang of Four was quickly dispatched and China could begin using its vast pool of workers willing to work for pennies an hour to become the manufacturing center of the world. (Look at this month's National Geographic for an amazing chart showing that of the dozen or so largest container ports in the world, nine are in China. In the 1950s, American conservatives often asked, "Who lost China?" Apparently, it was never really lost, merely distracted for what, by Chinese measurement of time, was a very short period indeed.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED15

Mertonnew york
Now that the news about family wealth of China's leaders has surfaced,let's see how the government responds.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

Ernie LamonicaQueens NY
How the Government responds? They are the Government and the accumulation of wealth, princelings, etc. is the response.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

TTNY
Goverment will respond by blanket censorship. They will also drum up nationalistic feelings and trash US capatalism. Would be very interesting to see if this news article will make any dent in the public opinion.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

CyrusNYC
It may well be a coincidence, but Skype and overseas internet links suddenly slowed to a crawl after this article appeared.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.

NingNaperville, IL
It's a great report, although the essence of the story is no surprise to most people.

Say, you put a hamster in one end of the box, closed the walls, opened the doors, it will get to the other end. Did the hamster get there on it's own? Yes. Are you not responsible for it? Of course you are.

Wen's family are simply exploiting the skewed rules they happen to be in a position to exploit. And who makes the rules? Right. So don't say he's not responsible just because he wasn't involved in the business dealings. A simple "not aware of it" is not enough to help you come clean.

And, by the way, when your wife makes 2 billion dollars, you have most certainly "personally benefited" from it and received "personal gain".
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED29

natusa
You state it is unclear how much the prime minister of China knows about the $2.7 billion in assets that his family has amassed. A reasonable guess would be 100%. It is an interesting story coming now when a leadership change is just around the corner there.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED10

Conor GrahamGalway, Ireland
In saying it is unclear how much he knows, the NYT is just displaying its knowledge of political politeness re the Chinese... obviously Wen has concerted the amassing of the fortune.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:49 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

James DWashington, DC
And I thought Brezhnev's collection of luxury cars was bad.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED13

The ChoirWA State
This is news? Really, people, wise up, nothing to see here. This will never change, it's human nature.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

christineCaifornia
These comments are very interesting. Most seem to think - what else is new?

But please consider Gandhi and what he was able to achieve and then compare him to Wen.

I would be most interested in your opinions on that comparison.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

Tim TengFremont
Gandhi wasn't able to keep his contry united (split into India and Pakistan), was assasinated by the same Hindu/Muslim religious upheaval, and mainly lived in our admiration for his non-violent civil disobedience.

I often wondered- had India remained under the crown for another decade, or two, longer (much like Hong Kong) and gained its independence footing as natural outgrowth of its wherewithal. Or, if he had more of Mao's mettle and luck (minus Mao's bad deeds)..

India might of had bigger economy than the US, today.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED2

RedRatSammamish, WA
Well let's take a look at India under Gandhi then and now. Let's also look at China at the time of Gandhi and look at it now. Who's ahead? I kinda think China has faired a tab bit better.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:28 p.m.

natusa
I assume Gandhi you are referring to is Mahatma Gandhi. On the other hand, If you meant the present day Gandhi's ruling India, it will be a close competition with their Chinese counterpart.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:28 p.m.

Clement R KnorrTucson, Arizona
Put a forensic accountant on the tail of US politicians and you will discover that a vast number of them are engaged in exactly the same sort of behavior. "Nothing is new under the sun."
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED57

RedRatSammamish, WA
You are right on target! Like to see that happen. Heck, I think the various investigations of Cheney only scratched the surface. And that is only one guy.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

usokHouston
It is a long shot. His final accounting report probably won't be published by any reputable journals unless .......
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:40 p.m.

BlackwaterSeattle
I love how more potentially scandalous news items keep surfacing so soon before the top-level reorganization next month of the Communist Party.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED7

darter9000Seattle, WA
China is working extra quickly to stunt their own growth... and despite what the 'super capitalists' of today may argue, this recession is still on their heads, they became wealthier as people lost jobs... job creators indeed.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

Alex B.San Francisco, CA
Being an American and living in America this shocks me that people in office use their power for personal gain.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED8

TerryONew York
As an American living in America, I think you sound rather naive.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:28 p.m.

ChasDPJersey
Why would any one be surprised that dictators become rich off the backs of their people. They are called dictators, it is what they are. The do as I say not as I do motto is old as the hills...look at leadership of Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan any number of nations...their leaders pee in golden toilets while the people do so in holes in the ground.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED17

nealmontana
And the leadership in the US is different? Especially the gop? The so called job creators? How so?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

RWASkagit Valley, WA
There is an old adage, which seems appropriate here... " Behind every great fortune lies a great crime." Shame on these materialist whose god is their accumulated fortune.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED27

alanfdnSan Francisco
Surprise, I never would have thought such a thing could happen in a "peoples republic"
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED5

Squifford BearSanta Monica, CA
Who says politics doesn't pay well! At least here our politicians steal in plain sight.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED8

LarryLos Angeles, CA
Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's the reverse.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED34

Jon D.NM
Under communism, a select few exploit society for the supposed benefit of the many.

Under capitalism, a select few exploit society and there's no pretension about serving anyone but the few.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:45 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

JokerGotham
I visited China in 2000 as a summer scholar.

The week I arrived, there was a criminal trial for some middle level guy who had been accused corruption Chen Kejie http://articles.latimes.com/2000/sep/15/news/mn-21541 or something like that.

Before the week was out, he had been convicted and executed. It was all over the news, a show trial and an example.

Also in the news was a $1 Billion telecommunications contract for an American firm whose main business partner was the son of one of the members of the central committee.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED23

Tim TengFremont
China's GDP and Laobaixing's lives are 3x better now than they were 10 years ago.

Vs. our GDP and lives were relative stagnant during the same time.

I'll take Premier Wen anytime.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

BingSeattle, WA
"People always get the government they deserve" so said Jefferson. And I am afraid your response just illustrates why the saying is so true. Sometime idealism and ideology were oversold as worth dying for. But in this case, it is totally the other around, for me at least - that a corrupt life is not worth living for. If Chinese people think they could tolerate "some" corruption in order to live a life they deserve, they would never get the life they truly deserve.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.RECOMMENDED16

forbetterworldBoston, MA
In the early morning of May 19, 1989, Zhao Ziyang went to Tiananmen square in his last public appearance urging the students to end the hunger strike and go back to school. He was accompanied by Wen Jiabao on that day. Wen was the Chief of the General Office of the Communist Party then. Both of them are considered reformers and student movement sympathizers in the party. 23 years later, Wen has been a great disappointment to me. Not only he hasn't pushed (or couldn't) for any meaningful political reform but got deep into the very political quagmires, scandals, and corruptions that he has spoken up against strongly in the past. His words don't match his deeds.

Or maybe I expected too much from him. In a corrupt political system under an authoritative regime, there is very little one, even with very strong will, can do to correct the wrongs and injustices. In the case of China, a society where the government controls the land, corporation, business deal, and even press, power translates into wealth. This is not news to many average Chinese citizens. Plenty of scandals and corruptions already made general public in China believe this is a social norm. More people just felt helpless and hopeless to really change any of these.

In my view, Wen and Hu have wasted a golden opportunity to really reform and change China's political system in the last 10 years when they are in power. They just kick the can down the road and hope Xi core will deal with the issue.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED19

AJNew York
This is just tremendous reporting. If only more such articles and exposes made their way into the public domain.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED47

DamonBoston
Hear, hear! Kudos, NYT!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:42 p.m.

us citizen who used to live in democracyunited states
China has always been good a replicating innovation in products, and I applaud them for it.

I am not surprised that the 1% in China have been good at replicating the same sort of "opportunities" to build assets that are used by our own elected officials in this great, former democracy, the US. We now live in an oligopy (sp). Apparantly just like China.

Best wishes to all the power brokers in the world with the good sense to get all they can for themselsves, and avoid their main civic duty.

Signing off as...
A patriot, a member of the 99% and a person who is watching our country devolve, due to the lack of a few great statesmen or stateswomen.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED13

TrevorNSydney Australia
Could it be that our western 1% who have 'offshored' their investments to China are propping up their Chinese 1% comrades and both are ripping off thier respective 99%'s...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:43 p.m.

HeminwayWindsor, Vermont
It would be refreshing if the Chinese leadership just said, yes, this is our system, look at our growth rate, it's working, period. Everyone else who does, or tries to do, business in China accepts that you can't get anything done without "guanxi" - connections, the higher the better. It's simply a given. There's zero "revelation" to anything in the article, it's simply the details that are unusual and impressively researched. However, it will be interesting to see what happens when ordinary Chinese see the scope of it all laid out in print by the NYT.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED5

Capt. PennySilicon Valley
Heminway,
Perhaps it could be read in print. But unless one has a VPN (virtual private network) in China one would not read the NY Times online. In my experience in China VPNs are generally restricted to expat companies and their employees, and occasionally the tech savvy who have friends outside China at universities and the like.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 1:17 a.m.RECOMMENDED6

MichaelLos Angeles
For millennnia, the Emperor in China owned everything, including the people, and was entitled to the best of everything. Having a child pass the civil service examination has been a cause for family celebrations from the time of Confucius to the present since it guaranteed a comfortable life and financial security. Nothing is different now, just the nature of the investments and the name of the ruling dynasty.

However, every few hundred years the peasants have overthrown a dynasty that became weak through intrigue and corruption. The Chinese people may not be eager or ready for electoral democracy, itself no guarantee against corruption, but through the internet and despite censorship they are aware and resentful of corruption in high places. This has roiled the leadership succession process going on in China now. The impact this will have within China and for the rest of the world is not clear. Instability in a country as large, rich, and powerful as China is not good.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED15

Alan BurnhamNewport, ME
Humans are the same everywhere. Power and money corrupt. Too bad the wisdom of the great Confucius is not in the forefront in our world and in our hearts. "The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell." "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." I think Confucius will be remembered for all time, hypocritical politicians not at all.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

JackIllinois
Let's not romanticize Confucius. The"superior man" is the leader. I believe that Confucius would approve of China's current system.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 1:17 a.m.RECOMMENDED9

Mr. SpockVulcan
Over time it's probably gotten easy for many of us to forget the ideological underpinnings of Communism, but the truth is it has always been a pretext for tyranny. Here we see the greed as well. Human nature will never change and there is no system of governance that can provide utopia. In fact, the ones that promise utopia are the ones that need be most feared.

The oligarchy of the leadership in China is a natural tendency in any society and one a Romney administration would facilitate. There's a natural tendency to consolidate ones holdings and to perpetuate the conditions to enrich ones family. It's just natural. That's why you need government to intervene and provide equal opportunity and access to those with under-privileged backgrounds. The founding fathers supported a 100% estate tax to prevent wealth and privilege from being perpetuated.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED5

nealmontana
Didn't the founding fathers suggest that taxes on profits and gains were appropriate and taxes on wages and labor were not? That seems to have flipped since.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.

Kenneth TruemanMontrealNYT Pick
Funny how the principles of communism are good enough for others, but not the leaders. I snicker when I see the princelings who come to study at Harvard and other bastions of the West.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED30

yasuaki toriiJapan
I was born in northern China and admired Mao Zu-dong's people's army. They teach me revolution and it's song. Shared their poor food ration with desperate Japanese child. They were all honest and first of all they were real human. Where are they now? Are there need more revolution? I read once more this article thoroughly and think about China again.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:52 p.m.RECOMMENDED58

Jane DaughertyWest Palm Beach, FL
Hugely important revelations. Incredibly impressive reporting. Bravo.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:48 p.m.RECOMMENDED101

DavidBrisbane, Australia
Revelations? That relatives, friends, neighbors and their pets of public officials of all levels and all countries (including that beacon of transparency USA) are rarely above parleying that closeness into private financial gain is such a trivially common place as to render plainly comical the Times' pretense at presenting this material about China as some kind of major expose. One has to wonder what motivated the paper of record to time publishing the so-called "revelations" so close before the leadership transition in China. Did the investigative journalists put equal efforts into discovering similar dealings surrounding incumbent and hopeful US public officials? Did those efforts turn up nothing worthy of reporting before American voters could make their choice?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:48 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

fintipst. john's
In its slow embrace of capitalism, it's perhaps not surprising that Chinese leaders would opt for the American model, wherein there are two routes to the accumulation of great wealth - only one of which involves earning it.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED32

Jim BCalifornia
It appears that China is doing things the opposite way from the United States. In China, those with the political power in the "People's Republic" have become an oligarchy dedicated to accumulating wealth. In the United States, those who have accumulated great wealth are now pursuing political power to transform our republic from a democracy to oligarchy.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED176
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Edward SevumeStockholm
Finally, we are seeing how money and politics are connected!
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

kartIndia
You hit the nail on the head.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

usokHouston
Very well said. "13 Bankers" by Simon Johnson & James Kwak demonstrated that.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:15 p.m.

wsfann arbor michigan
This is no surprise. Somebody must own the assets of China why not the family of the leader? Nepotism is surely the oldest economic tie that binds. Surely one does not allow perfect strangers to receive the largesse.

I am not being sarcastic in the paragraph above even though I think the situation stinks to high heaven. I am guilty of using cliches, however.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED18

ParikChevyChase, MD
Politicial ideology always seem to give way to greed and materialism, eh?
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:46 p.m.RECOMMENDED14

NingNaperville, IL
China's political system has stopped being driven by ideology a long long time ago.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.RECOMMENDED1

Pawnbroker1TumwaterWA
I wonder why anyone would need to steal more than a billion dollars?
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED51

christineCaifornia
It is not about the money accumulation, it is about power.

Big money equals great power.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

ErnieBayside, NY
In order to get 2 billion dollars.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

BoudouWashington
Ted Turner said it is difficult to spend more than $75,000,000 on yourself.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:51 p.m.

jHarris4104Austin TX
This is not surprising at all. After all, his last two names mean "family treasure".
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED10

DrewNew York
China has a 1%. USA has a 1%. Surprised?
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED19

J. TseFlushing, NY
If you have ever lived a day in China, you'll know that China's 1% make our 1% look like 10%. And since their government decides what goes in the newspaper, news media, the internet, their 1% is much more powerful. No freedom of press = super corruption. Surprised?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.RECOMMENDED24

BenMonterey, CA
The acquisitive voracity of the powerful knows no ideological limits. He's all too human - and, despite his power and property, mortal.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

MouseNYC
'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.'
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED32

JeffBoston
I'll admit, I am a bit dissapointed. I figured he could have amassed more than 2.4 billion.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED9

MattLos Angeles, CA
Incredible reporting - hat's off. Not particularly surprising, but this article could, and should, have significant global consequences.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED61

JayNashville, TN
When I try to share this article to Weibo, a hugely popular chinese equivalent of Twitter, the system said, "Your post cannot be published due to violation of law".

Even if Mr. Wen has no direct dealing with these transactions, all the people around him are approached by numerous people for business dealings, simply because they are relatives/friends/colleagues of Mr. Wen. It works pretty much like that anywhere in the world. The difference lies in the rule of law. There are laws in China prohibiting all kinds of things, but if you are rich and/or powerful, those rules just do not apply.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED35

MichaelHong Kong
Nothing new there. They are just self-censoring.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:41 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

muezzinSalt Lake City
"Everything I did was legal."

Sounds like another politically ambitious tycoon, who is domiciled closer to our shores. Unfortunately, he will not release his tax returns.

It is no surprising to hear that Chinese and Russian elites are essentially rent-seeking mafias bent on extracting value. It seems to me, however, that the revolving door between Wall Street, the Fed, government and assorted hedge/private equity funds essentially represents the same thing - influence peddling and rent seeking.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.RECOMMENDED76

JohnPalo Alto
This is the problem whenever there is big and powerful government. Corruption follows power, money follows power - which of these don't the readers understand.

The issues that happen in China is not due to capitalism. It is due to crony capitalism - a symptom that can occur when there is too much concentration of power within a small group of politicians. It is exactly what happens in Washington too.

The solution is simple - a limited and small government, with only essential funcitons like defence, security, etc.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely - it is a human nature. Count on it.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:44 p.m.RECOMMENDED8

Janet CampMilwaukee, Wisconsin
Verified
I don't see where the SIZE of government comes into it--defense is where a lot of the corruption of our own government is found.

Other than that, I agree with the gist of your comment.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 1:36 a.m.RECOMMENDED4

Brian SmithAverill Park, NY
Do we want to be an aristocracy too? Can we aspire to be a meritocracy?
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

a_aldana New York, NY
Term limits -- China needs them almost as much as the US.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED7

ROBERT DEL ROSSOBROOKLYN NY
In case you missed the memo, China limits the top 2 leaders (including Mr. Wen) to two five-year terms. Next month, China gets new leaders.

But the dictatorship is not embodied in a single person, like Stalin or Brezhnev, who can be senile after 25 years in power.

The dictatorship is embodied in the Communist Party as a whole. While the possibility of change is there, the dictatorship is more robust and more of a problem than the decrepit Soviet kind was.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.RECOMMENDED3

JackIllinois
Yes, China has a 5,000 year old culture. And this is how it has been for a majority of that time for the Chinese. Rulers and peasants, with a thick layer of bureaucrats.This is the true Chinese character. Wen is simply the modern iteration of the Chinese spirit.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED38

mclau005bDoylestown, PA
Communism at it's finest!
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED18

BenjaminDallas, Texas
What you are presenting as news is common knowledge in China. What's your next headline? "Humans breathe air!" "Sun rises in east." How boring this newspaper has become.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Heq BananaGuangzhou
Well la di da! Most of us aren't in China. Unless you're willing to translate the Chinese equivalent into English. But let me ask you, which of their newspapers are doing a similar exposé like this one on their front page, and that users can share on weibo? That's what I thought.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:25 p.m.RECOMMENDED3

Al CyoneNY
And yet here you are.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:25 p.m.

TDDallas
The family of Prime Minister of Nguyen Tan Dung (Vietnam) is probably more wealthy - they were rumored to amass between 2.5 to 25 billions of USD.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED7

Robert DanaNY 11937
Yes, but isn't wonderful to visit Viet Nam and observe all those happy citizens there flourishing under Communist rule?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:27 p.m.

CGWToronto
It revisits what the CCP and its historians always considered a major scourge of pre-revolutionary China--"bureaucratic capitalism." Apart from scale, how does the Wen family and other Party notables' dealings differ from those of H.H. Kung and the plutocrats who backed the Nationalists?
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Nick MetrowskyLongmont Colorado
Verified
NYT Pick
George Orwell, "Animal Farm". "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

I can see the body of Mao spinning in his glass coffin in Beijing right now. So much for the communist ideal of everyone is equal and everyone shares in the wealth of the state.

Well, we knew fro 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"?
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:09 p.m.RECOMMENDED111
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Edward GCA
I can see the body of Mao spinning in his glass coffin in Beijing right now. So much for the communist ideal of everyone is equal and everyone shares in the wealth of the state.

Are you kidding me??? This is how Mao lived his own life. This is communism and socialism at work.

Some animals are more equal than others - and they run the government.

What is surprising is that this was reported at all.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:49 p.m.

CityBumpkinEarth
I don't think Mao himself was ever very equal to the average Chinese, at least not since CCP took power. Or I should, Mao was always more equal than anyone else.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:18 p.m.

usokHouston
You are assuming that the wealth was gathered in an illegal fashion.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:18 p.m.

PadfootPortland, OR
Glad to know that the Communists are just like us.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED91
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MouseNYC
They are not 'just like us', as the US is a capitalist system which, for better or for worse, does not pretend that everyone must share and share alike.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:25 p.m.

MichaelHong Kong
@Jonathan

But when you consider their donations to politicians it tells you something. They donate to Dems and Reps, but no one else. And that no one else is as much political as being a politician oneself.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

flabrBerkeley, CA
Not really. They have banned the NYT news today in China.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:42 p.m.

nytfanshanghai
my goodness what a blockbuster by the nyt! does this mean everyone at the top is no different? wonder how the government will respond.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED32

TomUrbana, IllinoisNYT Pick
In the US, we repackage our corruption, call it national defense, and wrap it in patriotism.

In PRC, they do corruption the old fashioned way. This kind of bad PR will eventually force them to wise up and start laundering through defense contractors.

In the evolution of corruption, they're novices.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:07 p.m.RECOMMENDED248
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Combat VetPhoenix
Let give Chinese corruption an anti-American spint. Obama isn't a billionaire, Romney on his best day isn't, Bill Gates earned his billions the old fashioned way, he earned it, Microsoft is many things but its barely a defense contractor. neither is Warren Buffet. Three cheers for the red diaper babies.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED2

Jaded JadeNorth of the Border
"In the evolution of corruption, they're novices."

Well said. I wish I can recommend you millions of times....
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.

usokHouston
You should read "13 Bankers" by Simon Johnson & James Kwak. Wall Street is really the big corruptor.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:15 p.m.

DR SIDMass
Sickening.
But then our elected officials seem to get rich while in office.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:06 p.m.RECOMMENDED46

Combat VetPhoenix
It is too bad Milovan Đilas, the critic of Communism who irked Tito mightly by writing the "New Class," did not live to see this. Sometimes live just isn't fair.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:05 p.m.RECOMMENDED8

AndrewKaplan
...or a thief
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:05 p.m.RECOMMENDED8

Babbs6Chicago, IL
Smells like a hypocrite!
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:05 p.m.RECOMMENDED5

JamesSt. Paul, MN.
Despite language, culture, and political system differences, this article confirms the fact that the dishonesty and corruption in our two countries is far more similar than different. The wealth which can be quietly secured in both countries by our so-called
leaders is a crime against the citizens with virtually no chance of punishment.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:05 p.m.RECOMMENDED80

JackIllinois
Exaggerate much? America is like China?
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED13

kiljoy616USA
And if any of us where in their shoes would we be any different, jus look at preachers its no difference we live in reality and this is what reality is.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Andy HainCarmel, CA
Family, friends, community, networking = corruption in America or China? Tough audience.

Audience = those who watch while others do.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:49 p.m.

Mango JamMiami, Fla.
There's no capitalist ilke a communist!
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:05 p.m.RECOMMENDED90

BarryLexington, MANYT Pick
My grandmother from Belarus once explained to me the difference between communism and capitalism: The capitalist says "what's mine is mine and what's yours is yours"; the communist says "what's mine is mine and what's yours ... is also mine".
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.RECOMMENDED89
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usokHouston
It should be like the followings: My grandmother from Belarus once explained to me the difference between communism and capitalism: The capitalist says "what's mine is mine and what's yours is yours until I need yours for my Wall Street bailout"; the communist says "what's mine is mine and what's yours ... is also mine".
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:35 p.m.

LHNY
In China, we say the same thing. "mine is mine and yours is also mine, that is communism." =)
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:40 p.m.

E.T. BassSLC
"Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under Communism, it is the other way around." Often used by John Kenneth Gailbraith (sp?).

My parents fled Communism in China. I got to see the old house in Shanghai -- four peasant families "added." Just like in "Dr. Zhivago."

To those dumping on Mitt and GWB -- how's '44' and his two autobiographies doing? How did Bruce Springsteen's horse farm do this year? Bono's jet? Al Gore's $100,000,000 bet on "global warming?"
Oct. 27, 2012 at 12:39 a.m.

Joel FriedlanderHuntington Station, New York
Did you ever hear of a dictator, even of the proletariat, who didn't feather their own nests? In America it is done when the former legislator gets a job with a lobbying group. Follow the money and you'll see what is really happening.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.RECOMMENDED74

JackMiddletown, CT
"Steal a little and they throw you jail, steal a lot and they make you King." Bob Dylan
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.RECOMMENDED156
READ ALL 8 REPLIES

perfect stormChina
Can I say that it seems Bob borrowed the idea from an ancient Chinese wisdom?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

VladekNJ
Steal a line from a pop star and they sue you for plagiarism, steal a line from an ancient Chinese philosopher and they make you an inductee to the rock and roll hall of fame.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED4

JackIllinois
"We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." Aesop 620-560 BC
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.

DanJim Thorpe, PANYT Pick
Just like the rich folk in this country - I'm sure he'll be creating jobs with all that money.
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:02 p.m.RECOMMENDED83

USCAZNLA
Yes, agree, and not being sarcastic - which you may be..
Investment and capitalism does create jobs, and thatis whatis happening at all levels of business in China despite the communist party. Jobs are being created by the wealth creation made by Investment.
Oct. 26, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.RECOMMENDED1

Michael SWappingers Falls, NY
Verified
It good to be the King
Oct. 25, 2012 at 10:39 p.m.RECOMMENDED51

Andy HainCarmel, CA
So easy to criticize those who are first in line. It would have been just as good to get a land grant from the king, or even a 30-year, no money down, mortgage on real estate which one acquires in a weak, under-appreciated, under-developed area. (Or a colonial land). Oh, that's right.... that is the history of America, as well.

You shouldn't need someone to remind you that if everyone would have simultaneously participated at the beginning of such a cycle, it could not possibly have worked out successfully unless others followed along. Take one simple example - as of today, 43 years after the fact, what has it been worth to have been first to the moon?
Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.RECOMMENDED1


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