Thursday, August 16, 2007

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Chen Liangyu
The Proverbial Old Block

I've always been somewhat fascinated by the children of political figures. Whether it was looking up the Chelsea Clinton Online Fan Club back when I was in college or trying to find a picture online of Hu Jintao's daughter, the fact that these semi-godly figures have offspring seems a good chance to humanize them a bit.

So when a Danwei-linked article in Caijing mentioned deposed Shanghai honcho Chen Liangyu's son Chen Weili, I had to do a little research.

Running a media company and one of Huawen’s subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Chen Weili departed for America last September, although many sources say he has returned to China.

That was the last sentence in the Caijing article, dated 2007-08-13. A little searching turned up that Chen graduated from the University of Liverpool's soccer-MBA program in 1994, and then used his father's connections to score a position as 申花足球俱乐部副总经理, the Shanghai Shenhua soccer team's vice-manager. Awesome! However, when his dad came under investigation last year over the use of public funds to bankroll his friends' private investments, Chen Weili fled to the US sometime near the end of the year. His libido got the best of him when he was apprehended by the local authorities in May while rendezvousing with his Shanghai girlfriend in Malaysia; Chinese police had been eavesdropping on their plans and alerted the KL coppers (hmm, now that would be a challenge, to find his gf's identity). Bummer! Unfortunately for the younger Chen, Malaysia's extradition treaty with China earned him a quick trip home, where evidence collected from him implicated his dad in even more financial scumbaggery. Super-bummer!

(One news item mentions that he had several investments in restoration projects on the Bund, one with the Rockefeller Foundation; I wonder if that's the one at the little park at the south end of the Garden Bridge/外白渡桥. And an article in Radio Free Asia (super-proxy required) says that Jiang Zemin's son Jiang Mianheng didn't make it onto this fall's 17th CCP National Congress invite list; tack another loss onto the Shanghai clique's tally! Ouch!)

(The Caijing article is a great translation, by the way, with lines like: "Over 20 people have been implicated in the scandal, including Chen’s cronies, loyal aides, power brokers and market rainmakers, each of them acting as a cog in the machinery of corrupt politics" and calling one lawbreaker a "smooth operator". Nice!)

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