Thu, 24 Sep 2020

Hong Kong, August 13 (ANI): The three top leaders of Chinese Communist Party including President Xi Jinping, have relatives who own assets in Hong Kong, an investigation by the New York Times revealed.

Li Qianxin, the elder daughter of the Chinese Communist Party's No. 3 leader Li Zhanshu, is among them. She had quietly crafted a life in Hong Kong that traverses the city's financial elite and the secretive world of Chinese politics, The New York Times reported.

China's top leaders have inextricably linked themselves to the fate of Hong Kong, a report published in the New York Times said.

"Li (Qianxin) and other members of the Communist nobility are embedded in the fabric of Hong Kong's society and financial system, binding the former British colony closer to the mainland. By building alliances and putting their money into Hong Kong's real estate, China's top leaders have inextricably linked themselves to the fate of the city," it reported.

Qianxin has represented Hong Kong in Chinese provincial political advisory groups. She is the chairwoman of a state-owned investment bank based in Hong Kong that has long done business with the relatives of top Chinese officials.

Qianxin has bought a USD 15 million, four-story townhouse perched high above a beach in Hong Kong. Her partner owns a now-retired racehorse and spent hundreds of millions on a stake in the storied Peninsula Hotel that he later sold.

"Members of the Red aristocracy in China, including the princelings, have made huge investments in Hong Kong," said Willy Lam, an adjunct professor of China studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. "If Hong Kong suddenly loses its financial status, they cannot park their money here."The newly passed National Security Law could protect the families of the party's leaders by stopping the protests that wreaked havoc on the economy.

"One of the leadership's biggest exposures to Hong Kong is in real estate. Including Qianxin, relatives of three of the top four members of China's Communist Party have in recent years bought luxury homes in Hong Kong worth more than USD 51 million combined," the report read.

Qi Qiaoqiao, the older sister of Xi Jinping, China's president, started buying properties in Hong Kong as early as 1991, Hong Kong property records show. Qiaoqiao's daughter, Zhang Yannan, owns a villa in Repulse Bay, which she bought in 2009 for USD 19.3 million, and at least five other apartments, the city's property and company records indicate.

"There is often an assumption that simply being well connected is enough to get ahead in Chinese politics," said Rana Mitter, a professor of Chinese history and politics at Oxford University, who did not comment specifically about Qianxin. "Actually, there is still a great deal of interest in candidates proving themselves for higher office in institutions such as the Communist Youth League and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference."The report said that Qianxin like many other relatives of Chinese top officials keeps a low profile.

The Communist Party has long been secretive about the riches of many of its leaders' relatives, aware that such an accumulation of wealth could be seen as the elite abusing their privilege for personal gain. In Hong Kong, the party is also mindful that the presence of princelings could further fan resentment of Beijing.

In the mainland, there are few mentions of Zhanshu's family in the party-controlled news media, and "searches for his daughter's name on social media sites yield minimal results". A trip to Nangoucun, his ancestral village in northern Hebei Province, offered little insight about his children. (ANI)

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