Saturday, November 3, 2012

Wen Jiabao Family Retains Lawyers In Response to New York Times Article, Sina Weibo Censors Their Names

At around 5:00 am (Beijing Time) on October 26, the New York Times Published an article entitled "Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader" (总理家人隐秘的财富). An excerpt:
Many relatives of Wen Jiabao, including his son, daughter, younger brother and brother-in-law, have become extraordinarily wealthy during his leadership, an investigation by The New York Times shows. A review of corporate and regulatory records indicates that the prime minister’s relatives, some of whom have a knack for aggressive deal-making, including his wife, have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion.
On October 27, overseas media reported that they had received  statements from Wang Weidong (王卫东) of Grandall Law Firm and Bai Tao (白涛) from Jun He Law Offices saying they were contacted to represent the Wen family after the New York Times published an article.

Here is their statement:
1. The so-called "hidden riches" of Wen Jiabao's family members in The New York Times' report does not exist.

2. Some of Wen Jiabao's family members have not engaged in business activities. Some were engaged in business activities, but they did not carry out any illegal business activity. They do not hold shares of any companies.

3. The mother of Wen Jiabao, except receiving salary/pension according to the regulation, has never had any income or property.

4. Wen Jiabao has never played any role in the business activities of his family members, still less has he allowed his family members' business activities to have any influence on his formulation and execution of policies.

5. Other relatives of Wen Jiabao and the "friends" and "colleagues" of those relative are responsible for all their own business activities.

6. We will continue to make clarifications regarding untrue reports by The New York Times, and reserve the right to hold it legally responsible. 
君合律师事务所律师 白涛
国浩律师(北京)事务所律师 王卫东
On October 29, 2012, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Hong Lei (洪磊) told reporters at a regularly-scheduled press conference that "Premier Wen Jiabao's family has entrusted lawyers to release a statement and will continue to clarify the report." The MFA did not include this statement in the transcript of the press conference it published on its website (see here -

These screenshots were taken on October 30, 2012, and show that searches for "Wang Weidong" and "Bai Tao" on Sina Weibo returned no results, just a censorship notice.

This screenshot was taken on November 2, 2012, and shows that a search on Baidu News for "Wang Weidong Bai Tao" returns no results.