Among thousands of Chinese users of tax havens revealed in the ICIJ files are relatives of the country’s top leaders and some of China’s wealthiest men and women. Find out their links to power and to the offshore economy.
Brother-in-law of President Xi Jinping
Details: Businessman whose star rose after marrying President Xi Jinping's older sister Qi Qiaoqiao. Formerly in the tobacco trade in Yunnan province. Deng, Qi and their daughter Zhang Yannan own millions of dollars in luxury properties in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Beijing. Patriarch Xi Zhongxun was a Communist revolutionary who ran the coastal province of Guangdong in the early 1980s and served in the central government until his retirement in 1988.
Comment: Despite repeated attempts, Deng Jiagui could not be reached for comment.
Son of former Premier Wen Jiabao
Details: Wen Yunsong is a western-educated venture capitalist and the son of former premier Wen Jiabao. Wen Yunsong, who also goes by the name Winston Wen, earned his MBA from Northwestern University in the U.S. and co-founded New Horizon Capital, a China-focused private equity firm bankrolled by Japan’s Softbank, Singapore’s Temasek, Deutsche Bank and others. Wen left New Horizon and took over as chairman of state-owned Chinese Satellite Communications Co. in 2012. While in power, his father Wen Jiabao cultivated an image of austerity and grandfatherly concern for China’s ordinary people, but a New York Times investigation revealed that Wen Jiabao's family had accumulated billions in stock, real estate and other assets. The newspaper’s website was blocked by Beijing after the story came out in 2012 and its journalists working in China had trouble getting visas renewed.
Comment: Wen Yunsong did not respond to ICIJ's repeated requests for comment.
Son-in-law of former Premier Wen Jiabao
Details: Liu Chunhang is a finance guru who works for China’s banking regulator and is the son-in-law of former premier Wen Jiabao. Liu has degrees from the Harvard Business School and Cambridge University and worked for Morgan Stanley in the United States. His wife Wen Ruchun, or Lily Chang, worked for the investment bank Credit Suisse in China. Liu joined the China Banking Regulatory Commission in 2006 and runs its statistics and research departments.
Comment: Despite repeated attempts, Liu Chunhang could not be reached for comment.
First cousin once removed of former President Hu Jintao
Details: Hu Yishi is chairman of a Hong Kong-listed steel company and son of Hu Jinxing, the cousin of former Chinese president Hu Jintao. Hu Yishi’s steel company Kai Yuan Holdings Limited acquired a significant stake in Rizhao Steel, a company founded by the Chinese steel billionaire Du Shuanghua, who admitted paying $9 million in bribes to Australian iron ore giant Rio Tinto (a Rio Tinto executive contested at the time the money was a loan not a bribe. Du was never charged with a crime).
Comment: Hu Yishi did not respond to ICIJ's repeated requests for comment.
Daughter of former Premier Li Peng
Details: Li Xiaolin is known as “China’s power queen” because she heads China Power International Development Limited, the Hong Kong-listed arm of one of China’s state-owned power monopolies. Forbes has named her one of the world’s 50 most powerful businesswomen. Her father, former premier Li Peng, is one of China’s most-hated officials for his role in orchestrating the bloody June 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Li Xiaolin is often criticized on Chinese social media sites for wearing designer outfits, which some see as a flaunting of her wealth and privilege. Others have questioned whether she gained her high position thanks to her father, a Moscow-trained hydro-engineer and leading force behind the massive Three Gorges dam project. Li Xiaolin is on the advisory body to China’s legislature.
Comment: Li Xiaolin did not respond to ICIJ's repeated requests comment.
Son-in-law of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping
Details: Wu Jianchang is a metals expert who has worked in China’s steel, copper and aluminum sectors and served as a delegate to the Chinese National People’s Congress. He is married to the painter Deng Lin, second daughter of the former supreme leader of China Deng Xiaoping.
Comment: Wu Jianchang did not respond to ICIJ's repeated requests for comment.
Son-in-law of a former central bank governor
Details: Che Feng is an investor and son-in-law of Dai Xianglong, the former head of China’s central bank and official in charge of China’s social security system. Che Feng is the chairman of Beijing Worthope Sathen Network Technology Co. Ltd. The New York Times has reported that while his father-in-law was still bank governor and oversaw China’s insurance industry, Che Feng was involved in the purchase of a large stake in a struggling insurance company in 2002 that went on to become hugely profitable. A spokesman for Che told the Times that while Che's relatives and friends invested in Ping An, he never held a stake in the company.
Comment: Despite repeated attempts, Che Feng could not be reached for comment.
Son of a former vice president
Details: Trained as a military engineer but went on to become one of China’s first IT industrialists. His father was the famous Communist General Wang Zhen. Until his retirement in 2004, Wang Zhi was the chairman of China’s first PC manufacturer, Great Wall Computer Group.
Comment: Despite repeated attempts, Wang Zhi could not be reached for comment.
Son of a former vice president
Details: Trained as an engineer, spent two years in the Navy before launching a business career that included nearly three decades in senior posts at China’s state-owned investment company China International Trust and Investment Corporation (the Citic Group). Also a founder of Poly Group, a military spin-off that grew into a billion-dollar conglomerate engaged in arms sales, real estate, and energy investment. Son of Wang Zhen, a high-ranking Chinese general who served as vice president in the early 1990’s. Since retiring in 2006, Wang has headed a Hong Kong-listed consulting company and serves on the board of several listed firms working in the natural resources sector.
Comment: A spokeswoman for Wang Jun, Freda Chan, said Citic Petroleum in the British Virgin Islands was set up by Citic Group but the company was never used after its establishment.
Son of one of 'Eight Elders' of the Communist Party
Details: Fu Liang launched his career in the rail sector then moved into the leisure business investing in yacht clubs and golf courses including the Shenzhen Noble Merchants Golf Club close to Hong Kong. He is the son of Peng Zhen, a Communist revolutionary veteran who served as mayor of Beijing and head of China’s legislature.
Comment: Fu Liang did not respond to ICIJ's repeated requests for comment.
Nephew of one of PRC's founders
Details: Yeh Shuen-ji is president of the investment consultant company Guo Ye Holdings and chief advisor to the Hong Kong-listed Yuxing Infotech Holdings. His uncle was the famous People’s Liberation Army Marshal Ye Jianying. He also served as an executive director of the SEEC Media Group Ltd., publisher of leading finance magazine Caijing, and China editions of Sports Illustrated and Time Out.
Comment: Yeh Shuen-ji did not respond to ICIJ's repeated requests for comment.
Grandaughter of a former vice president
Details: Wang Jingjing, also known as Wong King-king, is a player in China’s power and Internet sectors. Both of her parents are red nobility. Her paternal grandfather Wang Zhen was a war hero and Communist revolutionary who served as a vice president in the early 1990s. Her maternal grandfather was a marshal in the People’s Liberation Army and a high-ranking official. Her father used to be chairman of CITIC, a state-owned investment company and Poly Group, a real estate and energy conglomerate and leading Chinese arms trading company.
Comment: Wang Jingjing did not respond to ICIJ's repeated requests for comment.
Grandson of one of best-known PLA commanders
Details: Su Zhijun is an executive focused on logistics and real estate and the grandson of one of China’s top revolutionary commanders Su Yu. Su Zhijun’s father was a deputy manager at China’s largest shipping company China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO). Su Zhijun is chairman of P&T (Hong Kong) Group Ltd.
Comment: Su Zhijun did not respond to ICIJ's repeated requests for comment.
Co-founder of Internet giant Tencent
Details: Ma is known in China as the Father of QQ, the country's most popular instant messenger. In 1998 he founded his company Tencent Inc. with his former classmate Zhang Zhidong. Today Tencent is one of China’s most profitable online firms. Along with QQ, which has almost 800 million accounts, Tencent has launched the popular mobile app Wechat, which boasts 300 million users.
Comment: A spokeswoman for Ma said TCH Pi is a Tencent company that “has nothing to do with [Ma or Zhang] personally.”
China's richest woman
Details: Yang became China’s richest person when she was just 26 years old – inheriting a fortune from her dad, a one-time farmer and construction worker who built a real estate empire. Forbes put her at the top of its China's richest list in 2007, soon after the high-end property development firm her father founded went public on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Her dad, Yang Guoqiang, had transferred majority control of the company, Country Garden Holdings, to her two years before. She’s now the company’s vice chairman and largest shareholder.
Comment: Yang Huiyan could not be reached for comment.
Co-founder of property developer SOHO China
Details: Zhang is one of China’s most powerful real estate developers. After studying economics in the U.K., she worked on Wall Street as an analyst at Goldman Sachs and as an investment banker at Travelers Group. She returned to China and in 1995 she and her husband, Pan Shiyi, founded their development firm, Soho China, quickly becoming important players amid the country’s construction boom. “She is moody, romantic, but a very shrewd businesswoman,” a friend of Zhang’s said in a 2005 New Yorker magazine profile of the couple. “It’s a potent combination.”
Comment: Through a spokesperson, Zhang Xin declined to answer ICIJ's repeated requests for comment.
Co-founder of Internet giant Tencent
Details: Zhang founded the company Tencent Inc. in 1998 with his former classmate, Ma Huateng. Tencent is one of China’s most profitable online firms. Its popular mobile app, Wechat, has some 300 million users.
Comment: A spokeswoman for Zhang said TCH Pi is a Tencent company that “has nothing to do with [Ma or Zhang] personally.”
Chairman of Yintai Group
Details: Shen rose from poverty to build one of China’s biggest retailers, employing more than 100,000 people. His holding firm, Yintai Holdings Co. Ltd., is also active in real estate and coal mining. He started his first department stores in 1997 and within 10 years had listed his retail chain on Hong Kong’s stock exchange via a wildly successful initial public offering. Shen is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body to China's legislature.
Comment: Despite repeated attempts, Shen Guojun could not be reached for comment.
Chairman of web video giant Leshi
Details: Jia is the man behind China’s equivalent of YouTube. He’s the founder and chairman of Leshi Internet Information and Technology Corp. The main service of his Beijing-based firm is Leshi TV — an online portal offering video and movie streams.
Comment: Jia Yueting did not respond to ICIJ's requests for comments.
Jailed founder of GOME appliances chain
Details: Huang Guangyu and his wife Du Juan once headed China’s richest family. They earned billions with their company, GOME Group, the largest consumer electronic retailer in China. In November 2008, authorities accused Huang of stock market manipulation. Huang resigned as GOME’s chairman in January 2009. A Chinese court sentenced him to 14 years in prison. Du Juan was also convicted of related charges but was released early from prison in 2010.
Comment: Huang Guangyu is in prison and could not be reached for comment. A public relations firm working for GOME sent ICIJ the company's annual report and other publicly available data but did not answer ICIJ's questions about Huang Guangyu's offshore companies.
GOME executive and wife of founder
Details: Until a few years ago Du Juan and her husband Huang Guangyu headed China’s richest family. They earned billions with their company, GOME Group, the largest consumer electronic retailer in China. In November 2008 their success streak was over. Chinese authorities accused Huang of stock market manipulation. Huang resigned as GOME’s chairman in January 2009. A Chinese court sentenced him to 14 years in prison. Du Juan was also convicted of related charges but was released from prison in 2010 before completing her sentence
Comment: Du Juan could not be reached for comment.
Chairman of Oceanwide
Details: Lu leads one of the largest conglomerates in China. He is chairman of China Oceanwide Group of Beijing, a sprawling empire that’s active in real estate, finance and computers and has investments in companies such as China Minsheng Bank. He is also chairman and president of China Fanhai Group Co., Ltd. as well as a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, an important advisory body.
Comment: Lu Zhiqiang did not respond to ICIJ's repeated requests for comment.
Chairman of Tiens Group
Details: Li commands a corporate empire that reaches more than 190 countries and includes interests in biotechnology, health management, tourism, educations, e-commerce and real estate. The chairman of Tiens Group Co. Ltd dropped out of school and worked in oil fields before making his way in business. He’s said to be fond of proclaiming: “When the enterprise is small, it belongs to the boss; when the enterprise grows larger, it belongs to the whole society.” He was named China’s "Most Philanthropic Entrepreneur" in 2010.
Comment: Li Jinyuan did not respond to ICIJ's requests for comment.
Founder of Zendai Investment Group
Details: Dai is one of Shanghai’s most successful real estate developers and a well-known art collector in China. Dai was born in 1964 into a family of peasant farmers in Jiangsu province. He founded his Zendai Investment Group in 1994. He told the BBC that went into business instead of government so he could repay his family for putting him through school. From there, he said, it was “just go, go, go.”
Comment: A spokeswoman for Dai Zhikang said in an email: "Dorsing Star was a company incorporated by Mr. Dai for family trust purposes. Mr. Dai transferred 1,000,000,000 shares of Shanghai Zendai Property Limited to Dorisng Star [sic] from Giant Glory Assets Limited in year 2008. In 2012, the assets in Dorisng Star [sic] were distributed to the beneficiaries. Since then, Dorsing Star remains dormant." The spokeswoman also said that currently Dai does not hold an interest in Tempo Asset Management (Asia) Co., Ltd.
Chairman of Rizhao Holding Group
Details: Du is a controversial steel tycoon and the Chairman of Rizhao Steel Holding Group Co., Ltd. In 2010, he testified that he paid a $9 million "consideration," or bribe, to an executive of mining giant Rio Tinto (the executive in turn said that it had been a loan not a bribe). Four Rio Tinto executives were convicted to jail terms but Du was never charged with a crime. In May 2011, his divorce got nationwide attention in China.
Comment: Du Shuanghua did not respond to ICIJ's request for comment.
Chairman of Shenzhou International
Details: Ma Jianrong is a top garment manufacturer who supplies such international brands as Nike and Adidas. He’s chairman of Shenzhou International Group Holdings Limited, which makes, processes and sells knitwear and is traded on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Ma is also a political player, as a deputy to the People’s Congress of Zhejiang Province.
Comment: Kenji Chan, financial controller for Shenzhou group, said CRN (HK) LTD. currently is not a member of Shenzhou Group, "so we have not comment."
Founder of Sound Global
Details: Wen Yibo is China’s top water and wastewater treatment mogul. He worked in government as an engineer with China’s Ministry of Chemical Engineering before he and his wife, Zhang Huiming, co-founded their business. Sound Global Ltd. is the country’s largest environmental technology firm and is traded on the Hong Kong and Singapore stock exchanges.
Comment: Wen Yibo did not respond to ICIJ's repeated requests for comment.
Founder of solar-panel maker Suntech
Details: Shi, a solar power tycoon who was once China’s richest man, has seen his fortunes fall. The firm he started in 2001, Suntech Power, grew to become the world’s largest solar company, earning a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Suntech was undone by overexpansion and plummeting market prices. In early 2013 Shi quit as chairman and his debt-burdened company filed bankruptcy. Chinese media say he’s currently not allowed to leave the country.
Comment: Shi Zhengrong did not respond to ICIJ's requests for comments.
Jailed Shanghai property developer
Details: Zhou went from being the richest man in Shanghai to being a prison inmate. He began his career selling noodles and underwear on the street before branching into restaurants, real estate and other ventures. Zhou became known for wearing Italian designer suits and wheeling his red Ferrari around Shanghai. Things took a turn for him in 2003 when he came under investigation on charges of illegally acquiring state land and bank loans. In 2007 Zhou was accused of offering bribes and forging tax documents and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Comment: Zhou Zhengyi is in prison and could not be reached for comment.
Illustrations: Jesús Pérez. Photos: AP, Ming Pao, Angélica Rivera de Peña (CC BY-SA), World Economic Forum (CC BY-SA) and White House.
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