-by Ernie Diaz
Some of us at China Expat have been compared to divorced fathers, always promising their kids follow up visits, then forgetting all about them. No more. In act of earnest, it’s right back to the Hongerdai, China’s ruling class, turning socialist connections into gold like XO-quaffing alchemists.
Comforting, isn’t it? Or chilling. Just two generations from a Socialist Revolution, and the Red Nobility all have western degrees, and guaranteed VC a phone call away. Herein, a peep at the Hongerdai whose lives most closely resemble story lines from Dynasty.
The story lines of their parents, now that’s the stuff of motion pictures. You know, the ones that roll the credits just after Willie’s won the chocolate factory, and spare you the site of Willie the bloated fudge mason twenty years on, telling the poor Oompa Loompas they live in a socialist paradise. Li Xiaoyong’s father,Li Peng,Premiered China from ’87-’98, rolling on Tiananmen demonstrators, pulling the strings that raised the 3 Gorges dam.
But that was the unimaginative sequel. Toddler Li Peng lost his revolutionary writer father to KMT arrest and execution. If Chow Yun Fat would consent to play Zhou Enlai, who adopted orphan Li Peng and sent him to finishing school in the caves of Yan’an, we’d have the Chinese Captains Courageous.
Li Xiaoyong’s pic betrays that much-massaged look of the man who need never ask How Much? Question: did Li Peng, the little red mascot of Yan’an, experience even a tic of internal queasiness as his son poured hundreds of millions into Singapore property in order to become a citizen?
Other questions swirl around the name Li Xiaoyong: how far was he into the ’98 Xinguoda ponzi scheme, $80 million vanished and four executed as a result? Why did the police do nothing to intervene when protesters mobbed Beijing’s Xinhua afterwards, chanting, “Li Peng, give us back the money your son took!” See why Chinese parents stress obedience?
A quick rogue’s gallery, then, for although not prime-time-ready, the antics of these Hongerdai players mirror the Rothschild and Rockefeller scions’, and are therefore instructive:
Here’s who’s pulling those strings when an international company can’t get permission to set up in China until a “deal” is made. Zen Wei has one business principle, and one only – “Don’t bother with anything under 200 million.” Any organization over that shouldn’t be surprised if Zen offers assistance in going public, or in not suddenly going out of business.
Don’t let the Members Only jacket fool you, Jiang Miankang went to Drexel and was a resident scholar in Germany. Hell, Jiang Zeming could breed an intelligent child with Snookie. Not that it takes a high IQ to figure out your profit margin when you can get all the land for development you want, free. In 2003 Shanghai RE tycoon Zhang Zhengyi was brought up on corruption charges, but nothing stuck to his partner Jiang.
You want Teflon, though, look no further than Liu Lefei. His dad directed the CCP’s propaganda department, reminding us about paper tigers and abolition of private capital all the livelong day. Liu is CEO of CITIC’s private equity and security arms, setting a China-record $5.5 billion investment in 2006. We’ve got no dirt, but how did that lawyer in Idiocracy put it? “First of all, your honor, just look at ‘im.”
We promised Dynasty, though, and all the poor-little-rich-family dramas have the renegade son who won’t have anything to do with the family fortune. Li Hehe (huh huh, not hee hee) told his foreign minister dad right out of high school that he was going his own way. In a scene that no doubt would have capped off a season finale, Li senior told Hehe never to come back looking for favors.
Hehe commenced to working his way through U Penn, odd-jobs and top graduating honors to his credit. He took out loans for his dual degrees at Harvard Business School, and actually paid them back (China’s one place the college loan mob can’t get you.)
Then it was on to a job at Oracle, evaporated in the 9/11 attack. He didn’t come back to China until his father retired, figuring only then was it cool to start his Internet company. Tall, handsome, rich and royal, Li is a figure to arouse envy in male hearts, lust in female. The fact that he’s not a vile piece of work begs the question of who plays the lead in Red Descendants: the Series.
A tree grows in Beijing, folks. Among the Hongerdai we have a full-on philanthropist. Deng Xiaoping’s granddaughter grew up donating her pocket money to Project Hope and other charities, mostly under the example of grandma Zhao Lin. True grasp of noblesse even sent her off to rural Shanxi as a teenage volunteer teacher.
After that it was the U.S., for a psych degree from Wellesley. Back in Beijing, she started a PR company to help establish charitable organizations across China. Her favorite piece of advice from grandpa Deng, “It’s not intelligence that counts in dealing with people – it’s wisdom.” Dealing with people, dealing with life, wisdom helps more than power or money, rarer by far than the latter two. When the Hongerdai possess it, cialis without prescription wisdom can transform the land.