Aside from the privileges they enjoy as a result of their political and business connections, Chinese “princelings” may also be well immune to the pervasive state security apparatus. John Garnaut tells a story of how Ji Pomin, son of a former vice premier, was dealt with by security forces for his role in spreading rumors of Jiang Zemin’s death two years ago. From Foreign Policy:
Two years ago, on June 4 — the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre and the most sensitive date in the Chinese political calendar — Ji Pomin received a text message from a high-placed friend: It said that former president Jiang Zemin had been taken to a military hospital in a critical condition. Ji fired off a coded message to hundreds of people in his address book to seek confirmation, asking: “The Supreme Old Master ascended to heaven?” Many of Ji’s politically connected friends forwarded the text to their friends, who misinterpreted the cryptic question as a statement. By June 6, overseas Chinese websites were reporting that former president Jiang Zemin was dead.
[...] A few days after Ji’s text message, he received a phone call from someone claiming to be from a parcel delivery service. They said the package was too big to fit down the lane in which he lived, so he walked to nearby Dongdan, one of Beijing’s busiest shopping areas, to collect it. Standing there, he said, in the blind spot between two security cameras outside an upmarket wedding photography store, were two burly men. They pulled a cloth hood over Ji’s head and bundled him into a car.
[...] The daylight abduction of a princeling like Ji, in downtown Beijing, shows just how delicate the subject of elite politics has become. That Ji wasn’t tortured, that he felt emboldened
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