While names such as Xi Jinping, Wang Qishan, Liu Yandong, and Bo Xilai were prominent as rising political stars in the recently concluded Party Congress, many China observers have noticed that they are often also labeled by the media as princelings. Senior Chinese journalist and a former editor of Bingdian (Freezing Point) Li Datong recently wrote a commentary on this topic. In Li’s analysis, the term “princeling” refer to the children of senior officials, particularly “to the children of those revolutionaries who played important roles in the Communist Party’s seizure of power in 1949.” However, this term is very often used more loosely to refer to an emerging cluster (or clusters) of political or business elites who also have family ties to those who are or were in power in the previous generation.
Who are these “Princelings?” This question has been one of the hottest topics among Chinese netizens for years. There are numerous versions of name lists circulating in Chinese cyberspace. For example, check out this one, this one, this one, and this one too. No source is identifiable for those lists, but at least these names can give China observers some idea of who these “Princelings” are and what Chinese netizens were saying about them.