In this photo taken in 2001, Li Wangzhi is seen (in the back row on the far right) with a group of students waving the Republic of China (Taiwan) flag. [Photo from Tang Baiqiao via The Epoch Times]
Bloomberg has an excellent piece today detailing the business interests of the Bo Xilai clan. Particularly outstanding is the information they managed to piece together on Li Wangzhi, 34, Bo Xilai’s first son from another marriage:
Li Wangzhi graduated from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs in New York in 2003 with a master’s degree in international affairs, according to school records. He has also used the names Brendan Li, which appears in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and Li Xiaobai, which is on a posting on a Peking University- affiliated website.
From Columbia, Li started a career in private-equity investing that focused on companies based in Dalian. His father was mayor of the northeastern port city from 1993 to 2000, according to Bo Xilai’s official biography on the Xinhua News Agency.
A Brendan Li is listed as managing director for a Mauritius-registered company, Laoniu Investment Limited Co., according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission records. Li Wangzhi set up the Laoniu Fund, according to the Entrepreneur Club website. Laoniu Investment is an arm of the fund.
Li is also linked to Chong’er Investment and Consultancy Co. by office and e-mail addresses. Chong’er was a Chinese prince in the seventh century B.C. who fled his home in the ancient state of Jin, modern-day Shanxi province and the ancestral home of the Bo, Li and Gu families, because his father made his half-brother the crown prince. Chong’er eventually fought back and took the crown.
Chong’er Investment shared an address with Laoniu, though a visit showed the companies no longer occupy the offices in western Beijing listed in SEC filings. Chong’er has a second address, appearing on job recruiting websites, that matches that of Hacheers Fund, of which Li is a partner, according to his profile page on the Entrepreneur Club website. The website of the Peking University Career Center provides a Chong’er e-mail account for Hacheers job applicants.
Family tensions may again be signaled in Li Wangzhi’s use of the name Li Xiaobai on the Entrepreneur Club site. The moniker uses the same Chinese characters as the name of another seventh-century B.C. prince who successfully fought his brother to succeed their father.
Also referenced in the article is Li’s Columbia schoolmate, Tang Baiqiao, a former leader in the 1989 Tiananmen student protests, and now president of the Democracy Academy of China. Tang first spoke to Epoch Times, a paper affiliated to the outlawed Falungong spiritual movement, about his encounters with Li:
One of their first topics of conversation was the Tiananmen student movement and the massacre. Li said he was only a young teenager at the time so too young to understand when the events took place, but later gained a favorable impression of the Tiananmen participants through contact with faculty at Peking University Law School, where he obtained his first degree. This led him to doubt the official propaganda line.
At Thanksgiving, Li showed Tang his personal Yahoo website that focused on democracy and human rights in China, as Tang recalls. He particularly remembers one essay that Li shared on his Yahoo space, written by Peng Guozheng, a human rights activist who spent over 20 years in jail. The essay won an Epoch Times writing award, Tang recalls.
“Putting this article on his personal website shows that he loathed the Party’s human rights abuses, and wanted democracy in China. That was very risky for someone like him,” Tang said in a long interview over Skype.
Tang finally learned Li’s true identity when they stepped into a crowded elevator together one day. Li left first, and another friend from China asked Tang how it was that he became friends with the son of Bo Xilai. Tang had suspected Li had connections in China, but never imagined he was the son of hard-liner Bo.
But their camaraderie was short lived. A few days after Tang discovered his friend’s identity, Li disappeared. It was just before Christmas in 2001, and Tang was slightly alarmed. He heard later from peers that several Party minders, including Bo Xilai’s sister, had called Li to Boston for several days and given him a talking to. He was ordered to cease his friendship with Tang the “counterrevolutionary,” or he would be in trouble.
After that, when the two passed each other, Li would pretend not to see Tang, or secretly he’d acknowledge his erstwhile friend, but they never spoke.
In a separate article, the Epoch Times tells us about Li’s mother and Bo’s first wife Li Danyu, a princeling in her own right:
One of the most reliably resented characters of Chinese fiction is the Song dynasty dilettante scholar Chen Shimei, who ditched his wife and two children in order to advance his career in the capital through marrying the Emperor’s daughter. Eventually he was tracked down by the famous righteous official Bao Zheng, who had him decapitated.
Bo Xilai’s former wife, Li Danyu, likens Bo to a modern-day Chen, and has been intent on exposing her former husband’s unsavory marital history.
In 1976, Bo Xilai was a worker at the Hardware Repair Workshop of Beijing Second Light Industry Bureau. Almost 30, he was single, which was a concern for his family. Later he met Li Danyu, a doctor at the PLA General Hospital. Li’s father, Li Xuefeng, was a former Beijing Party Secretary, and was also an army comrade to Bo Yibo, Bo Xilai’s father. So Li Danyu was married to Bo, despite her higher social status. The following year, Li gave birth to Bo’s first son, then named Bo Wangzhi.
As he rose in rank, Bo grew tired of his plain-looking wife. So he began an affair with an in-law, Gu Kailai, whose older sister was married to Li Danyu’s older brother. Gu, 11 years younger than Bo, was then a good-looking graduate student at Peking University.
When Li Danyu heard the news, she went to various government agencies to complain about Bo’s betrayal, and threatened to never let Bo have peace if he went back to Beijing. Being an officer, Li’s marriage was supposed to have some additional form of protection under Chinese law. None dared offend Bo’s father by attempting to redress the matter, however. Ultimately Bo Yibo was able to have the marriage annulled, despite Li’s protests.
Regime organs, such as the Supreme Court and the All-China Women’s Federation, did not dare to punish Gu Kailai, though they were supposed to. Li frequently went to the offices of the All-China Women’s Federation in Beijing and loudly cursed Bo and Gu for hours; staff members learned to carefully avoid her, according to reports online.
The current whereabouts of Li Wangzhi are unknown but rumours on the dissident website Boxun say he may have been put under house arrest in Jinzhou by Bo Xilai’s former partner-in-crime Wang Lijun as a means of keeping Li Danyu silent about Bo’s past life.