The missing Chinese entrepreneur reappears before the book is published


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Chinese policy and policy updates

The Chinese businesswoman, who struck deals with some of the country’s most powerful officials and their families, briefly appeared after a four-year disappearance, says her ex-husband and former business partner.

Duan Weihong’s business dealings with Zhang Beili, the wife of former Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, are the subject of a new book Desmond Shum, scheduled for release on Tuesday.

Shum told us National Public Radio that on the eve of the book’s release he had received two calls from Duan, also known by her English name Whitney.

According to Shum, Duan said she was on a “temporary release” and asked him to cancel the release. Red roulette, which has been widely reviewed over the past week.

“She said I could bring her back at any time,” added Shum, who thinks Duan is under “house arrest,” and her actions remain strictly controlled by Chinese authorities.

Duane also spoke with the former couple’s 12-year-old son, who lives with his father in the UK and was just eight when she disappeared in September 2017.

In an interview with the Financial Times on August 30, Shum said he hoped the book would force Chinese authorities to confirm Duan’s whereabouts.

He added that a well-connected friend in Beijing had warned him that he “would not let her come out alive” —or would only let her go in a vegetative state. “I was shocked when I heard that,” Shum said. “It always circulates in my mind.”

In addition to dealing with Wen’s family, Duan was also close with Sun Zhengcai, the youngest member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo and a possible successor to President Xi Jinping, until he was arrested for alleged corruption in July 2017.

It is now widely expected that Xi will take the unprecedented third term as secretary general at the party’s 20th congress late next year.

Shum said Zhang typically took a 30 percent stake in projects and investments that helped him and Duan access. Wen and Zhang, whom Duan and Shum affectionately called “aunts,” were never charged with misdemeanors.

It is still unclear who held Duan. Although it is common for high-ranking Chinese business and political figures to disappear for long periods of time during party or national security investigations, their detention is usually confirmed either by the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspections, or by prosecutors and courts dealing with their cases.

In July 2017, he was Xiao Jianhua, a financier with ties to senior party officials kidnapped from the Hong Kong hotel Four Seasons by Chinese public security agents and taken across the border, according to people familiar with his disappearance. Xia’s whereabouts remain a mystery.


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