Date
25 July 2017
Chinese authorities have been stripping away Li Xiaolin's privileges over the past two years. Li, the daughter of former premier Li Peng, is believed to be under an anti-graft investigation. Photo: HKEJ
Chinese authorities have been stripping away Li Xiaolin's privileges over the past two years. Li, the daughter of former premier Li Peng, is believed to be under an anti-graft investigation. Photo: HKEJ

How times have changed for China’s ‘Power Queen’

Dubbed as China’s “Power Queen”, Li Xiaolin had always been known for her designer clothes and other expensive tastes.

But over the past year, she has kept a relatively low profile, transforming herself from a Birkin-bag-loving lady into someone who doesn’t mind being seen with a canvas tote in public.

Li, the daughter of former premier Li Peng, had been the chairwoman of state-run electricity giant China Power Investment Group for 12 years.

On May 29, the group and the State Nuclear Power Technology formally announced that they will merge and form a entity, National Power Investment Corporation. But Li was not included in the new management team.

She has been transferred to Datang Power Group as deputy general manager. Clearly, this is a demotion which took most people by surprise.

Li was supposed to report for duty at her new job last week, but she hasn’t turned up at the Datang Power office yet. This suggests that she hasn’t yet reconciled to her changed fortunes. 

Although she is no longer the chairwoman of the China Power Investment Group, she is still officially the director of the Hong Kong-listed China Power International Development Ltd. (02380.HK).

On Tuesday this week, Li did not attend the listed firm’s shareholders’ meeting in Hong Kong. The company said there is nothing unusual about Li’s absence as even in the past she didn’t attend all such events.

But according to an online media report, Li initially planned to come to Hong Kong for the June 9 meeting but was told by Chinese authorities at the last minute that she cannot leave Beijing.

Sources confirmed to Apple Daily that Li was removed from her previous post because she is now being investigated for corruption. Because of this reason, she has apparently been banned from leaving the country at the moment.

Li was said to have been so shocked when she was told that she couldn’t leave Beijing, that she immediately lost her temper and also broke into tears.

Since President Xi Jinping took the reins of China a couple of years ago, “crown princes” have been in his crosshairs as part of an anti-graft campaign.

All eyes are now on the next moves of the Xi-led administration.

Earlier this month, Qin Feng, a news director of Hong Kong Satellite TV and the nephew of former foreign minister Li Zhaoxing, mentioned about the Li Peng family subtly on his Weibo account.

“The grandfather is still in good shape. What they have done to the princess was very mild.”

Li Xiaolin was named one of the world’s 50 “Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune in 2010. However, step by step, the Communist Party has been stripping away her privileges, making her lose power rapidly during the last two years.

When Li learnt that she was no longer the head of China Power Investment Group, she became so furious that she slammed the door violently as she strode into her office, mainland media reported.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RC

EJ Insight writer

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe