The Internet reports: Famous economist is a spy!


Popular search terms related to economist Wu Jinglian (吴敬琏) today include “Wu Jinglian arrested,” “Wu Jinglian spy” and “Wu Jinglian intelligence.”

Netizens are looking for more information in support of the following (unsourced) news item that’s been getting wiped from forums and blogs this afternoon (screenshot):

According to a knowledgeable source: Wu Jinglian, noted Chinese economist and research fellow at the Developmental Research Center of the State Council, is being investigated on suspicion of spying for the USA.

The source told [] that while working for the Developmental Research Center of the State Council, Wu Jinglian published financial critiques on the mainland, in Hong Kong, and in international media, earning him the appellation “new rightist,” but he is also popular among grass-roots investors, who call him “the conscience of China’s economy.”

Wu Jinglian proposed the “casino theory” of China’s stock market, and upheld maintaining protecting market principles and protecting the livelihood of small investors. He is an academic celebrity in the eyes of the media and the public. In March, 2007, during CPPCC sessions, he made a series of controversial statements, mentioning among other things that ticket prices should not be raised during the Spring Festival rush, and that compensation for urban demolition should not be assessed according to market value. At an academic symposium held early this year at Peking University addressing the thirtieth anniversary of reform and opening up, Wu directly criticized the party’s political reform plan as lagging behind, and claimed that enormous interest groups were becoming an impediment to further reform. This statement won acclaim from intellectuals.

Reportedly, Wu had originally been scheduled to present a talk on the 30th in Shunyi, Beijing, a conference looking back on thirty years of economic reforms. Those in the industry are shocked at this news; more details are currently being sought.

2008.08.29 12:27

However, Caijing apparently interviewed Wu some time during the day today, while he was attending a meeting in Tianjin.

What’s interesting about this rumor is how the source, the ever-reliable Bοxun news agency, has gotten removed from the article. In some versions, the line beginning “The source told…” is rendered as 消息人士向xx表示, where the “xx” has been either automatically substituted by the forum software or manually changed by the poster to get around keyword blocks that are present on most blog and forum providers.

The version translated above gets rid of even the “xx,” resulting in an ungrammatical “消息人士向表示.”

Bοxun has already issued a grudging retraction but suggests that we’d all do well to wait and see whether Wu shows at his lecture on the 30th.


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