The Rich, The Poor And The Oppressed

Inequalities of wealth exist not only in the West.

Granted, the tame news media will often highlight the income of politicians and how they benefit from public life, as was seen in the British expenses scandal, but there is more to it than that. Not unsurprisingly political leaders around the world try to enrich themselves and what we see in the West is comparatively small beans.

The Guardian describes how the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao’s family has accumulated billions:

“China has lashed out at a US newspaper report that premier Wen Jiabao’s family has amassed vast wealth worth at least $2.7bn (£1.68bn), censoring the New York Times website and questioning the paper’s motivations.

The story said Wen, widely seen as the humane face of China’s top leadership, was not directly linked to the holdings. But the association with such a fortune was in stark contrast to the man-of-the-people image he has cultivated.

The detailed account, based on company and regulatory filings, said several of Wen’s relatives had become extremely wealthy since his ascent to the top leadership, controlling assets whose total worth is more than the GDP of Burundi. In many cases their holdings were obscured by layers of partnerships and investment vehicles involving friends, colleagues or business partners. “

Wen Jiabao is not an exception, as the case of Xi Jinping shows:

“As Xi climbed the Communist Party ranks, his extended family expanded their business interests to include minerals, real estate and mobile-phone equipment, according to public documents compiled by Bloomberg.

Those interests include investments in companies with total assets of $376 million; an 18 percent indirect stake in a rare- earths company with $1.73 billion in assets; and a $20.2 million holding in a publicly traded technology company. The figures don’t account for liabilities and thus don’t reflect the family’s net worth. “

This is original article in the NTY, Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader.

But as China’s elites enriched themselves, Tibetans demonstrate their contempt for the Chinese dictatorship and struggle for basic human rights:

“BEIJING — A Tibetan man died on Friday after setting himself on fire in northwest China, state media and rights groups said, in the fourth self-immolation in the region in less than a week.

Lhamo Tseten, in his twenties, set himself on fire in front of a hospital in Xiahe, a county in western China’s Gansu province known as Sangchu in Tibetan, state-run news agency Xinhua said.

The self-immolation follows that of another Tibetan man, Dorje Rinchen, who set fire to himself near a military camp in the region on Tuesday. Two other Tibetan men have self-immolated in the same county since Saturday.

Nearly 60 ethnic Tibetans, many of them monks and nuns, have set themselves on fire in China since February 2009 to protest Beijing’s policies in Tibet, according to rights group Free Tibet. A small minority are thought to have survived.

Tseten called out for “freedom in Tibet and for the return of the Dalai Lama” while self-immolating, the London-based rights group Free Tibet said in a statement, citing eyewitnesses. “

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