Chairman Mao’s granddaughter has finished a lofty 242nd in a new Chinese rich list.
Chinese magazine New Fortune‘s “500 Rich List for 2013” was published this week. One of its most eye-catching entrants was Kong Dongmei, whose grandfather Mao Zedong – better known as Chairman Mao – was China’s founding Communist leader.
The irony of a Communist leader’s grandchild making a rich list seems, well, a little rich.
It’s also not been lost on the Chinese population, reports NBC – especially after another grandchild of Mao, Major General Mao Xinyu, told Chinese media in 2009:
“The Mao Family heritage is honest and clean. None of the Mao family members have entered business. They all live on their modest salaries.”
It’s true that Kong has written four bestsellers about her grandfather, and operates a bookstore specializing in Communist culture.
Yet the vast wealth of her and husband Chen Dongsheng (together, their assets are estimated by New Fortune to be $815 million) has aroused suspicion in a country that still treats the rich with a level of cynicism.
NBC points out that appearing in such a list can prove troublesome for China’s wealthiest.
A 2012 study entitled “The Price of Being a Billionaire in China: Evidence Based on Hurun Rich List” discovered that the highest-ranked companies on rich lists saw their market values dwindle in the following years after government subsidies were cut, tax audits increased, and financial investigations were deployed.
Whether Chairman Mao’s granddaughter will suffer a similar fate remains to be seen.