Pictured: Ming Chai (image via The Age)
In late July, the Australian 60 Minutes TV show and the newspapers The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Ming Chai (齐明 Qí Míng), the cousin of Xi Jinping, is a high roller at Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia.
Philip Wen and Chun Han Wong of the Wall Street Journal followed up on this extremely rare revelation about the family of the top Chinese Communist Party leader, in a report titled, Chinese president Xi Jinping’s cousin draws scrutiny of Australian Authorities. The report said that Chai has “links to…one man under investigation for money-laundering,” adding, “Over 18 months in 2012 and 2013, Mr. Chai bet about $39 million at the casino,” and “There is no indication that Mr. Xi did anything to advance Mr. Chai’s interests, nor that the Chinese leader has any knowledge of his cousin’s business and gambling activities.”
But this attempt to shed light on the finances of Xi Jinping’s family apparently went over a red line for Beijing, because Chun Han Wong — a Singaporean national — has been denied his journalist credentials, the Washington Post reports. New York Times diplomatic reporter Edward Wong noted that it is one of several instances of denied visas for reporters in recent years, but stated that “this is the first time China has taken this action against such a large US news organization.”
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China says that “Wong is the sixth journalist to leave China under such circumstances since 2013,” and added in a statement:
Expulsions amount to an extreme attempt by Chinese authorities to punish news organizations that conduct factual work that does not cast the country or its leadership in a flattering light. Foreign correspondents are not propaganda workers, and should not be treated as such.