Dynasty of the patriarch finds it politic to tread more humbly

While the emperor lived, his offspring made the most of the opportunities, whether it was business openings, lucrative book deals, or selling artwork. Those who sought out the patriarch's children must have assumed a Deng business partner or the purchase of an expensive painting by a Deng daughter might open up other channels of useful communication.

Now Deng is dead, his five children will have to tread more carefully if they are to keep their privileges. Resentment among ordinary Chinese runs strongly against such "princelings". The current leaders are unlikely explicitly to target the children in the short term but will demand that they fall into line behind the current leadership strategy for a smooth transition. After today's memorial service, the Deng family may find it prudent to adopt a lower profile now their main claim to influence is gone.

In the closing years of Deng's life his children and his wife, Zhuo Lin, controlled who crossed the threshold of the antechamber. His favourite daughter, Deng Rong, was his secretary, accompanying to translate his heavy Sichuan accent into standard Chinese and to bellow the comments of others into his less-deaf ear.

When she wrote a hagiography of her father, the foreign publishing rights were snapped up by Rupert Murdoch, for a reported $1m. Property deals in Shenzhen were another sideline.

In some instances, family members found themselves close to scandal, though never directly implicated. Deng Rong's husband, He Ping, was in an embarrassing position last year when a subsidiary of the China Poly firm, where he held a top post, was linked to an operation smuggling Chinese AK-47s into the US.

One of Deng's sons, Deng Zhifang, stepped down in 1995 from a position at a Hong Kong listed subsidiary of the mainland state steel giant Shougang Corp after an associate, Zhou Beifang, who was head of another Hong Kong Shougang company, was arrested on corruption charges and subsequently given a suspended death sentence.

The eldest son, Deng Pufang, who has been in a wheelchair since jumping out of a window during the Cultural Revolution when persecuted by Red Guards, saw his Kang Hua investment company closed in the Eighties on allegations of irregular business activities.

Deng Lin, the rather jovial artistic eldest daughter, shunned politics and business in favour of painting, and her works have enjoyed considerable popularity, as well as healthy prices. In Hong Kong in 1993, she exhibited a series of large carpet-tapestries which were priced at up to pounds 30,000.

"Deng Lin bear the benefits and burdens of her father's power," said the catalogue. She wanted to be judged "without prejudice". Her husband, Wu Jianchang, found his marital connections no hindrance to building up a small business empire in Hong Kong, heading three quoted subsidiaries of the state China National Non-Ferrous Metals Industry Corporation.

The most overtly political of Mr Deng's children is Deng Nan, a physicist who is vice-minister of the Science and Technology Commission. Her political influence behind the scenes is difficult to gauge, but she was rumoured to have persuaded her father to make his southern tour in 1992, the event which sparked China's recent economic boom.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Industrial Gas Burner Engineer

£26000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Industrial Gas Burner Engine...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Inside Sales Manager - Accountancy Software - £80,000 OTE

£50000 - £60000 per annum + £80,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Reading , Sou...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - BIM Software - £55,000 OTE

£40000 per annum + OTE £55,000 +Pension : h2 Recruit Ltd: An excellent opportu...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital