The following post from user “LifeTime” was deleted from Weibo sometime before 8:31AM today, February 10, 2015, less than 12 hours after it was posted. The post refers to the recent leak of client data from the Swiss branch of HSBC bank, and makes only passing reference to “Moral Sister” (道德姐), a nickname given to Li Xiaolin (李小琳), the daughter of former Chinese premier Li Peng. [Explore more deleted posts by using the Weiboscope, created by the Journalism & Media Studies Centre.]
How did the Swiss scandal involving “Moral Sister” begin? Yesterday social media all over the world were hotly discussing a list released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The news, unfortunately, is true. Hervé Falciani, a 43 year-old former employee of HSBC’s Swiss banking arm, is a computer engineer, and he made off with information about the banks customers. He was arrested in Lebanon in 2008 as he was selling the information. [NOTE: According to media accounts, Falciani was in fact arrested in Geneva after returning from Lebanon.] Somehow released later, Falciani fled to France, and since then he has openly released all of the [bank] customer information he stole.
Presumably, it was the oblique reference to Li Xiaolin that made this post off limits for Sina Weibo.
Here is what ICIJ wrote of Li as it discussed its findings:
In a reflection of the sheer variety of names in the data, others who appear are Li Xiaolin, the daughter of former Chinese Premier Li Peng, famous for his role in the Tiananmen Square massacre; Joseph Fok, a judge on Hong Kong’s highest court, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the beloved cousin of Queen Elizabeth II of England and his wife.
The account that can be linked to the prince and princess was held in the name of their company, Cantium Services Limited. A representative for the couple said the account “never received nor held any funds” and was closed in 2009. Li Xiaolin is listed, along with her husband, as a beneficial owner of an account that held $2.5 million. Fok is listed as the holder of an account that was closed in 2002. They did not respond to requests for comment.
Li Xiaolin’s bio link on the ICIJ site is here.
The original Chinese-language post follows: