Blast from past may block rise of Shanghai Party boss to Politburo Standing Committee

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By Willy Lam,

Even history buffs in China have only a hazy recollection of one of the most sensational spy and defection cases in Communist Chinese history.

Shanghai Party secretary Yu Zhengsheng speaks at the municipal Party conference on May 18. /CNS

In 1985, Yu Qiangsheng, a senior cadre in Beijing’s Ministry of State Security, defected to the United States. The information he provided led to the arrest and imprisonment of several Chinese spies then working in the U.S. government.

Yu comes from a prominent family. His father, Yu Qiwei (also known as Huang Jing) was an early convert to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) who later rose to ministerial status. Yu Qiwei also happened to be the first husband of Jiang Qing, who later married Mao Zedong.

Yu Qiangsheng’s younger brother, Yu Zhengsheng, is the Party secretary of Shanghai. He has also been a member of the ruling Politburo for 10 years. That the older Yu’s defection has not dealt a big blow to Yu Zhengsheng’s career is evidenced by the latter’s steady rise in the CPP hierarchy.

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