- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 16, 2003

BEIJING The ideological quest for communism with Chinese characteristics has taken another bold step forward with the appointment of a Forbes "rich list" millionaire and admirer of Margaret Thatcher to a senior state position.
Yin Mingshan, who was featured in last year's list of 100 Chinese millionaires, has been "elected" deputy chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in China's third-largest city, Chongqing. He is believed to be the first multimillionaire to achieve senior office since President Jiang Zemin welcomed capitalists into the Communist Party.
Although the CPPCC does not formally require party membership, Mr. Yin's promotion is a symbol of its keenness to co-opt the rich into the "New China" project.
Mr. Yin, 65, who spent years in a labor camp during the Cultural Revolution, is director of the Chongqing Lifan Industry group, one of China's biggest motorcycle manufacturers. His personal wealth is estimated by Forbes magazine at $88 million. He cites as his heroes Deng Xiaoping, Thomas Jefferson and Margaret Thatcher.
Mr. Yin's treatment contrasts with that of others highlighted by Forbes in the past who have found themselves presented with hefty tax bills or even prosecuted. One was forced to flee to the United States after officials decided that he had built his empire using government funds.


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