Dr Willy Lam was interviewed on the recent “Wen Report”:
“Only a small proportion will be aware of the story,” seasoned China watcher Willy Lam told AFP.
He estimated that about 10 percent of China’s 500-million-strong online population would still manage to evade the censors, however, amounting to about 50 million people.
“The NYT story will hurt Wen Jiabao… his reputation will be adversely affected,” he explained, adding that many Chinese had become very cynical about the wealth accumulated by those near the centres of power.
“Most Chinese just assume that the top leaders are corrupt,” he said.
The revelations come as a particular embarrassment for Wen, who is the standard-bearer of the Communist Party’s reformist wing and has campaigned against corruption.
In a speech published in April, he said official corruption was “the biggest danger facing the ruling party” and warned that “those who hold political power may perish” unless it is addressed.