Chinese leaders enjoy a level of privacy unheard of in the West; the often vast business and political dealings of their families are shrouded in mystery by design. Only when Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai fell from grace in March did he expose himself to scrutiny from the outside world, illuminating the web of connections that bound him and his family to global business and political interests.
Since Bo's downfall, Chinese officials and intellectuals have taken the rare step of speaking specifically about his case, allowing Western journalists to uncover details about the Bo family and providing what is likely the clearest picture of cronyism among princelings, the sons and daughters of those who have held high-ranking posts in the Chinese leadership.
Bo's brother Bo Xiyong resigned in April after reports that, going by the name Li Xueming, he made millions as a director of the alternative energy company China Everbright International. (Bo's surname is rare in China; Li is very common). His wife Gu Kailai, herself the daughter of a PLA general, stands accused of the murder of British businessmen Neil Heywood after he threatened to expose her for planning to transfer money overseas illegally. Bloomberg reported that Bo's relatives are worth at least $136 million.
In recent years, only the Bo clan has had its affairs ingloriously paraded in front of the international media -- the business ties of top leaders like President Hu Jintao and his successor Xi Jinping remain mostly unknown. But here are four senior Chinese leaders whose web of connections have already been probed, and whose full exposure would most increase the outside world's understanding of how the system works.