Cronyism is not the only way family members can hurt one's cause. In the 1980s, Yu was a promising young official, with a deep red background: His father Huang Jing was the first-ever Communist party secretary of Tianjin (and also an early husband of Jiang Qing, who went on to become Madame Mao); his father in law was reportedly a former PLA general. But in 1985 Yu's brother, formerly the director of the Beijing National Security Bureau, defected to the United States. The defection not only brought down a Chinese spy in the CIA, but also nearly torpedoed Yu's career. He spent the next dozen years working his way up through relatively low-level positions in the coastal province of Shandong.
Now some analysts are predicting that Yu, the party secretary of Shanghai, might receive a seat on the Standing Committee this fall ; his brother's whereabouts remain unknown.