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Love knows no politics, ask Hu

Beijing, Nov. 5 (Reuters): Love is politically blind.

The daughter of Hu Jintao, China’s Communist Party chief and state President, has married one of the country’s top capitalists. Hu Haiqing, the President’s only daughter and one of two children, and Daniel Mao, former chief executive of the Nasdaq-listed Internet media firm Sina Corp, tied the knot in September, friends said.

“It was a very low-key affair,” said one. “As far as I know, he did not tell anyone except a few close friends in the US.” The event had been kept low-key — not a word or a picture appeared in China’s state-controlled media about the wedding of the year. But the news eventually made it to Sina.com’s overseas news page, quoting the Asian Wall Street Journal.

The couple were honeymooning in the US, Chinese publications from Taiwan to the US reported. Friends said the pair would most likely settle down in China. The union of power and money could prove awkward for Hu Jintao, who has projected himself as a champion for the millions of jobless workers and poor farmers left out by China’s economic miracle. Hu Haiqing, 33, graduated from Beijing’s elite Tsinghua University, her father’s alma mater, and went to the US to study in the 1990s.

Mao, 40, was a San Francisco-based venture capitalist at Walden International Investment Group before joining Sina as chief operating officer in 1999 and assuming the top job in 2001.

Sina colleagues, who describe him as charming and affable, affectionately call him “Lao Mao” (old Mao). Sina’s annual report dated April 30 said Mao owned shares worth about $67 million and options for shares worth another $92 million. He left the company for good in September.

Sina stock has risen fourteen-fold in the past year as the company turned profitable after many years of losses. Some suggest another motivation for the rise.

“Maybe some investors are making the connection between the marriage and Sina’s prospects,” said Chang-hua Qiu, a financial analyst with Forun Technologies.

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