Personal data of Chinese elites purportedly leaked on Twitter

The purported personal details of numerous Chinese business moguls and poltically-connected elite have been posted to an anonymous Twitter account, an embarrassing leak for authorities that has raised concerns about the security of official records.

The data disclosure, including national identification numbers, birth dates and addresses, would be one of China’s highest profile such public leaks of sensitive data if accurate.

Among those whose personal data was exposed were China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, the chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, and Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of the Chinese tech giant, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, both of whom are known to be politically well-connected.

Reuters could not independently confirm the accuracy of the data exposed in a series of Twitter posts this week, published under the handle @shenfenzheng, which means “identity card” in Chinese.

However, Sima Nan, a television pundit and vocal backer of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, told Reuters that his personal identification number was revealed before the Twitter account became inaccessible.

“I am unclear about other people’s (information), but mine is indeed the content registered on my public security household registration,” Sima said by telephone.

The New York Times said it had confirmed the information for Ma, and Wang, and Wang’s wife and son, whose details were published along with those of many other Chinese elites.

An image of the supposed identity card for Fang Binxing, the head of a Chinese cyber security industry association, who is also known as the father of China’s internet censorship mechanism, the so-called Great Firewall, was also published.

China’s Public Security Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, asked at a regular briefing if the data was genuine and who China thinks might be responsible, said: “I have also noticed this report but we really don’t understand the relevant situation.”

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