Turnbull has Chinese daughter-in-law

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announces his new federal cabinet during a media conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Sept 20, 2015.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announces his new federal cabinet during a media conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Sept 20, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY • In what is becoming something of a trend for Australian prime ministers, Mr Malcolm Turnbull comes to the job with deep personal ties to China, including a Mandarin-speaking son whose wife is from a prominent Chinese family. 

Aside from former leader Kevin Rudd, who is fluent in Mandarin and worked in Beijing as a diplomat, Mr Turnbull has perhaps the closest links to China of any previous Australian prime minister.

His son, Alex, who runs a hedge fund, lives in Singapore with his wife and their baby.

His wife is Hong Kong-born Yvonne Wang, or Wang Yiwen. According to Fairfax Media, her parents were "well-connected in cosmopolitan Shanghai and were known to be on good terms with former president Jiang Zemin".

Madam Wang's father, Mr Wang Chunming, now in his 90s,  was an international relations scholar who worked with the China Academy of Social Sciences. 

Prime Minister Turnbull also has close business ties to China. In 1994, he set up a Sino-Western joint mining venture in China and has long advocated closer trade and business links between Canberra and Beijing.

It is perhaps little surprise that the Chinese media have apparently been referring to Mr Turnbull as "sweet dumpling" or "sugar bomb", a play on his surname, which sounds like tang bao, the popular Chinese steamed buns.

Jonathan Pearlman

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2015, with the headline 'Turnbull has Chinese daughter-in-law'. Print Edition | Subscribe