Ye Jingzi operates a Hong Kong-based event management business. (Internet photo)
Ye Jingzi is the granddaughter of Marshal Ye Jianying, a PLA general and the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress from 1978 to 1983. She is currently the director of the Brilliant Culture Group, a Hong Kong-based company that specializes in large-scale project development.
Born in Beijing in 1975, Ye was said to be a mild-mannered child until the age of 10, when she developed a rebellious streak and was sent off to attend a traditional all-girls boarding school in New York at the age of 13. Following a lonely and tumultuous period of personal growth through the experience, Ye attended Manhattanville College in New York, majoring in psychology.
Upon returning to Asia, Ye ventured into event management, rising to prominence with a hugely successful Tibetan treasure exhibition in Hong Kong in 2001. Her company, Brilliant Culture, was the first to bring an international street race and international beauty pageant to China, according to the company website.
Despite her privileged background, Ye is said to keep a low profile and lives a relatively simple life with her husband Wang Jingyang, the eldest grandson of veteran general Wang Zhen. The couple also have a young son.
Ye's family has had its ups and downs over the years. Most of her older family members were imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution, and her father lost an arm in 1974.
Ye believes her family's stories are more interesting than TV shows. "I have four grandmothers. My father and my uncles and aunts were born to different mothers, but they are very close to each other," Ye said, adding that she has a great deal of respect for her famous grandfather even though she did not spend a great deal of time with him.
In a rare interview with the Financial Times in 2010, Ye said that being from an important family in China can also have its drawbacks. While she is proud of the bloodline that affords her all kinds of privilege, she is also very aware of the responsibilities that accompany her surname.
"It's very important to me that people understand I have made things happen for myself and not just been successful because of my family background," she said. "It's also important that I use my position to help my country and my people."
Ye said her father did not want her growing up as a princess with everything done for her, so she was sent to the US where she could have a "slightly more normal life." She said she actually has to work harder than others just to show that she is capable in her own right and does not just rely on her background and connections.
Ye Jingzi 葉靜子
Ye Jiangying 葉劍英
Wang Jingyang 王京陽
Wang Zhen 王震