A driver of technological and business innovation, Chen Ping’s ability to predict long-term macroeconomic trends and explore large-scale business opportunities is unparalleled. The blockchain reflects Chen Ping’s pursuit of a sustainable society, redefining the relationship of production and changing the relationship between people.
Chen Ping was born in 1955 in the compound of the Chinese army in Shanghai. His parents both came from prominent modern Chinese families and were devoted to the left-wing revolution when they were young. Both participated in the Chinese Communist Party. However, Chen Ping had a different destiny from the fate of his peers of the “Red generation” from childhood. When he was ten months old, his officer father was sent to the former Soviet Union’s Leningrad Academy of Military Sciences for training.
Chen left his busy parents and his birthplace—Shanghai, the largest industrial and commercial city in China—and was brought to the historic commercial port Wuhu in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in Anhui Province by his grandparents. Chen Ping grew up in this city full of the atmosphere of Anhui business, drinking the water of the Yangtze River. He returned to his mother in Shanghai several times during that period of five years, spending each summer and winter vacation in the city. From 1969 to 1970, he moved to Xi An for more than a year as his mother’s troops were transferred to the ancient capital. When he returned to Shanghai in 1978, it was as a full-grown man.
Chen Ping’s youth coincided with the most turbulent, dark, barbaric and cruel days of the “Cultural Revolution” in China. Due to his wealthy family background, his grandfather’s status as a capitalist, and the fact that his father went to study in the Soviet Union but did not return, during his teenage years he received “revolution bullying” and tasted the hardships of life. At the same time, at the young age of 12 years old, he had also assembled a “Young Flying Tiger Group” in Wuhu to fight against the rebel faction’s endless denunciations of his grandparents and of himself, a young child labeled the son of a traitor. He proclaimed himself as the head of the group, leading them in the dangerous street battles of the time.
Chen Ping, who uses his mother’s surname, inherited his Anhui family’s legacy of upturning tradition and shaping modern China. His mother’s family comes from Huaining, Anhui Province, which is both an industrial and commercial powerhouse and home to the scholars of Jiangnan. His maternal grandfather, in addition to commercial work in the rice industry, successfully entered the Shanghai business sphere by establishing the Shanghai Oil and Fat Company, the predecessor to today’s Shanghai Daily Chemical Group.
His mother was inspired by the Chinese revolution led by the Communist Party, which at the time was recognized as a progressive force. She joined the Communist Party when she was a student in Shanghai and escaped the massacre before the Kuomintang (KMT) withdrawal due to timely information from Chen Ping’s grandfather, eventually becoming an army doctor for the cause. At the time, Chen Ping’s grandfather chose to side with the CCP and stayed in Shanghai because of his disillusionment with corruption in the Kuomintang, only realizing his mistake after it was already too late. In what was deemed a “public-private partnership,” he donated all his property, evacuated to the city of Wuhu, and took a meager salary as an accountant at a state-owned company.
In Wuhu, before leaving to study in the Soviet Union, his father amassed a rich collection of books, lending the philosophy of his forefathers to a young Chen Ping. His grandfather’s words, “though you must live in poverty, never forget your dignity” have always stayed with him, fueling the cultivation of his mind. Reading allowed Chen Ping to realize his ideological and cultural heritage. Chen Ping’s consistent pursuit of freedom, equality, democracy and justice in the past 50 years has stemmed from the lessons he learned during his youth.
Chen Ping’s father’s surname is Zhang, with a family stemming from Jiangsu Nantong. His family background is not just scholarly: his father’s branch was historically and politically indispensable to the Qing Dynasty and early Republic of China. His paternal grandfather was a lawyer – a rare and emerging profession in the Republic of China with social status – during the introduction into China of the western legal system.
Chen Ping’s father’s family was killed by Japanese bombing at the time of the second world war. At the age of 12, his father went alone with other refugees to join the New Fourth Army in Tianchang, Anhui Province. He was sent to the Soviet Union to study in 1955, something that indicated a bright future for the family anticipating his return, before changes in the Communist Party changed circumstances for the family as well.
Before the open break between China and the USSR in 1960, Chen Ping’s father made major contributions to the field of military science. When political winds shifted, the CCP decided to prevent him from returning to China. This series of measures meant that Chen Ping’s father disappeared from Moscow (then Leningrad) in the summer of 1961, sparking a major diplomatic incident between China and the Soviet Union. He would not see his family again for thirty-three years.
At the time, Chen Ping was six years old. He had pretended to have fallen asleep in order to overhear the truth of the matter, listening with tears in his eyes as his mother and grandparents consoled each other. The family would attempt to hide the family scandal until his mother’s remarriage during the cultural revolution. This early life experience inspired Chen Ping to think independently, realizing that he must make his own way in the world.