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In a recent television interview, Australian mining magnate and political candidate Clive Palmer declared that Rupert Murdoch's ex-wife Wendi Deng (Palmer called her Murdoch's wife) is a spy, and that is why he filed for divorce.

I'm skeptical of this claim and wonder whether it is true.

Clive Palmer interview on The Today Show - see from 3.25 onwards.

  • This has "character assassination" written all over it. If you are going to accuse someone of treason here, you'd better have astonishingly strong evidence. – Oddthinking Sep 8 '13 at 7:58
  • Thanks for your edits Oddthinking, but you mentioned that Clive Palmer is a billionaire in your edit, do you have evidence for this because it is disputed in Australia as to whether he actually is a billionaire or not. – Kenshin Sep 8 '13 at 11:04
  • Sorry! I was trying to avoid dispute (he's not an MP yet) not wade into it. – Oddthinking Sep 8 '13 at 11:15
  • @Oddthinking - it's politics. You're wading into a dispute just by standing close :) – user5341 Sep 9 '13 at 15:56
  • After Palmer made these comments his were the early Google results for this claim, but excluding him you could still see the reports of this that he based his comments on. I haven't tried again now. – Mark Hurd Sep 14 '13 at 2:08
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There does not appear to be any independent support for these claims.

A google search for "Wendi Deng Spy" brings up multiple results that directly quote the interview with Clive Palmer. There appear to be only two results on the first page that don't reference that interview: articles from Forbes and the Guardian. Both of these are in-depth analyses of the divorce proceedings, and neither repeats the allegation that Deng was a spy for the Chinese government. The Guardian article doesn't contain the word "spy" at all; the Forbes article says this:

A further cultural point is also relevant. It is considered fair game in East Asia for people to pry into their spouses’ lives – and this goes even in happy marriages. In extreme cases prying might involve audio and even video recording. Of course, spying on one’s spouse is not limited to East Asia but the difference is that in East Asia there is no obloquy: basically Murdoch may have imagined the encounter was being playing by Queensberry rules when in reality this is kick-boxing.

Importantly, it does not say that Wendi Deng made audio or video recordings of Rupert Murdoch or of anyone else.

Tom Au in the comments under the question has mentioned a Vision Times article which appears at first glance to be an independent allegation of spying. But it isn't that at all. The only source it gives is a Chinese language article, which it claims has a "more reliable source" backing the spying allegations versus the official story that Murdoch filed for divorce because of a suspected affair. I put that article through Google Translate to see if it mentions who this "more reliable source" is - it's Clive Palmer:

September this year, the Australian mining large Henk Reeve Palmer publicly alleged Murdoch's wife, Wendi Deng is a Chinese spy has secretly monitor Murdoch Murdoch for many years this is the real reason for her divorce must

A human translation provided by March Ho supports my inference that the name that Google translates as "Henk Reeve Palmer" is Clive:

In September this year, Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer openly alleged that Murdoch's wife Deng Wendi is a Chinese spy, and has been secretly spying on Murdoch for many years, and this was the true reason Murdoch insists on divorcing her.

Every instance of this allegation appears to trace back to Clive Palmer. Palmer has never presented any evidence, so there doesn't appear to be any reason to give the claim any credence.

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    I (as a native speaker) agree that the Chinese article gives no better evidence for the claim than Clive Palmer's allegations. I also added in a non-machine translation (my own). – March Ho Oct 23 '15 at 8:58
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    Additionally, the Chinese article also makes further digs at Deng, calling her "fierce" and "ugly" multiple times throughout the article. – March Ho Oct 23 '15 at 9:03
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    @MarchHo I've edited the Google Translate version back in (but left yours) just in case translating a document fails the original research rule, particularly whether it counts as "non-trivial analysis of available data". I get an infinite redirect when I go to ask a question on meta, so I've flagged this answer to get clarity on this point from a moderator. – lvc Nov 7 '15 at 5:41
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    @lvc: It's a good question, and one I think should be addressed on Meta. You report having trouble doing that, so I will do so on your behalf. – Oddthinking Nov 7 '15 at 5:47

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