Reports that an Englishman attended numerous social events in China by posing as a scion of the Rothschild banking family are sweeping across China after a university official questioned his background.

Tsinghua University vice president Yang Bin told reporters at a business forum that there were "oversights" in Tsinghua's "screening" processes after reports emerged that Oliver Rothschild, who has attended fundraising events for years, may not belong to the family.

The Rothschilds hold a particular place in the Chinese popular imagination. A book claiming to uncover the family's influence in European politics has been a bestseller, while wines from Chateau Lafite Rothschild are so favored by Chinese nouveau riche that they are widely counterfeited.

Oliver Rothschild did not immediately respond to a LinkedIn message seeking comment.