Chinese businessman Jack Ma, one of the richest men in China, has a net worth of nearly $60 billion. Xi Jinping, the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, officially earns just over $1,700 a month.
But make no mistake about which one of these men has more power. On Nov. 3, the Shanghai Stock Exchange announced the suspension of Ant Group’s plans to put its stock on sale in what was set to be the world’s largest initial public offering (IPO). In the lead-up to the listing, global investors had valued Ma’s mobile payment service Ant Group at over $310 billion — more than ICBC, China’s largest state-owned bank, and roughly the same as JP Morgan.… Seguir leyendo »
La parte más devastadora de Mulán, la muy anticipada adaptación en acción real de la película animada de 1998, no está en la trama. Está en los créditos. La película vuelve a relatar la antigua leyenda china de Hua Mulan, una hija que decide disfrazarse de hombre para poder unirse al ejército, honrar a su padre y salvar al emperador. Si bien la película genera orgullo por China, lo hace de manera sutil: más allá de unas pocas menciones a defender la Ruta de la Seda, una ruta comercial predilecta del secretario general del Partido Comunista de China, Xi Jinping, los vínculos con la actualidad de este moderno país muy escasos.… Seguir leyendo »
In early April, the director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, accused Taiwan of launching a “campaign” of racist attacks against him. “When the whole black community was insulted, when Africa was insulted, then I don’t tolerate it,” he said, adding, “people are crossing the line.” (The Taiwanese heatedly denied Tedros’s claim.)
Meanwhile, in a devastatingly ironic overlap, many in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou have decided to blame the thousands of Africans living there for spreading the novel coronavirus. Some restaurants barred black people, while officials forced black people into more onerous quarantines than Chinese and white foreigners — including occasionally confiscating passports — regardless of where they’ve recently traveled.… Seguir leyendo »
The Chinese Communist Party manipulates its statistics. This is neither an opinion nor a revelation: it’s a simple fact, critical to understanding China today. Chairman Xi Jinping demands that Chinese journalists prioritize loyalty to the Party over truth or accuracy. Li Keqiang, who now runs China’s economy as the premier, once smilingly told the U.S. ambassador that most Chinese statistics are “for reference only,” and that statistics on gross domestic product especially are “man-made.”
Up until a few months ago, this felt like a domestic Chinese issue. Sure, American investment firms have always struggled with finding accurate data. American journalists have sometimes repeated misleading Chinese statistics.… Seguir leyendo »
North Korea might be struggling with an unprecedented crystal meth epidemic. Reporting a story on the drug trade between North Korea and China, I spoke with dozens of sources: defectors, academics, policemen and even one North Korean crystal meth dealer, and I heard estimates that anywhere from zero to 50 percent of the population have tried the drug.
I painted a picture of the drug’s abuse for my article: part escape from the desolation of North Korean life, part medicine in a country with practically no healthcare infrastructure. Yet after months of research I have to admit that I have no idea what is actually happening inside North Korea.… Seguir leyendo »