Despite the trade war with the U.S. and the global economic stagnation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in early 2021, China overtook the U.S. to become the first country with more than 1,000 billionaires.
China’s economic boom during the past few decades has created a new super-rich class, with famous names like Jack Ma, Joseph Tsai, and Lai Tsai. But are Chinese billionaires as happy and powerful as many people think?
In fact, in recent years, a series of Chinese billionaires have suffered tragic outcomes. Some are bankrupt, some are imprisoned, missing, or executed, or some have mysteriously died. What is the reason?
Billionaire’s money or someone else’s?
Billionaire Jack Ma, with a fortune of $60 billion, people would think that his buying a private plane or a villa is just a piece of cake. But, billionaire Jack Ma and his effective assistant, billionaire Joseph Tsai, had to mortgage a part of their shares to buy things that were “relatively cheaper” than their total assets. Western banks, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and UBS, have provided these loans.
You may think that pledging stocks with Western billionaires is normal. But according to Financial Times commentator Ryan McMorrow, “most U.S. companies limit its use by executives. Any forced selling of pledged stock can exacerbate the fall of a company’s share price.”
To own the Gulfstream G650ERs private jet, Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai had to borrow money from Credit Suisse, even though each pulled out more than $5 billion from the stock since 2017. The billions of dollars in cash these two billionaires pulled out should have been more than enough to buy the plane.
So why did Ma and Tsai borrow money from foreign banks? Is there a secret? Do they keep money in banks where they have to get permission from the CCP to withdraw money? Don’t these two billionaires have the right to use that money?
The price of the plane is about $66.5 million. That’s less than 1% of Joseph Tsai’s $11.2 billion net worth, and that’s so small compared to Jack Ma’s more than $60 billion fortune.
“Tsai and Ma are only billionaires because the CCP says they are,” said Kyle Bass, a chief investment officer of Hayman Capital Management, “It can and will change in an instant.”
Bass said that Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai “need to borrow from western banks to fund their luxurious lifestyle” is an unpredictable mystery by the outside world. “It’s entirely possible that any U.S. dollars they harvest through share sales must [be] paid to CCP party members,” he wrote.
Are Chinese billionaires just ‘pawn pieces’ in the hands of the CCP?
Since founding Alibaba in a small apartment in the city of Hangzhou in 1999, until the launch of the electronic payment app, Alipay in 2004 and the online bank Ant Financial in 2014, billionaire Jack Ma has worked a revolution in consumption and payment in China. At the same time, China has become a “big man” in digital technology.
Of course, the success of the Alibaba boss is not outside the ambition of the CCP and had its support until October 24, 2020. At that time, Jack Ma sarcastically compared the Chinese banking system to a “pawnshop” at the 2nd Shanghai Financial Summit.
Not only that, but Jack Ma also said that the Beijing regime is constraining innovation efforts and “using train station management to operate the airport” in the era of electronic finance.
As China analyst Christina Boutrup judged: “That day, he apparently crossed the invisible red line for what can be said and done in Xi Jinping’s China.”
The statements expressing the views of billionaire Jack Ma have worried the CCP officials. Because the bureaucratic authoritarian state banking system is dependent on the CCP’s political orders, it would not be able to compete with Alibaba, Alipay, and Ant. As a result, the elite in Zhongnanhai is increasingly anxious, fearing that one day the billionaire Jack Ma’s corporation can dominate or change the political system of the CCP.
As someone who has always relied on the political power of the CCP to take advantage of the development and elevation of Alibaba, Jack Ma’s statement this time crossed the red line, offended the CCP leadership, and started a series of stormy days for him and Alibaba Group.
As a result, Ant Group—a subsidiary of Alibaba, was forced to cancel an initial public share offering of $35 billion.
Then, in 2021, Alibaba continued to spiral into division because of the CCP’s sanctions. Although Ant Group is no longer a part of Alibaba Group, this group cannot avoid the contagion when receiving an unprecedented fine of up to $2.75 billion.
Meanwhile, Alibaba’s shares have plummeted, down 46% since the beginning of November 2020, wiping out about $380 billion in Alibaba’s market value. And because of that, the owner’s fortune also plummeted. According to statistics from Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Jack Ma’s fortune has evaporated by $13.2 billion, currently remaining at $48.8 billion (as of August 2021).
Hong Kong-based channel Initium Media reported that, in a 2011 speech, Jack Ma once said: “None of China’s entrepreneurs dies a natural death.”
However, in an interview with ESQUIRE magazine in January 2013, Jack Ma denied saying that and said: “I personally think that China’s richest people really won’t end up having a good ending. That is true both now and throughout history (of the CCP). History will not change because of today.
“I, Jack Ma, already know my own end, I am very optimistic about this. I will continue to move forward, because for better or worse, the end is already there. You know it’s going to be a sad ending, but you still want to do it.”
‘Chinese entrepreneurs will not have a happy ending’
Jack Ma correctly guessed the outcome of himself and other wealthy entrepreneurs in China. Many entrepreneurs in China revealed that they were “chilled to the bone” witnessing the CCP’s Alibaba purge.
The Alibaba purge moves are just a warning to affirm the CCP’s one-of-a-kind position. There have been too many victims just because of excessive criticism of the CCP, going to the dogs by the CCP’s “self-made” reasons such as fraud, tax evasion, or violating state regulations.
The most recent is the case of billionaire Lai Xiaomin, chairman of Huarong Financial Group, who was sentenced to death on January 5, 2021, for corruption and debauchery.
In November 2020, the owner of the agribusiness group Sun Dawu and his family were arrested for publicly criticizing the local authority for downplaying the severity of the 2019 African swine fever pandemic. The local authorities later took over his group.
Anbang Insurance Group Chairman Wu Xiaohui went missing in 2017 before being sentenced to 18 years in prison for “embezzlement.”
Real estate billionaire Ren Zhiqiang was sentenced to 18 years in prison in September 2019 for “violating Party discipline.” But many observers said it was because he criticized the CCP and called Xi Jinping a “clown.”
Statistics from New Culture News in 2017 show that China is considered a place with a high rate of billionaire deaths. The death of billionaire Lai Xiaomin embodies the tragic fate of many giants in China, who have the right to do anything as long as they obey the CCP.
The owners of large corporations have only one freedom: “Unite around the CCP and strive to promote the healthy development of the economy.” These are the words of Xi Jinping in September 2020.
Jack Ma was right: “Chinese entrepreneurs will not have a happy ending.”
Since its founding in 1949, the CCP has been killing capitalists to rob their property. The number of people who “suicide,” are “missing,” or “sentenced to death” is up to 4 million.
During the 1952 “Five Rebellion” campaign, not a single capitalist escaped the CCP’s iron grip. This authoritarian regime has devised many reasons to purge, such as requiring the capitalists to pay taxes that they have “evaded” since the Guangxu Dynasty (1875-1908) and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The capitalists cannot afford to pay these absurd “taxes,” even with all their assets.
So suicide is the method the CCP favors for them when cornered. But even if forced to die, they dare not jump into the river because if their bodies are not found, the CCP will accuse them of fleeing to Hong Kong, and their relatives will suffer. They were therefore forced to jump from buildings and leave their bodies for the CCP to see evidence of their deaths.
The end of those who ‘sold their souls‘ to the CCP
Western observers still believe that the CCP’s role in the private sector is only a formality. But Beijing’s 2017 National Intelligence Law requires all citizens and organizations to comply with cooperating orders. Therefore, this Law further strengthens the belief that Chinese giants are committed to absolute loyalty to the CCP.
Loyalty to the Party is a prerequisite for getting rich. As billionaire Liu Qiangdong, founder of JD.com, once said: “(China) Communism will be realized in my generation.
Xu Jiayin, Chairman of Evergrande Real Estate Group, stated that “everything that his group has is thanks to the gratitude of the Party.”
The owner of the heavy technology group Sany, Liang Wengen, said that his life “belongs to the Party.”
Sogou technology group CEO Wang Xiaochuan announced the group’s companies would be “merged” with the Party.
To measure the depth of the merger between the Party and the private sector, billionaire Ma Huateng of Tencent, Li Yanhong of Baidu, Jack Ma of Alibaba, and most of the other CEOs joined to become CCP members.
In the early 2000s, the CCP adopted a policy of attracting capitalists and corporate executives into the Party apparatus. To get privileges, entrepreneurs must, of course, submit to the CCP’s command.
By building the powerful Alibaba empire, Jack Ma is one of them, having succumbed to the will of the evil CCP when the billionaire openly said that the CCP’s mobilization of tanks to Tiananmen Square in 1989 was “the right decision.”
Whether Chinese billionaires follow the CCP’s orders to serve their business interests or out of their so-called “patriotic” ideology, they have expressed their devotion to the CCP.
The result is: If you play with a knife, your hand will be cut. Unfortunately, Jack Ma, his Alibaba group, and many other billionaires and entrepreneurs have suffered the same dismal end.