Weekly Watch on China 20211220–20220523(Sorry for the Very Late Update)

  1. Another tycoon died, suddenly.
From Sohu

The financial tycoon Xie Zhikun died on December 18th, due to heart attack. It was reported that Xie died during his Pilates time at home, at the age of 60.

Who is Xie: Xie is the founder and head of Zhong Zhi Enterprise Group, with almost Trillions of RMB asset, not less influential than Ever Grande. The interesting part was that Xie started to work as a worked at a printing factory in Heilongjiang Province, and then became a famous investor somehow. His brother Xie Zhichun, was also a famous financial industry officer, once was the Second Hand at China Investment Corporation(China Sovereign Fund) and CEO of Chna Huijin Investment(Share holder of lots of huge financial institutions in China).

How the Xie brothers succeeded, was a mystery. Some rumored that they relied on Wang Qishan to became top finance guys.

This is another sign of old times passing: Xie Zhikun’s financial empire included Zhongrong Trust, which expanded in 2008 to be the biggest Trust company in China. He was one of the “old tycoons”.

2.Xuzhou on the spot

From iFeng

Started from Tik Tok: Like every important thing these days, the most influential news in 2022 China started from a Douyin(China version Tik Tok) video. A village officer went to Feng county, Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China, and found that one local family was the best fit for propaganda. Why? Because the Dong family was in dire poor situation, with one father working hard to try to support 8 kids and his very old mother. As a low birth rate country now, China definitely needs a propaganda story like this to boost the birth rate. So the officer took a short video and sent on Douyin, which attracted lots of attention around the country.(Please be noted that the fact of how this started was just a summary from the social media stories I read. It might not be 100% true, but it somewhat gave an idea of how this was spread) The father even got some business contracts to hire him to perform live shopping videos.

Now a mysterious mother came: The attractive video indeed got lots of people coming to Feng county, but one unnerving fact showed up: who is the mother of the 8 kids? It turned out that the mother was actually a “crazy” female, chained to the ground with very thin coat to fight against the bitterly cold in winter China. The more disturbing thing was that the female had no teeth, which was claimed that she had tooth disease and all teeth just drop.

A picked-up bride: The lady was picked up by the husband’s father on the street, according to the husband. One interesting fact was that the marriage certificate official date was actually a weekend, when no officers would work at that time. More interestingly, the picture on the certificate was not similar to the chained female at all. (Below left, the bride in the marriage certificate. Below right, the chained female.)

From 163

A series of announcements: The local government has published 4 announcements till now, but they were just contradicting each other. They first claimed that the lady was a local female, then said she was led to here from Yunnan by her relative and then got lost, which explained why she was picked up by a local guy. All netizens were angry at this unduly things, and everybody was paying attention to the updates everyday.

What’s now? The female was sent to a hospital, likely a mental hospital. The husband was arrested for crime of human trafficking(female trafficking in China to be exact) as well as the relative who brought her to Jiangsu. Jiangsu Province has established a special team to investigate the local government wrong doing in this issue and issued another official report on the issue.

Can we believe you? The fifth announcement still controversial. We could see from the words that the investigation team was trying to address the concerns raised by the netizens, that the no teeth issue was indeed caused by the disease(i.e, not removed by force), the wrong date on the marriage certificate was due to officer’s dereliction of duty, and chained lady was indeed the one on the marriage certificate. The announcement also included punishment for officers related to this case, mostly party discipline like removing party title etc, no criminal charges were made.

Why controversial? Most heated debate on the fifth announcement was about the identity of the female. Though the officers said all the confirmation was done through scientific ways with gene comparison approach, most people just couldn’t believe that they were the same people. There might be a sixth announcement, with very small probability.

3.Shanghai In Lockdown and is rumored to open

From NYT

Nobody expected Shanghai could be in such a mess: Shanghai was once the leading show case for the whole China that a COVID management could be really based on tracking tech as well as scientific arrangement.

There were numerous essays and social media articles, which seemed to be about personal experiences on how Shanghai officers could identify the exact person who might carry the virus and make a very accurate lock-down arrangement. For example, a decision was made to just close one Bubble Tea shop at a specific unit. Shanghaiers are also quite proud that they could do such a good job.

Things have changed: Omicron changed everything, as it was far more infectious and fast to spread. Shanghai’s old way to close a specific unit failed as it was always too late to just lock down one unit. Then suddenly the Shanghai officers, or Beijing’s higher ranking officers who went to Shanghai to takeover the management, decided to follow the old fashion: just lockdown everything.

Mess is unavoidable, when suddenly a lockdown announced. Since Shanghai is almost isolated, it was very hard for transportation unit to come into with necessary food and other essentials.

Non-COVID patients are in more danger: very few hospitals would accept patients currently, for the ones who needed regular medical care, this could mean life threatening danger.

But Shanghai people do their best to serve the “westerners”: One very interesting case was that a westerner who lived in Shanghai, had some medical issue about his male sexual organ. The local community organization(which is part of China’s government system, who got paid through public funding) launched a special project to build a dedicated team to cooperate everything needed to cure the guy. No other Chinese patients could have such treatment at all.

Is it a power struggle? Since the Shanghai local officers’ behaving such bizarre, some even speculated that it was just a power struggle between Xi and the local officers, who might be part of Jiang Zemin’s team.

Beijing might be the next: Omicron has been identified in Beijing as well. Though the officers said no lock-down is needed, Beijing was under lock-down anyway. More mess is expected.

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