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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

China’s “Black Box” of Money and Power is revealed by a knowledgeable insider

Desmond Shum spent three years obtaining 150 official seals from the various layers of the Chinese bureaucracy in order to establish a logistics centre close to Beijing’s major international airport.

In order to get these stamps of approval, he sought favours from various government authorities. For example, the airport customs director requested that he construct a new office building with indoor basketball and badminton courts, a 200-seat theatre, and a karaoke bar for the agency.

Mr. Shum recalls the discussion in his book, which demonstrates how the Communist Party maintains order in business — and what happens when businessmen cross the line into illegal territory. The book “Red Roulette: An Insider’s Story of Wealth, Power, Corruption, and Vengeance in Today’s China,” which was published earlier this month, reveals how Chinese officials keep the rules vague and the threat of a crackdown ever-present, limiting their ability to contribute to the country’s progress.

During a phone conversation from his home in Britain, Mr. Shum said that in order to accomplish anything in China, one must enter “grey zones.” “We were all licking the blood off the sword,” said the group.

Mr. Shum’s first-hand account of the interaction between money and Chinese politics is unquestionably accurate, despite the fact that many of the events described in the book cannot be independently confirmed.

He was formerly married to Duan Weihong, a woman who was connected to the family of Wen Jiabao, who served as China’s premier for a period of time. Whitney Duan, also known as Ms. Duan, was a key player in a 2012 investigation by The New York Times exposing the vast undisclosed fortune held by Mr. Wen’s family, which was published in The New York Times Magazine.

Some readers may find it difficult to empathise with the former power couple and other rich Chinese business executives in their position of privilege. Using prominent government officials who exploited their influence to make transactions happen, the book recounts the wealth they acquired by wheeling and dealing with powerful government officials. Furthermore, the mix of money and politics, as we all know, promotes corruption all throughout the globe.

David Faber
David Faber
I am a Business Journalist of The National Era
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