When a person’s assets can match or exceed a country’s treasury, it can place the person in extreme danger.
On Sept. 26, 2021, “60 Minutes” aired an intriguing documentary on Chinese whistleblower Desmond Shum, whose ex-wife, billionaire Whitney Duan, vanished on the streets of Beijing four years earlier.
Nobody had heard from her in a long time, and her fate was unclear. However, her ex-husband, who now resides in London with their child, received an unexpected call from his ex-wife as he was ready to launch a tell-all book about her disappearance, and the operations—or rather machinations—of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), reported Werthenews.
She begged him to call off the launch, undoubtedly pressured by her Chinese handlers.
“Money counts for nothing,” Desmond said.
He claims that doing business in China is a game of luck and that the odds are worse for anyone looking to make a fortune in one of the world’s most important markets.
In an interview with Shum, the 60 Minutes show revealed some of the system’s activities that want to keep control at all costs, even if it means mercilessly crushing any potential resistance.
Your ties to the communist elite, according to Desmond, are your only security. His ex-wife, he feels, has fallen out of favor with the present communist leadership.
“I would guess most likely she’s associated with the wrong crowd or the wrong faction of the power struggle,” Desmond said, reported 9nows.
“Or maybe she learned something very inconvenient for the leadership.”
The disappearance of Whitney Duan is not an isolated incident. Several billionaires have gone missing in the recent decade, and some have not been seen or heard from since.
Most of them will eventually face charges of corruption and financial mismanagement.
A growing number of celebrities, academics, media personalities like Australian television anchor Cheng Lei, and even China’s richest man, Jack Ma, have disappeared due to President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption and anti-political rivalry crackdown.
Jack Ma sarcastically chastised Chinese regulators for limiting innovation and claimed that Chinese banks had a “pawnshop mentality,” implying that banks, like informal lenders in the past, still relied on “pledges and collateral.”
But the listening cadres were furious. Chinese authorities summoned Ma for questioning on November 2. The next day, China’s securities regulators canceled Alibaba’s fintech arm Ant Financial’s $37 billion IPO, which had been hailed as a record-breaking deal, reported Time.
Then, Ma has not been seen in public in at least two months. When approached by TIME, an Alibaba official declined to comment on his whereabouts.
Ten years ago, Jack Ma said: “Chinese entrepreneurs will not have a good ending.”
This is not the story of Jack Ma alone, but rather a big picture for those who dream of getting rich under the control of a dictatorship like the CCP.