A death sentence for a young Chinese businesswoman chills entrepreneurs

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Savant, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. Savant



    IN THE odd way these things work in China, word has trickled out that on April 7th an appeal court in Zhejiang, a famously entrepreneurial coastal province, conducted a five-hour hearing on a death sentence handed down to Wu Ying, a prominent 29-year-old businesswoman, on fraud charges. Before her arrest Ms Wu had seemed to personify the miraculous business success that could be achieved by people from even the most humble background in modern China.

    The revelation that she faces execution is the latest in a string of dramatic events surrounding her case, including the arrest of several prominent bankers and officials from information she is said to have given, and her own reported suicide attempt. Details are murky because much of the case, including the appeal, has taken place behind closed doors, with restrictions on direct press coverage. That, however, has not stopped Chinese newspapers and internet opiners from discussing avidly a case that has clearly caught the public interest.

    If any point is beyond dispute, it is that Ms Wu was a dynamo. She dropped out of secondary school and started a string of beauty parlours whose primary product was the use of animal-placenta injections to achieve the same sort of skin-smoothing effect for which collagen is used in the West. Within a few years she was reported in China Daily to have assembled a business empire that spanned spas, hotels and property. Her net worth was then said to exceed 3.8 billion yuan ($576m).

    It all began to crumble when Ms Wu was detained in 2007, but a conviction did not come until December 2009, a particularly long delay that many believed was caused by efforts to broaden the investigation to include other prominent people. Ultimately, she was convicted of “illegal fund-raising” for, the court concluded, raising 773m yuan from illicit sources. In an effort to mitigate her sentence, in the appeal Ms Wu changed her plea from innocent to guilty of “fund-raising fraud”, a lesser charge. Since her initial trial three other people have received long jail sentences in related cases, two of whom had ties to the vast Agricultural Bank of China and one to the Communist Party.

    The case struck a nerve across the country, and not just because of the severity of the sentence and the fame of the accused. What she was convicted of was raising and pooling money outside the official system, which is common among Chinese entrepreneurs. There has been much speculation about why she was singled out. Perhaps it was that her promises to investors of annual returns of up to 80% seemed just too good, to the authorities, to be genuine. It is also possible that she lent on the money she received at even higher rates, and the borrowers, unable to pay, used their political connections to have her arrested.

    China’s entrepreneurs are left with plenty to worry about. Many have to rely on a form of financing that now seems to be interpreted by the courts as a grave crime. The distinction between being a successful tycoon and being an enemy of the people has been blurred, a step back to the days when China was communist in more than just name.
  2. pspr


    I think there are many ways that China may wind up strangling itself on the way up the economic ladder. I'm not convinced China is going to be the next great power in the world and hold on to that position.
  3. Sounds like the might have been running a pyramid scheme.
  4. Savant


    They have far less a concept, even than we, of NOT killing the golden goose.

  5. Ricter


    They are preserving the golden goose. The world is coming down hard on their business practices and quality, and they are responding vigorously, and sometimes too vigorously.
  6. olias


    death sentence? That is an outrage. Like some of you others have said, this is the kind of thing that could derail their stability. It would be great to see an end to the governments human rights violations and still maintain economic stability, but it looks like it would take a violent revolution to topple those bastards.

    I liken China to an incredible skyscraper built on a foundation of sand
  7. Savant


    I could be mistaken, but did you not offer a prediction about how quickly China would be attentive to "workers rights" and "exploitation"? That WAS you right? Well, I guess that didn't pan out so well? They now lead the world in executions per capita, including murdering the business people who provide the jobs and pay the taxes, for the sake of a couple "good ole boy" competitors. They are also the worker exploitation/sweat shop capital of the world. So, even though your prophetic vision couldn't have been more incorrect, I'd like to know how you see murdering the people who are creating jobs, and paying the most taxes for the sake of upsetting a few connected competitors is "preserving the golden goose"?

    This is what the absence of a free market looks like folks, get a GOOD LOOK!! Piss off the wrong people? Become too successful? You get a trumped up charge and a bullet in your skull on a cold basement floor.

  8. Ricter


    They are in fact responding to labor and environmentalists, and quite rapidly, even to an inflationary degree. The changes in China are not occurring "perfectly".
  9. You doubt that's "coming to America"?
  10. Savant


    You must be joking, right? China sent a low level diplomat worker to the global warming summit in Copenhagen, which pretty much everyone (accurately) perceived as thumbing the entire event. They also attended that summit as a "developing" nation (asking for money and help from the "developed" nations). They did NOT attend as a "developed" nation to discuss how much money they could give away to the "developing" nations or how they could reduce their "carbon foot print".

    Even if mythical take were true, where does that really get us? China has the highest per capita execution rate in the world, and one of the worst records of human rights and civil liberties. They are murdering people for competing with the wrong clique of good ole boys, and routinely jail people for years without charges, and kill people for being too successful. But hey! They are taking care of the trees! So bombs away! Keep murdering the successful business people, throwing your unwanted babies in the lakes, and exploiting workers.. Because hey, those trees got it good!!!

    #10     Apr 19, 2011