The detention in China of former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei and the about $130 million tax evasion fine reportedly slapped on popular actress Fan Bingbing have something in common – They’re both about showing who’s in charge.
“If economic liberalization was the animating principle of [Deng Xiaoping]’s tenure, what defines [President] Xi’s ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ is a political adherence to his vision. His strategy may seem brutal, but it’s hardly illogical,”
“Authoritarianism short-circuits when any single person, no matter how exceptional, is able to extricate himself from political obligation…Other forms of power—outsized wealth, fame, and prestige—present the possibility of success independent of Party patronage, and, most alarming to Xi, a vision of China without the Communist state. The existence of a troublemaker like [billionaire] Guo Wengui is an unforgivable offense, but the possibility that China is rearing a generation of connected, monied individuals who live unbeholden to the Party is an existential terror.”