From the time that Xi Jinping took office in late 2012, it has been clear that he was a hardcore communist. Sounding like every other communist from Karl Marx on, he predicted “the eventual demise of capitalism and the ultimate victory of socialism” in an early speech.
Xi maintains that he doesn’t object to people getting rich, as long as they use their wealth to serve the Party’s interests. But the reality is that, as with all true believers, the Chinese dictator has been killing off free enterprise in China one billionaire at a time.
In the beginning, he faced quiet opposition from other senior leaders, many of whose families had gotten fabulously wealthy by becoming patrons of wealthy entrepreneurs in return for protecting them from the exactions of other corrupt officials.
But by 2017, Xi had become the undisputed leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the government, and the military—the Chinese snarkily refer to him as the “chairman of everything”—and he has decided that it’s time to bring China’s entrepreneurs under his control.
First, just to make sure that the wealthy complied, he put a watch on them: A Communist Party branch was stood up in every company with more than 50 employees and a Party representative was installed on the board of every major non-state-owned company in the country. Such close oversight of their activities should have made it clear to the wealthy that they were living on borrowed time.
Placing Party members on the boards of private corporations meant that wealth creators had targets on their backs. After all, in the minds of rapacious communist officials, the best way to eliminate capitalism is to eliminate the capitalists themselves. And if some of the confiscated wealth from the capitalists winds up in their own pockets, so much the better. One after another, wealthy businessmen began being charged with various crimes.
Over the past year, the war on the wealthy in China has picked up steam. Taking their cues from Xi’s hostility toward private enterprise, government officials at all levels are arresting, imprisoning, executing, and even “suiciding” their wealthy.
Literally hundreds of Chinese billionaires and CEOs have been disappeared. Some have emerged a few weeks or months later in recorded propaganda videos, robotically expressing their undying devotion to the Party and Chairman Xi.
Others are serving long prison sentences. In September 2020, Ren Zhiqiang, a real estate mogul who criticized Xi’s handling of the pandemic, was jailed for 18 years on corruption charges. In August, Sun Dawu, a Chinese agricultural mogul, received a similar sentence for “provoking trouble.” This, as with “corruption,” is a one-size-fits-all charge levied against those the regime targets.
The clampdown has been particularly harsh in minority areas, such as Xinjiang.
“In East Turkistan, CCP officials have arrested hundreds of wealthy Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples as part of its ongoing campaign of genocide, sentencing them to long prison terms on bogus charges,” said Salih Hudayar, prime minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile. In June, Radio Free Asia reported that prominent Uyghur billionaires such as Iminjan Rahmitulla, Rehmutulla Semet, Abdusopur Semet, and Musajan Imam had been sentenced from 18 to 20 years in prison.
CCP officials have stolen the assets of countless Uyghurs on the pretext that those entrepreneurs aren’t only “corrupt” but that they’re also secretly supporting Uyghur resistance to Chinese rule. In reality, Hudayar said that “many of them had simply engaged in philanthropic activities to uplift Uyghurs from poverty.”
In addition to reeducation or long prison terms, some Chinese billionaires have simply been executed.
No one, however wealthy, is exempt. Even Jack Ma, once China’s wealthiest man, was disappeared late in 2020 after he publicly criticized China’s banking system. Ma’s company, e-commerce giant Alibaba, which he created using stolen U.S. technology, is being downsized by regulators and its stock price has plummeted.
Ma himself is reportedly undergoing “reeducation” at the hands of Party officials in a secret location. Who knows when, and if, he’ll ever be free again?
The Chinese Communist Party is eating its billionaires, one by one. Not surprisingly, the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges have lost a half-trillion dollars in wealth over the past few weeks.
George Soros Is Wrong Again
George Soros, who isn’t my favorite person, has condemned China’s war on the wealthy, but he mistakenly lays all of the blame on Xi Jinping himself.
“Mr. Xi is determined to bring the creators of wealth under the control of the one-party state,” Soros wrote in a piece titled, “Xi’s Dictatorship Threatens the Chinese State.”
But Soros has it exactly backward. It’s the one-party state itself that, by concentrating power in the hands of a few top leaders, created the conditions for Xi to become an absolute dictator.
A communist party’s politburo is the perfect breeding ground for power-hungry megalomaniacs who dream of becoming the “chairman of everything.”
In other words, if Xi hadn’t come along when he did, some other Mao-clone would have. Communism churns out Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Castro clones like Dunkin’ Donuts churns out donuts. It was only a matter of time before someone such as Xi came along.
Couple a Chairman Xi with a Communist Party apparatus that’s naturally suspicious of everyone outside of its immediate control, whether those are members of religious groups or private entrepreneurs and you have the perfect recipe for an all-embracing tyranny. Not to mention that officials hardly need to be encouraged to help Xi kill the geese that lay the golden eggs in the hope that they can steal a few in the process.
We know how this tale ends. Whenever one-party dictatorships decide that producing tyranny is more important than producing the goods—as they all do sooner or later—economic collapse and famine.
Does anyone remember the New Economic Policy of the early Soviet Union? Vladimir Lenin so leveled the economy in his forced march toward communism in the early 1920s that he was forced to allow private enterprise to return, lest everyone in Russia starve to death. Entrepreneurs stepped forward, only to be crushed by Stalin a decade later when Lenin’s successor decided that it was time to once again exert total control.
The same sad scenario is now playing out in China.
After Mao’s people’s communes produced famine instead of food and his Cultural Revolution produced bloodshed and chaos, Deng Xiaoping, in desperation, dissolved the communes, encouraged private enterprise, and opened up China to the West. The result was double-digit economic growth, led by a new class of entrepreneurs who became wealthy in the process.
As with Stalin, Xi has decided that it’s now time to once again exert total control. That means that entrepreneurs must now be crushed—regardless of the damage to the larger economy. The forced march toward communism must continue.
Xi may think that, unlike his communist forbearers, he can avoid failure and famine. I think that he’s signing the death warrant for millions of Chinese, not to mention the People’s Republic of China itself. We’ll see.
Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.