The Collapse of China’s Credibility

August 26, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
A man rides a tricycle over the rails next to a cargo train in Beijing
A man rides a tricycle over the rails next to a cargo train in Beijing on Aug. 7, 2009. The head of Liaoning Province volunteered China's economic data were made up; he relied on volume of freight moved by train as one indicator of actual economic performance. (Liu Jin/AFP/Getty Images)

Recently, the international community has been voicing its distrust of China from a variety of perspectives, both political and economic. Even dirty deals between Western businessmen and the Chinese government are being exposed for the first time since the mid-1990s. China’s credibility appears to be collapsing.

Political mistrust can be seen from the international community’s reaction to the Gu Kailai murder trial. Since this was a high-profile case involving the wife of disgraced Chongqing Communist party boss Bo Xilai, the world watched closely.

The performance of China’s judicial system was measured and judged by how the Chinese regime handled the complex and major case—from its treatment of the defendants to the level of information disclosed.

What people saw was a managed show trial with a predetermined outcome. Contradictory statements involving the third party’s involvement in the murder, the chemicals used to kill British businessman Neil Heywood, and the defendants’ motive for the murder, have raised suspicions and left many unanswered questions.

An Aug. 12 article in The Telegraph titled “Neil Heywood murder trial: Did China’s ‘Red Queen’ fall on her sword to save her family?” raised more serious questions.

“The staging of the trial—closed to foreign media but open to some selected members of the public—was rehearsed repeatedly, according to one source. Two Chinese officials even donned suits like British Consulate officials who were to be invited to attend the hearing, allowing Gu to practice how to react and behave while under scrutiny,” stated the article.

Skeptics have suggested that the poisoning of Heywood is a serious warning to foreign investors who do business with China. Good relationships with Chinese representatives, once regarded as the key to successful business dealings in China, are now subject to heightened mistrust as a result of this case.

Greater Scrutiny

A New York Times, Aug. 14, report suggests that China investors may find themselves under greater scrutiny from both Chinese and American authorities. A series of investigations raises questions about the shady and intertwined intersection between politics and business in China.

The article reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating possible bribery involving casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange has also begun an investigation of some of Sands’s subsidiaries, which are alleged to be involved in the use of funds for business purposes other than what had been reported to the authorities.

In fact, this situation is very common. Chinese officials normally turn a blind eye to ill dealings when they have good relationships with a foreign investor. Documents obtained by the paper show that China’s Ministry of Commerce and Chinese courts have frozen the bank accounts and Company Registrars of some of Sands’s subsidiaries.

At the London Olympics, Chinese athletes were subject to great suspicion by British media. Britain’s Daily Telegraph published a commentary by Brendan O’Neill, “Why do we Brits look upon Chinese athletes as cheats, freaks, and robots?”

It discussed the widely reported aspersions on swimmer Ye Shiwen’s superhuman achievements, and how Chinese badminton players were disqualified after they purposefully tried to lose the game. The author raised questions as to just why Britons view the Chinese as sneaks and cheats, who unlike Britons, understand nothing of fair play.

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Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.