Jack Ma’s disappearance sheds light on several other similar incidents in China. In the past too, many rich people of the society have disappeared from this country. As if their fame suddenly sank in the middle of the rise.
Images Source: Collected
Jack Ma was China’s richest industrialist in 2014. The slender, lanky man is one of the founders and former chairman of Alibaba Group. According to Forbes statistics, he is currently at number 64 in the list of the world’s richest people. Jack made international headlines in late 2020 for another reason than investment, financial success or business. Suddenly he disappeared. He was last seen at a rally in Shanghai in October. Criticism of China’s ruling party was heard in his mouth that day. Since then, this Chinese billionaire has not been found for a long time. The news of Jack Ma’s disappearance sent shockwaves around the world. There was no trace of where the aquatic man went. No statement has been made by the Chinese government. As a result, the mystery deepens. Jack Mae’s disappearance sheds light on several other similar disappearances in China. To the outside world’s attention, Jack Ma is not the first, in the past, several other billionaires, influential people of the society have disappeared like him.
Among these missing Chinese billionaires are Guo Guangchang, Zhou Chengjian, Ren Zhiqiang, Xiao Jianhua and others. All have disappeared very mysteriously. As if their fame suddenly sank in the middle of the rise. Significantly, in almost every case, the underground tycoons have been critical of the government and the Chinese Communist Party in one way or another. They have to pay the price of opposition to the government, experts claim.
News of the disappearance of Chinese investor Guo Guangchang came to light in 2015. Guo had investments of lakhs of dollars in Asia, Europe, North America. Some called him the ‘Warren Buffett of China’. He was not found for a long time. Some on social media claimed at the time that Guo was seen being taken by the Chinese police to the Shanghai airport. Guo returned after a long absence. Joined work again. But no one was seen anywhere to open his mouth about his disappearance.
In January 2016, communication with Zhou Chengjian, the owner of a popular fashion company in Shanghai, suddenly stopped. He was nowhere to be seen, could not be contacted in any way. Zhou’s company was forced to stop working. According to reports in the local press, Zhou has been taken into custody by the police in connection with a corruption investigation. He is being interrogated. But all so secretly, that even the crow did not notice. Zhou returned after a few weeks. But he did not utter a word about the sudden disappearance.
In 2020, Ren Zhiqiang, another Chinese real estate tycoon, suddenly disappeared in the same manner. Ren published an online report criticizing the Chinese government’s handling of the epidemic as the country was engulfed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which spread beyond the country’s borders to foreign countries. Not only that, but Ren used the word ‘Joker’ to refer to Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping several times without naming him. The Chinese government has not forgiven Ren, a long-time member of the Communist Party, for this ‘misadventure’. After a long period of disappearance, the government announced that Ren had been expelled from the ruling party. All his property was confiscated. Ren was sentenced to 18 years in prison. He was found guilty by the Chinese government on charges of bribery and abuse of power. However, many say that Ren is being punished for criticizing the government.
In 2017, Xiao Jianhua, the head of another Chinese investment firm, Tomorrow Group, fell into the hands of the government. He was picked up from a hotel in Hong Kong. Allegedly, Xiao was brought to mainland China in a wheelchair with a black cloth covering his face. He has not been seen in public since then.
Bao Fan is the newest addition to the list of suddenly disappearing influencers like Zhou, Xiao, Ren or Jack Ma. He is the head of a leading Chinese banking company. Chinese and international media claim that his whereabouts are missing for the last three weeks. Shares of Bao Fan’s company plunged on China’s stock market after news of Bao Fan’s disappearance emerged. The organization has informed that no one knows where and how Bao is.
According to Aaron Friedberg, professor of politics and international relations at Princeton University, the fate of Jack Ma and other Chinese tycoons illustrates the consequences of questioning the power of the Chinese government.
According to experts, the Communist Party of China never allows excess wealth to be concentrated in the hands of private companies. When such a situation arises, when the influential people try to raise their heads with the power of money, their wings are clipped. The principle of the Communist Party in China has always been one, no individual or group above the party. Anyone in power who speaks against the party will face wrath. Jack Ma or Bao fans have proven that time and again.