Monday, November 11, 2013

The challenges China faces to growth

... probably doesn't start with its entrepreneurs - but it's a big problem (WTOP):

At the forum, prominent attorney Li Zhuang described how a former client, Chongqing businessman Gong Gangmo, was handcuffed by police interrogators to high window bars for eight days until he signed a confession that he was the ringleader of a triad, as Chinese criminal gangs are known. Li said the charges were trumped up to strip Gong of his assets.

His ordeal was part of a crackdown on business owners in the southwestern city of Chongqing under Bo Xilai, the populist leader now serving prison time after his vaulting ambition unsettled the top echelon of the Communist Party. Entrepreneurs were tortured and jailed after summary trials, their assets seized.

Though the crackdown took place years ago, Chinese authorities have never provided a full account of the abuses, and many in the business world are only now hearing some details. Those who had misgivings about Bo's campaigns, which included mass Communist sing-along sessions, kept silent.

"At the time, I was repulsed by Bo Xilai's 'red song' and 'anti-mafia' campaigns, but I did not publicly speak out," said Wang Shi, head of China Vanke, the country's biggest property developer, at a June forum organized by online portal Tencent.

"As an entrepreneur, one cannot just work and not say anything," he said. "You must still stand up and say no when society is facing a backslide or a moment of danger."

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