Covid; Fall of Macau junket king; China-Africa; Smarter municipal social governance
It is starting to feel like winter here at Sinocism HQ. Among the things on my radar today:
The arrest of Suncity CEO Alvin Chau is fascinating. Perhaps it is simply related to his business enticing gamblers inside China and facilitating capital flight, but given his junket business and the rich and politically powerful who have used it he must know a lot that could be useful.
Perhaps Xi believes there should be no gambling in the New Era, even at massive costs to Macau. He has already shown a willingness to destroy other industries like tutoring, at the costs of tens of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of equity value. What if Xi has decided there is now no room in a modern Socialist China for gambling, that gambling is inimical to the achievement of Common Prosperity, and so will push crackdowns on it with much more rigor than any of his predecessors? How far down could the downside for Macau's gaming sector really be?
A new paper on the number of infections and deaths China would be suffering if not for its strict Covid controls is yet another reminder that China is not opening its borders in any way approaching "normal" for a very long time unless we get miraculous new vaccines and therapeutics. The domestic political upside of the zero tolerance approach far outweighs any of the downside risks associated with a broader re-opening.
I assume all of you saw Jamie Dimon’s comments about the longevity of the CCP that were in the news last week - Dimon Jokes JPMorgan Likely to Outlast China Communist Party - Bloomberg
“We hope to be there for a long time,” Dimon said of China while speaking Tuesday at a panel discussion at the Boston College Chief Executives Club. He relayed a “joke” he made during a recent visit to Hong Kong: “The Communist Party is celebrating its 100th year. So is JPMorgan. And I’ll make you a bet we last longer.”...
Dimon, one of the longest serving and most outspoken CEOs on Wall Street, also said he doesn’t know anyone who “thinks that something’s gonna go wrong in Taiwan,” saying the current tensions amounted to “saber rattling.” He warned that a Chinese intervention in Taiwan “could be their Vietnam.”…
“If you opened up the doors of America, a billion people come here,” Dimon said. “If you open the doors of China, how many people do you think would go there? And so people should be a little careful when they think that China is ascendant that way.”
A spokesman for JPMorgan said that the company is committed to China, and that Mr. Dimon “acknowledges he should not speak lightly or disrespectfully about another country or its leadership.” The CEO also said he strongly supports a constructive and detailed economic dialogue with China, the spokesman added...
It is too early to tell if his apologies are enough. It makes sense that PRC official outlets have not made a big deal out of this publicly, given the desire to bind Wall Street further to the PRC and to bring in more foreign capital. But these are quite politically sensitive quips, especially coming just days after the Sixth Plenum and the historical resolution, so behind the scenes do not be surprised if JP Morgan loses some opportunities for a period of time, and perhaps comes under even more pressure to help lobby to change US policies in directions the PRC government wants.