The mystery deepens as more and more officials and business tycoons disappear in China

The phenomenon of disappearances of officials and business leaders in China is not new, but the speed, scale and breadth of these disappearances and firings under the president are Xi JinpingChina’s regime has raised significant concerns about the inner workings of the Chinese government.
Rahm Emanuel, the US ambassador, traveled there in September Japanused the social media platform
Now Chen Shaojie, the chief executive of livestreaming company DouYu, and Zhao Bingxian, chairman of Shandong Wohua Pharmaceutical, have joined the list of the disappeared. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Chen has been unavailable since October. DouYu, a Nasdaq-listed company partially owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent, has not commented on Chen’s status but maintains that his “business operations remain normal.” Meanwhile, Shandong Wohua Pharmaceutical announced that Zhao was arrested for an investigation, although the company itself is not involved, the WSJ report said. China’s foreign and defense ministers also disappeared from public view this summer before being removed from their posts, highlighting the opacity of governance under Xi Jinping.

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The reasons for this disappearance remain unclear. These incidents are part of a broader pattern. Prominent figures, including investment banker Fan Bao, have also disappeared or been arrested. This worrying trend has led to a significant outflow of profits from China, with foreign companies siphoning off over $160 billion in profits amid slowing economic growth and rising geopolitical tensions, the WSJ report said.
“China prioritizes politics over economics and economics, and its leaders have said this repeatedly, but many in the business community have chosen to ignore it or simply brush it aside as another example of political talk with no practical impact,” said Zhiwu Chen, professor and chair of finance at the university Hong Kong‘s business school, told the WSJ. “Now they have learned their lesson and some are no longer willing to invest in new businesses.”
The approach also had an impact on foreign companies. The Chinese government has sought to reassure businesses and investors, with senior officials meeting top entrepreneurs and laying out plans to support the private sector. However, business leaders remain unsettled by the unpredictable political climate and the use of arbitrary detention, the WSJ report said.
These developments are part of a broader regulatory crackdown under Xi that has affected not just business leaders but also senior political figures and well-connected entrepreneurs. The situation reflects increasing concerns about China’s governance and its impact on domestic and international business confidence.

Sybil Alvarez

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