They have got rich thanks to capitalism but live in a communist country. At a time when the Russian oligarchy is under great scrutiny, they remain completely anonymous. Who are these Chinese oligarchs who have made their country the second-largest economy in the world?
The outcome of the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, the reappointment of Xi Jinping, came as no surprise to anyone: now nearly seventy and in power for ten years, he nailed his colours to the mast in 2018 by abolishing the two-term limit set out in the Constitution. The Secretary General is untouchable in every way and has a whole country under his thumb, from the proletariat to the wealthy elite.
In communist China, as in the US, 1% of the population controls over a third of the nation’s wealth. Unlike the great names of American capitalism, these men and the odd few women, the oldest of them having climbed out of bottomless poverty aggravated by the Cultural Revolution, have built their empires in just two generations, amassing huge fortunes and imposing their choices on whole segments of globalised trade. Who is hiding behind these giants of technology and real estate, from AliBaba to Didi, Tencent and Huawei, from whom the government is trying to wrestle back control even if it means breaking their backs? Under the CCP, you must obey or disappear; 4.5 million officials and civilians have reportedly been banished to date.
Geopolitical journalist Christine Ockrent reveals the secrets of an impenetrable system and its players; who are the Chinese oligarchs?