Chongqing’s city skyline, by Jakob Montrasio.
If there is one article you must read this weekend, it’s this article by John Garnaut of the Sydney Morning Herald, entitled “Show them the money, old China”. The article offers fascinating insight into what’s going on today in Chongqing, one of China’s four direct-controlled municipalities, and the economic hub of the western region. Here is an excerpt:
ZHANG Mingyu paid the going price to secure the patronage of the king of Chongqing finance, a man he always called ”big brother”. Zhang played endless hands of poker at Weng Zhenjie’s expansive villa – where each player was accompanied by an attractive woman – and took care to lose at a ratio of 10 to one.
His 2 million yuan ($A299,600) in gambling debts were promptly paid, his modest winnings never collected. Twice he rushed to answer random demands to deliver a total of 1.35 million yuan in cash to Weng’s villa door.
Zhang thought he knew the unwritten rules – ”I call it the balance of terror – you do bad by me, I expose you” – but Weng knew the game much better. When the courtship was complete, Weng’s thugs cornered Zhang in a park and beat him up, drove him out of town, and Weng took possession of Zhang’s 2 billion yuan real estate portfolio.
Whether the game is poker, business or politics, Weng can’t seem to lose. Zhang recently handed his report on Weng to the Chongqing mayor inside the city’s People’s Congress. Somebody promptly torched his office.
Zhang’s dossier of Weng Zhenjie’s gangland antics – one multimillionaire congress delegate dumping on another – would be remarkable anywhere. But in Chongqing it landed like a bombshell.
”This is the most brutal battle in Chongqing’s business community since liberation,” says a manager at one of Chongqing’s largest and well-connected private companies, who knows both protagonists well. [Read full article here]