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A billionaire has enough of Beijing
The China Letter: July 29, 2022
This week in our roundup of news worth knowing from China: Ant Group loses its leader after a couple of strange years, TikTok is under increased scrutiny, why Nancy Pelosi is determined to visit Taiwan, the attempt to bring zero-COVID to Wuhan, and what a legal loss says about parenting perceptions.
Ant chief is crawling away
The report of Jack Ma planning to give up control of Ant Group follows a tumultuous 21 months in which the billionaire had his initial public offering halted by authorities in China due to his criticism of regulators. Ma then disappeared for a conspicuous period of time as Beijing’s crackdown on technology companies has continued to increase.
TikTok can see too much
The latest investigation into TikTok found pro-China messages being pushed through a news app owned by parent company ByteDance. BuzzFeed has similarly drawn attention to Chinese engineers accessing the data of American users, which led the company to relocate its storage location. U.S. lawmakers are now taking a harder look at its workings.
Speaker set on a statement
Nancy Pelosi’s history of standing against Beijing dates back to when she was chased out of Tiananmen Square during a 1991 visit to mark the massacre of two years prior. So, as concern continues to swirl from both sides of the political fence over her planned trip to Taiwan, it appears the U.S. speaker is determined see this through in spite of fears.
Wuhan back to beginning
News of a district of 1 million locked down due four COVID-19 cases has become less unusual in China due to its policy in 2022, but the headlines are more ironic when it’s in the place where the coronavirus pandemic started. Meanwhile, whether Xi Jinping got vaccinated himself remains a mystery, even after Beijing finally stated the president was.
Egg appeal frozen by court
Xu Zaozao was told by her doctor to get married and have children in response to her request to have her eggs frozen. Four years later, a court ruled against her legal effort to permit the procedure for single women without fertility issues. China has started offering perks to women to have babies—but only under circumstances approved by government.