Friday, September 13, 2013

Timid & Lonely

Multi-billionaire Wang Gongquan was taken into custody by Beijing police from his home in Beijing. The charge was unorderly gathering in public. The police also took a computer, two photo frames and several 'citizen' pins.

Real estate mogul Pan Shiyi was speechless when interviewed by media, stuttering, "I, I..IIII,.."

Pan later said through Weibo that his wife Zhang Xin told him to shutup. He also cited an observation made by Chairman Mao that Chinese capitalists were born weak and coward, in a self reference.

Wang Gongquan is a heavyweight even among the rich and privileged Chinese businessmen. Growing up from grassroot, Wang raised to prove his talents in business as a top aide to Mou Qizhong, a modern day legend in Chinese capitalism. While Wang was believed to be personally loyal to Mou, when Mou got into serious trouble with a few senior government officials in 1996, Wang did not dare to chip in Mou's legal expenses. "It is too sensitive", Wang told Mou's wife.

In the 2000s, Wang shined as a creator in the Chinese capitalism world. Wang hand-trained hundreds of top entrepreneurs, and is a major investor in many household names such as Qihu360, Hanting, Minsheng Banking Corp, Xueda Education, AsiaInfo, SouthBeauty, etc. Many launched successfully launched IPO in NYSE or NASDAQ.

At the highest of his success, Wang withdrew from the business world, and converted himself to a 'citizen awareness' advocate. Wang was invited as a visiting scholar at the Eastern Asia Institute at the Columbia University in 2011, studied citizen society and democracy.

Equal education opportunity was the priority on Wang's citizen agenda. With Wang's influence, they gathering a petition with 150,000 signatures and petitioned to the People's Congress and Department of Education for 28 times. Under the pressure, the Department of Education issued school enrollment guidelines for children of migrant workers.

In addition to the Beijing police, local governments in China set up hundreds of 'private' jails in Beijing to detain those who travel to Beijing to petition their cases to the central government. By law, these underground jails are illegal, but Beijing police had been kept a blind eye because central government did not want to take these cases (by law all ministries must take petitions). In the middle of a cold night, Wang Gongquan visited one of these private jail operated with other petitioners. Some media started reporting, and local governments were forced to cut back on setting up these illegal jails in Beijing.

However, Wang strongly opposes any radical reform. He warned the public, revolution could be violent and damaging when everyone got hurt badly. He said he was performing duty of a citizen with constructive criticism at a time of change.

Ever since Xi&Li took over the supreme reign one year ago, the writing has been on the wall. Founder and Chairman of Alibaba and Taobao Ma Yun 'Jack' publically praised the Tian'anmen Square Massacre on June 4, 1989, when the CCP government used tanks and machine guns to slaughter college students demanding democracy and government transparency. This summer, founder of Lenovo Liu Chuanzhi scolded members of a top business salon Zhenghe Island to steer away from politics. A member businesswoman Wang Ying quit in protest. Wang was among few who publicly supported Wang's high profile withdrawn. Wang Ying recalled a conversation with Wang Gongquan, when he said, "I knew I could probably reach nowhere. But in the least I can face my children and told them I had tried."

Wang gave up his personal fortune when he eloped with another woman. Being a poem himself, he wrote a 'Song of Elopement' which was forwarded millions of times. Forty-two days later, he returned to his wife. He was not hiding his confusion when reporters asked for the reason of his return, 'I do not regret, but how could I be happy when a woman (his wife) was crying?'.

After the incident, Wang spent an entire year traveling with his family touring the world. However, he no longer wrote romantic poets.

Last week at his daughter's wedding in the US, he told the newlywed, "Maintain your consciousness, Love your homeland".

Two years ago, Wang encouraged his audiences, "we are competing in time with ruling tyranny, but just as well as with mobs who believe in nothing but violent revolution."

Today, this ever timid and lonely businessman, venture capitalist, idealist, poet, social activist Wang is spending time in a jail room because of his extremely mild advocate for citizenship awareness. Will he regret what he did?

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