Chinese state media announced Tuesday that a man “named Ma” was arrested on charges of “colluding with outside forces” to “subvert the state and divide the country.” Share prices plummeted as investors feared it might be the suspect Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who was China’s richest man until he dared to challenge Chinese Communist policies.
The Chinese state Global times refused to identify the man beyond his last name, but shyly acknowledged the intense online interest in the way his name is spelled with “three Chinese characters”:
Ma, who was born in 1985 in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, works as the director of the hardware research and development department of an IT company, the Global Times learned. After being brainwashed by external anti-Chinese forces, Ma saw anti-Chinese forces as “mentors” and they became one of their tools to contain China.
Since March 2022, with the incitement of an anti-Chinese figure, Ma has created an anonymous group online to play the role of agent of external forces, spread rumors and disinformation, and issue the so-called declaration of independence to divide the country and subvert it. State.
According to information acquired by the Global Times, in addition to forming illegal organizations and drawing up political schemes to subvert the state, Ma has also targeted young people and college students, inciting them to participate in activities that defame the country and the people.
The Global times breathlessly accused the suspect of establishing a “temporary parliament for mainland China” and drafting new “laws and institutions” to prepare for his grand plan to “subvert the Chinese government with support from abroad.” The article implied that he had done most of these things simply by posting on social media.
Many observers immediately thought the target was Jack Ma, as the flamboyant billionaire was “Disappeared” from the regime in October 2020 after criticizing Communist economic policies at an international forum in Shanghai.
but reappeared in early 2021 with a very subdued stance, a shattered financial empire and $ 10 billion shaved off his net worth. His harsh treatment by the Communist Party has proved the opening salvo of a campaign to teach Chinese tech billionaires that the Politburo and dictator Xi Jinping are the ultimate bosses. Much of 2021 was occupied by a regulatory crackdown on the largest Chinese companies, apparently closed or suspended since coronavirus outbreaks this year.
Investors are so nervous about the wild swings undertaken by the paranoid Chinese Communist Party during its latest coronavirus outbreak that Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group lost $ 26 billion in stock value Tuesday morning. Alibaba stock is now down 66% from its peak before Jack Ma criticized Communist politics.
The spelling of the suspect’s name in Chinese has led to speculation that the suspect could be the son of Jack Ma Jerry, a full-fledged billionaire whose profile is in line with some (but not all) of the information disclosed by the Global times. As explained by the China Reader blog:
In Chinese news, a given name is often made anonymous by changing to the character 某 mou. But in this case, reports call the alleged offender Ma Mou-Mou, meaning two mou instead of one. This does not match Jack Ma’s Chinese name, which consists of only one character, 云 Yun.
However, it would match the name of Ma’s son Jerry Ma, whose Chinese name Ma Yuankun consists of two characters for the given name. It would also be paired with his daughter, Ma Yuanbao.
Jerry Ma has his own business, of course, and has an estimated net worth of $ 3 billion.
Not much reliable information about the Ma family has been released to the public – Jack Ma and his wife Cathy Zhang allegedly have a third child whose name is not in the public domain – but since most accounts Jerry Ma is several years old minor with respect to the date of birth 1985 given by Global times for the suspect of subversion, and his sister is several years younger than him.
Whether or not the man arrested on Tuesday has a connection to Jack Ma, the tech mogul is still in trouble with the Communist Party. Jack Ma disappeared again earlier this year and in February the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection (CCDI), the Chinese anti-corruption agency, began to investigate its links with various state-owned enterprises.
But he could fall because he was related to Zhou Jiangyong, a senior Communist Party official accused of corruption last month. Zhou allegedly abused his office to extort bribes from numerous companies, including Ma’s Ant Group, in exchange for facilitating discounted real estate purchases.