12/11/2015, 00.00
CHINA
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The disappearance of one of China’s foremost billionaires is death of the rule of law

Speaking to AsiaNews, a trade union source said that the fate of Fosun group founder Guo Guangchang, dubbed China’s Warren Buffet, epitomises the collapse of a social system. “Now the government does what it wants without even manipulating the legal process.” Doing so, “no private investor will risk his money”.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – The "disappearance" of billionaire Guo Guangchang "marks the final death of the rule of law in China. Now the government does what it wants without even manipulating the legal process,” said a trade union source involved with mainland China, anonymous for security reasons.

Dubbed China’s Warren Buffett, Guo is the chairman of Fosun, one of China's biggest private conglomerates. Since he went missing after landing in Shanghai from Hong Kong, his Hong Kong shares stopped trading.

Mainland news outlet Caixin reported that Guo had either been detained or was assisting in other investigations. However, two Fosun executives dismissed the Caixin story as inaccurate. “It’s a rumour,” one of them said.

Conversely, a well-connected businessman told the South China Morning Post that Guo’s problems might be related to his relationship with either Yao Gang, a vice-chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or Ai Baojun, a vice-mayor of Shanghai. Both are under investigation by the anti-graft watchdog.

“Guo is very cautious in his handling of the government. As he often tells us, stay close to politics, but stay away from politicians,” a source inside Fosun said.

"Until Xi Jinping became president, China's economic development was characterised by some sort of gang rivalries,” the source told AsiaNews. “Business people tied themselves to party bosses, knowing that if the latter fell from grace, they would risk everything. However, theirs was a calculated risk, a 'business risk'. Now there are no rules.”

Still, this "could backfire against the current government. Laws in China are not reliable, nor are unions or employers for workers.”

“As unfair this might be, at least it could stand under political despotism. Now, if the latter goes, no private investor will risk investing. And private capital holders are the last card for China’s economy.”

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