One reason there hasn’t been a good biography of Xi Jinping is the enormous personal cost. The CCP jealously guards his official story. Attempts to do in-country research on his youth or his decade in Fujian is dangerous for you, anyone working for you, and anyone you interview
And how can any serious biography not make a bold attempt to get to the bottom of his time as a teenager in the Cultural Revolution or his meteoric rise in Fujian during a time the province was awash in massive corruption scandals. And what about his first wife?
The lack of a good Xi Jinping biography is a window into the nature of authoritarianism and the profound differences between Russia under Putin and China under Xi. This is obvious to many but I still find it remarkable, so will remark.
Putin’s Russia, for all its murder and thuggishness, is a profoundly different political entity than Xi’s China. The nationwide protests in Russia this past week, the fact that millions of people were able to view Navalny’s video of Putin’s alleged mansion makes the case.
None of that is remotely possible in today’s China under Xi. A video viewable to ordinary Chinese people documenting Xi Jinping’s family wealth? Nationwide, coordinated protests? Not in China of 2021. This explains the difficulty in doing a good, honest, Xi biography.
I feel that, because I was part of a reporting team that DID move the bar on Xi’s biography, that I have something to add here. That 2012 story came at a price, altering my life and the lives of many others. END
Addendum. @jwassers , whose @TheAtlantic article sparked this conversation, pointed out the plight of the HK booksellers. They’re exhibit A on the dangers of writing about Xi. Here’s some detail on what they were writing from me and @AndrewJacobsNYT…

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More from @PekingMike

27 Nov 20
JUST POSTED: New details on McKinsey's work with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma. In 2018 two top McKinsey consultants discussed possibly "eliminating" emails and documents. Much more. @waltbogdanich and me.…
@waltbogdanich The email McKinsey senior partner Martin Elling sent to his colleague Arnab Ghatak on July 4, 2018. Image
@waltbogdanich McKinsey also, among several options, proposed that Purdue pay rebates for opioid overdoses or opioid use disorder cased by its product...not to the victims, but to the Pharmacy Benefits Managers like CVS and Anthem. See this slide (this is all from a court filing last week) Image
Read 10 tweets
13 Aug 20
So you've all heard of the #PanamaPapers and probably of the offshore registration firm, Mossack Fonseca, whose records were leaked. (1/x)
You may have also noticed yesterday the story @jotted and I wrote that focused on the wealth of the daughter of Li Zhanshu, the No. 3 member of the Chinese Communist Party. If you didn't, here it is... (2/x)…
@jotted So the $15m house the daughter Li Qianxin bought in 2013 for about $15m USD (now worth considerably more) was registered to a company in in the British Virgin Islands, Century Joy. (3/x)...see
Read 8 tweets
12 Aug 20
THREAD! How we (mostly @jotted) documented that the daughter of the man who pushed Hong Kong's national security law through China's NPC ascended the ranks of Hong Kong's pro-Beijing elite, amassing great wealth. This thread will cover A LOT of territory. (1/x) Image
@jotted First of all, read our story, which just posted. Here it is: (2/x):…
@jotted In mid-2017, HK media reported about the mysterious rapid rise of Chua Hwa Por (Cai Huabo), how he amassed a fortune, and wrote that he was said to be married to the daughter of Li Zhanshu, an ally of Xi Jinping's poised to enter the elite Politburo Standing Committee. (3/x)
Read 51 tweets
16 Jul 20
BIG DEAL: I just tried to retweet the AP story from late June on forced sterilizations of Uygur women after @letahong said she couldn't tweet it. Twitter just rejected my tweet, saying it had been "flagged as suspicious." WHAT is going on?
@LetaHong Here is the twitter notice I got.
So I just tweeted another random AP story with a longish link as well, the one on Russia hacking. No difficulty.…
Read 4 tweets
3 May 20
A new generation of the extended Chao family starts maxing out to Mitch McConnell. A college freshman who, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, doled out more than $10k. Elaine Chao’s family has been one of McConnell’s biggest supporters over several decades, NYT reported.
It’s all laid out in this story from last year.…
In that story you’ll read that Elaine Chaio’s family, including her father, started bundling donations to McConnell in the days after the June 1989 Tiananmen Massacre. Weeks later her father was at the Communist Party’s inner sanctum in Beijing, meeting the Chinese leader
Read 5 tweets
4 Oct 19
THREAD: The long, sad history of presidential siblings, children and in-laws who somehow find incredible business opportunities in the People's Republic of China. Have a seat. Buckle up.
Let's start with Neil Bush, brother of 43 and son of 41. He's been a fixture in China for years. Being the son of George H.W. Bush, America's top envoy in the 1970s, served him well. In 2002 he got a great gig (for $400k) to consult for a certain Chinese company....
That company? Grace Semiconductor, co-founded by Jiang Mianheng, son of Jiang Zemin, the president at the time. Who was president of the US then? George W. Bush, Neil's brother. See this LAT story:…
Read 14 tweets

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