Today, we, Citizen Power Initiatives for China, received from China an open letter to seemingly embattled Jack Ma, the richest man in the country and founder of Alibaba.
Ma oddly vanished from public view for nearly three months only to reappear recently on a homemade video, promising “to meet again after the pandemic is over.” This indicates that, unlike other less fortunate wealthy businessmen, Ma is safe for the time being. However, it does not mean Ma is out of danger.
The open letter, undersigned by “A group of people concerned about the fate of China”, calls Jack Ma to stand up to his danger by fighting.
The authors of the open letter left us an email address firstname.lastname@example.org for those who want to interview them.
Here is the open letter.
An Open Letter to Jack Ma
Dear Mr. Jack Ma,
As a group of people who care about the changes in Chinese society its future, we take the liberty of writing this open letter to you at a time when Alibaba is facing a complex situation. We hope to remind you of the great risks you are now facing and desire to contribute some ideas to minimize these risks.
Mr. Jack Ma, you are in the middle of the storm. We believe you have a lot of personal feelings about the current risks, and from our perspective of bystanders, we believe that this is by no means an ordinary crisis, this may be a life-or-death crisis. The countdown clock has begun, and you must act in order to avoid or resolve this unprecedented crisis.
The crisis does not arise from Ant Financial’s business model, nor is it a so-called financial compliance issue. It is not about robbing the pie from traditional financial institutions. The crisis is not just an issue of crony capitalism behind Ant Financial/Alibaba as interpreted by all sectors. In the end, there is only one root cause of this crisis, that is, Alibaba and Mr. Jack Ma, your influence has become so large that it has made the autocratic bureaucracy seriously uncomfortable, and has even been interpreted as a threat to the existing regime. A trumped-up charge of threatening political security is almost certain to come out.
The successful business story of you and Alibaba group should be the pride of the society and the country, and a merit in the eyes of the government, but unfortunately, there are still serious conservative forces within the ruling group, who are indulging in the ideological dream of Marxism-Leninism. They are double-minded about the cause of reform and opening up, and they emphasize a high degree of vigilance against capitalism and capitalists They are disturbed by the new economic and social phenomena beyond their control, such as the new Internet economy and technological innovation. Some of your maverick public statements, Mr. Jack Ma, have deepened this tension and may turn hostile. Over the past few years, Wang Jianlin, Wu Xiaohui, Xiao Jianhua and many other tycoons have been purged, not only because of their own violations of laws and regulations, but also because of the personalization of the power structure of the ruling group and the resurgence of conservative forces.
No matter how Alibaba’s business is overhauled, no matter what posture Alibaba takes, it may be maliciously interpreted by your opponent, and there is no way to fundamentally avoid this. You will be crushed by your opponent if you cannot find an opportunity to withdraw, or you do not defeat your opponent.
The severity of this crisis cannot be overstated. How you deal with it is obviously more important. Mr. Jack Ma, another key reason we take the liberty of writing to you is that the crisis you are facing, is not just against you or the Alibaba group. It is tied to the fate of China’s market economy, to the direction of China’s social development, and therefore to the future of China. Is China going to move towards a civilized and free modern society or to remain a harsh and closed authoritarian state? Your choice and your destiny are deeply intertwined with the destiny of all Chinese citizens. Based on our values and beliefs, we are willing to stand on your side unreservedly in this upcoming public conflict, and we hope to contribute our ideas and resources to this war without gunpowder.
There is no doubt that this will be a very difficult war. Success will not easy. Under the sickle of China’s political system, countless moguls have fallen. However, we believe that each person has different opportunities and different missions given by history. The previous story is not destined to be your destiny.
Internet Moguls enjoy a different status than those who rely on power collusion to make their fortunes. It is not impossible to discredit and stigmatize Jack Ma and his likes by the government, but it is obviously more difficult.
More importantly, Alibaba has 1 billion active users. As long as it is used properly, flow is power.
We can imagine that in the current situation, no matter what choice you make, there are huge risks and great uncertainty prospects. On the other hand, if you do nothing, your wealth and social bonds will dissipate, Alibaba and yourself will become the meat on the chopping block of the political system. Mr. Ma’s reputation will be lowered, and bad politics will continue to run wild.
Mr. Jack Ma, you have high social prestige and many friends in the business and political circles with great power and wisdom. A just cause attracts extensive support while an unjust one finds little. You are not alone in this fight. If we remain in awe of the way of heaven, Mr. Jack Ma, the legend you have created in the business world for so many years, can be described as a godsend. Perhaps there is some kind of providence that has brought you to the forefront of history to lead this showdown of honor, security and justice. With your resources, determination, and unique luck, you may turn calamities into blessings.
Mr. Sun Yat-sen, the pioneer of China’s democratic revolution, had this to say, “The trend of the world is surging forward. Those who follow the trend will prosper, and those who go against it will perish. Every time in the Gengzi Year, the world changes drastically. Mr. Jack Ma, you may sit and wait, or follow Mr. Sun Yat-sen’s accomplishments. This is the time.
All the best!
A group of people concerned about the fate of China
February 1, 2021
Read about Jack Ma in this recent Op-Ed by Bradley Thayer and Lianchao Han: Why the Richest Man in China Is Terrified of Xi Jinping