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Red Roulette: An Insider's Story of Wealth,…
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Red Roulette: An Insider's Story of Wealth, Power, Corruption, and Vengeance in Today's China (udgave 2022)

af Desmond Shum (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1373192,902 (3.74)4
"After the Communist Revolution, Desmond Shum's grandfather was marked as belonging to a "black category" that included former landlords and rich peasants--meaning the Shums would be stigmatized and impoverished. As Desmond was growing up, he vowed his life would be different. Through hard work and sheer tenacity Shum earned an American college degree and returned to China to establish himself in business. There, he met his future wife, the highly intelligent and equally ambitious Whitney Duan who was determined to make her mark within China's male-dominated society. Whitney and Desmond formed an effective team and, aided by relationships they formed with top members of the red aristocracy, vaulted into China's billionaire class. Soon they were developing the massive air cargo facility at Beijing International Airport, and they followed that feat with the creation of one of Beijing's premier hotels. They were dazzlingly successful, traveling in private jets, funding multi-million-dollar buildings and endowments, and purchasing expensive homes, vehicles, and art. But in 2017, their fates diverged irrevocably when Desmond, while residing overseas with his son, learned that his now ex-wife Whitney had vanished along with three coworkers. This is both Desmond's story and Whitney's, because she cannot tell it herself."---Amazon.… (mere)
Medlem:rcatron
Titel:Red Roulette: An Insider's Story of Wealth, Power, Corruption, and Vengeance in Today's China
Forfattere:Desmond Shum (Forfatter)
Info:Scribner (2022), 344 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:***1/2
Nøgleord:read

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Red Roulette: An Insider's Story of Wealth, Power, Corruption, and Vengeance in Today's China af Desmond Shum

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Red Roulette-Desmond Shum, author; Tim Chiou, narrator
When I chose this book, I believed it was a mystery about a successful Chinese woman who had been made to disappear by malignant Chinese government officials. It was not until the end, when she was finally mentioned, that I realized that it was about so much more than that. Desmond Shum was born in Shanghai. At an early age he was moved to Hong Kong by his family in order to escape the abuse of the Chinese government. Later on, he studied in America and was offered a green card. He refused it because he felt a strong feeling of nationalism for his own country. Today, he is safely out of China, and he has exposed the massive dishonesty and corruption there, with its crooked way of doing business and the way it manipulates people to achieve unquestioned control.
Carefully, and sometimes tediously, Shum outlines how he met his wife Whitney Duan, how their relationship grew slowly, than deepened, and then soured, how they climbed the ladder of success achieving a fortune most people cannot even imagine, rubbed hands with the rich and famous in business in the West and in China, played by the rules, but in the end, still fell victim to the power hungry and the corruption. Power and money often changed hands in China, and only those in the upper echelons of the government were able to amass any kind of fortune or to achieve success.
Whitney would not recognize the debauchery for what it was and maintained her own belief that she was safe and in control there. However, she was participating in a system that would take her down, as it has taken down so many others, simply because someone decided that she was the enemy. In order to remove a person, an influential person in power would simply engineer a situation to shame, humiliate and charge that person falsely, or security would simply show up and take the accused away. There was no way to refute the claims or fight the system. Often, they were imprisoned and/or executed. Whitney was kidnapped, and no one knows where she was taken or if she is alive today. No one has been notified of her whereabouts. She simply fell out of favor and suffered the consequences.
The author explains how Xi Jinping engineered his own rise to power, his own behind the scenes arrangements to bring himself to the pinnacle of success. He simply removed all those that were in his way, all those that opposed him. He found and supported those that would defend his cause, and they gave him the control he desired. He engineered a policy of no term limits so he could be leader for life. For those who helped him there are rewards, but there will be no guarantee that they will always be in favor. The system is run by self-serving, heartless megalomaniacs propelled by their desire to maintain their power. They are all brainwashed by the system in China and know of little else.
All the deals made have some form of graft, some sort of bribery or payoff. Huge sums exchanged hands to make bargains that were sometimes unfair, but were necessary and agreed upon by all the parties. In this way, fortunes were amassed and deals were finalized. The ladder of success, however high, will teeter unless someone is there to hold it in place. The complete and widespread corruption captures the helpless, and they fall victim to its demands. Citizens and businesses fall in and out of favor because of changing rules and the demands made by those currently in control. Desmond lived through it, played the game and then realized he had better make his exit. He saved his son and himself. They live in England now, and they are safe, but Whitney has disappeared and there are only rumors to explain her absence.
Although it is sometimes repetitive, the timeline meanders, the details, like descriptions of menus and wines become distracting, and the names are often confusing, the complete decay of the government and leaders of China is displayed across the pages. I suggest a print copy since the foreign names are difficult to imagine in the audio. The reader, however, does an excellent job and does not take over the narrative or distract the listener from the book with too much emotion or too much emphasis. He reads it pitch perfectly. ( )
  thewanderingjew | Apr 26, 2022 |
Interesting at times, but so incredibly self-serving that it is hard to know what to believe.

> Two-thirds of the people on China’s one hundred wealthiest list would be replaced every year due to poor business decisions, criminality, and/or politically motivated prosecutions, or because they’d mistakenly aligned themselves with a Party faction that had lost its pull. ( )
  breic | Nov 9, 2021 |
finished reading sample chapters- there's one 'factural' error... the author claimed that during his school year when Mao died, all schools in Shanghai 'extended' 1 year due to 'mourning' rites etc... that is false... maybe his parents schools but definitely not all elementary schools in Shanghai ... ( )
  allthingsgo | Sep 27, 2021 |
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For Hong Kong and Whitney Duan. I wish I had the right words; just know I care.
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"After the Communist Revolution, Desmond Shum's grandfather was marked as belonging to a "black category" that included former landlords and rich peasants--meaning the Shums would be stigmatized and impoverished. As Desmond was growing up, he vowed his life would be different. Through hard work and sheer tenacity Shum earned an American college degree and returned to China to establish himself in business. There, he met his future wife, the highly intelligent and equally ambitious Whitney Duan who was determined to make her mark within China's male-dominated society. Whitney and Desmond formed an effective team and, aided by relationships they formed with top members of the red aristocracy, vaulted into China's billionaire class. Soon they were developing the massive air cargo facility at Beijing International Airport, and they followed that feat with the creation of one of Beijing's premier hotels. They were dazzlingly successful, traveling in private jets, funding multi-million-dollar buildings and endowments, and purchasing expensive homes, vehicles, and art. But in 2017, their fates diverged irrevocably when Desmond, while residing overseas with his son, learned that his now ex-wife Whitney had vanished along with three coworkers. This is both Desmond's story and Whitney's, because she cannot tell it herself."---Amazon.

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