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China sparks stock market panic by arresting man named ‘Ma’ for subversion

Chinese state media announced on Tuesday that a man “surnamed Ma” was arrested on suspicion of “collusion with external forces” to “subvert the state and divide the country.” Stock prices fell as investors feared the suspect could be Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who was the richest man in China until he dared to challenge Chinese communist policies.

Chinese state global times declined to identify the man beyond his last name, but sheepishly acknowledged the intense interest online in how his name is spelled with “three Chinese characters”:

Ma, who was born in 1985 in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, works as a director of the hardware research and development department of an IT company, the Global Times has learned. Being brainwashed by outside anti-China forces, Ma has seen the anti-China forces as “mentors” and has become one of their tools to contain China.

Since March 2022, with the incitement of an anti-China figure, Ma created an anonymous online group to play the role of an agent of external forces, spread rumors and disinformation, and publish the so-called declaration of independence to divide the country and subvert the condition.

According to information acquired by the Global Times, in addition to forming illegal organizations and making political schemes to subvert the state, Ma also targeted youths and college students, inciting them to join activities that smear the country and the people.

The global times he breathlessly accused the suspect of setting up a “temporary parliament for mainland China” and drafting new “laws and institutions” to prepare for his grand plan to “subvert the Chinese government with foreign support.” The article implied that he did most of these things simply by writing social media posts.

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Jack Ma, CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, speaks in Paris on May 16, 2019. (PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Many observers immediately assumed that Jack Ma was the target, as the flamboyant billionaire was “disappeared” by the regime in October 2020 after criticizing communist economic policies at an international forum in Shanghai.

Mom reappeared in early 2021 with a very dovish attitude, a shattered financial empire, and $10 billion cut from his net worth. The rude treatment of him by the Communist Party turned out to be the opening shot in a campaign to teach Chinese tech billionaires that the Politburo and dictator Xi Jinping are the overlords. Much of 2021 was taken up by a regulatory crackdown over China’s largest companies, which was apparently terminated or suspended by the coronavirus outbreaks this year.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) and other leaders sing the national anthem at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement, a historic student protest against colonialism and imperialism, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on April 30, 2019 - Xi Jinping called on China's youth on April 30 to obey the Communist Party as they mark the centenary of a student uprising, one of several sensitive anniversaries facing Beijing this year.  (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP) (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (center) and other leaders at a ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on April 30, 2019. (GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)MOREHIDE

Investors are so nervous about the flip-flops made by the paranoid Chinese Communist Party during its latest coronavirus outbreak that Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group lost $26 billion in stock value on Tuesday morning. Alibaba shares are now down 66 percent from their peak before Jack Ma criticized communist politics.

The Chinese spelling of the suspect’s name led to speculation that the suspect could be Jack Ma’s son Jerry, a billionaire in his own right whose profile aligns with some (but not all) of the information revealed by the suspect. global times. As the China Reader blog explained:

In Chinese news, a given name is often anonymized 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 a single 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. He would also match his daughter, Ma Yuanbao.

Jerry Ma has businesses of his own, of course, and touts an estimated net worth of $3 billion.

Not much firm information about the Ma family has been made public: Jack Ma and his wife Cathy Zhang reportedly have a third child whose name is not publicly known, but for most accounts Jerry Ma is several years old younger that the birth date of 1985 given by the global times for the subversion suspect, and his sister is several years his junior.

Whether the man arrested Tuesday has any connection to Jack Ma or not, the tech tycoon still has serious problems with the Communist Party. Jack Ma went missing again earlier this year, and in February, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), China’s anti-corruption agency, launched doing research its ties to several state-owned companies.

Ma might be falling because he was linked to Zhou Jiangyong, a top Communist Party official. accused of bribery last month. Zhou allegedly abused his position to extract bribes from numerous companies, including Ma’s Ant Group, in exchange for facilitating deeply discounted real estate purchases.