The Dark Secret Behind China Everbright's Fortunes

In reference to "`Red capitalists' on the takeover trail" (International Business, Feb. 14), you highlight the foundering case of China Everbright Holdings Ltd. and its subsequent recovery. But in the course of your review, I found the reference to the political loyalties of Everbright's former chairman to be a rather cold statement about the realities of China's human rights priorities.

If former Chairman Wang Guangying's business acumen was questionable or weak, then a new and more capable manager was certainly needed. But to state that one aspect of Wang's downfall was that he also chose to support the students involved in the Tiananmen Square protest/massacre is chilling, and it raises several questions.

Most important, in a business environment in which quanxi--connections--are so vital, Wang's supposed "liability" might be a sign that China's business and political deals remain too closely linked. Thus, to associate oneself with human and civil rights issues (which government leaders still treat as annoying and unwelcome concerns of the West) can be fatal to one's business and career.

David Blahnik

St. Louis

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