Beijing Orders Billionaire to Stay Quiet After He Makes Controversial Post

Beijing Orders Billionaire to Stay Quiet After He Makes Controversial Post

( – Recent improvements in technology have expanded Chinese use of the internet. However, China’s aggressive surveillance systems raise serious concerns the country‚Äôs authoritarian government will control information online to further consolidate its power.

On June 18, Bloomberg News reported that the Chinese government summoned Wang Xing, the founder of the country’s third-largest tech company, to Beijing to warn him to keep a low profile in the wake of a controversial social media post. According to unnamed sources, government officials told him to stay out of the spotlight, at least for now.

Xing, the head of e-commerce platform Meituan, published an online post that described book-burning during the reign of China’s first emperor. The post triggered the selloff of about $26 billion in Meituan shares as investors drew parallels between Xing’s post and criticism launched against government regulators last year by the Alibaba Group’s founder, Jack Ma. That incident led to an “unprecedented crackdown” on internet-based companies, according to Bloomberg.

Meituan is already under investigation by the government’s antitrust watchdog for alleged violations of Chinese competition laws. Some analysts estimate Meituan could end up receiving fines of more than $700 million once the government completes the probe. The last thing the company needs is additional problems with Chinese government authorities.

Xing has not shown himself in public since the post aside from his appearance at Meituan’s quarterly earnings call with investors in May.

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