- 14,99 €
“THE BOOK CHINA DOESN'T WANT YOU TO READ.”—CNN
A riveting insider's story of how the Party and big money work in China today, by a man who, with his wife, Whitney Duan, rose to the zenith of power and wealth—and then fell out of favor. She was disappeared four years ago. News of this book led to a phone call from Whitney, proof that she's alive.
As Desmond Shum was growing up impoverished in China, he vowed his life would be different.
Through hard work and sheer tenacity he earned an American college degree and returned to his native country 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 China’s Communist Party, the so-called red aristocracy, he 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 has not been able to tell it herself.
"You've heard about America's extraordinary rendition of terrorist suspects. Well, this is China's version," writes entrepreneur and philanthropist Shum in his thrilling debut. Shum's ex-wife and former business partner, Whitney Duan, "disappeared from the streets of Beijing" in 2017, and has not been seen since. Shum explores how Duan the mastermind of "real estate projects worth billions" went missing, by tracing the arc of both of their careers, which exploded as China's attitude toward profits shifted dramatically from the days of Chairman Mao. Born in Shanghai, Shum attended college in the U.S. and returned to China in the '90s to work in private equity, where, with Duan, he spearheaded high-profile real estate projects, including China's largest air cargo logistics facility. While the reason for Duan's abduction is unknown though it's presumed that Communist Party operatives carried it out Shum makes it clear that his former spouse's treatment is not an outlier in China, where powerful people like Duan, who played China's "roulette-like political environment" with "unparalleled skill," are kidnapped and held indefinitely. This well-written account is imbued with an aura of inevitable tragedy, and Shum's searing indictment of "a political system that mouthed Communist slogans while... officials gorged themselves at the trough of economic reforms" is enthralling. Those interested in Xi Jinping's China will be riveted. Agent: Peter Bernstein, Bernstein Literary.