Take the Money (RMB) and Run…. Deng’s Feckless Entrepreneurs

investor flight edited

The Ugly Side of the Deng era Sino-Capitalists: or Mo Yan’s Dalan “Birds”

Perhaps the most vivid image overlay in Mo Yan’s Big Breasts (and Liquorland) is the fly-by-night pair of tourism-geared local “development” projects that rise the burst like bubbles as the Dalan story comes to its end.

Of the two, the more allegorically provocative is the Eastern Bird Sanctuary (Park), by definition a temporary roosting spot of migrating birds who will soon move on, to return only in rota or not at all.

(Chinese Text 5051
东方鸟类中心 Eastern Bird Sanctuary
大型游乐场。around the Daoist pagoda Grand Scale Theme/Amusement Park by appropriation, the original pagoda as a “landmark”

It is the denouement with its very realistic but depressing revelations that
places the misadventure in its proper context: the hyper-velocity both of private (Chinese+Overseas Chinese) investment retrieval and of the pipelining “capitalists” themselves, who are as Houdini-like as the Mo Yan capo banditi (Sima Ku, Yu Zhan’ao), masters of “take the money and run”, only here more flagrantly: they emigrate or reemigrate. Or more still: green cards for the children to study in the US, stashed bonds and stocks bought with Chinese onshore j/v enterprise profits, ferreted in foreign accounts, even the odd getaway or golfcourse investment in the Offshore: fun and of course real estate bubble profits.

Perhaps constrained by internal pressures, Mo Yan never labels his bogus investors as “foreign” or “on-the-hoof” Chinese, though their attachment to (and superabundant access to Philippine cigars, French perfumes, Italian and Cardin suits/ties, and of course German “limos” (a Hong Kong obsession) tells us unmistakably that they are rooted offshore in every regard.

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