Perhaps we’re getting old, dear readers, but these days we find things go missing more and more often. Keys, phones, Swiss bank account numbers, we just can’t find the blasted things for the life of us. But perhaps it’s not us—maybe it’s just a sign of the times.
Why, it was only Monday that we learned another two senior executives at China’s biggest brokerage had gone missing. CITIC Securities revealed that it had somehow lost track of the heads of both its investment banking sector and global investment banking. That was on top of four other executives at the company that were already missing – including its president, Chen Boming – out of a total eight on its executive committee. (One wonders what the final two must be thinking.)
Practically the whole of Beijing seemed lost amid yet another round of dense toxic haze this week, finally pushing its municipal government to declare its first air pollution “red alert”. Not a few residents of the capital were more than a little curious as to why it hadn’t been declared during last week’s impossibly more hazardous airpocalypse, of course, and as it turned out, keeping kids home from school and pulling a few cars off the road was no match for the smog-belching might of the nearby factories in surrounding Hebei province, which managed to blot out the sun for another few days. That’s probably why the Asian Development Bank approved $300 million in loans to help wean said province off of coal power—though between you and us, dear readers, we daresay that’s investment they’re not likely to see again.
And speaking of tremendous monetary losses, the People’s Bank of China can’t seem to hold on to its foreign reserves. It seems the central bank sold off around $87 billion last month to stave off further devaluation of the yuan due to rising demand for the US dollar—which was itself based on expectations of the yuan further devaluing. (We hope we didn’t lose you there, dear readers.)
But surely the greatest absence was felt by Fosun International, which on Friday froze shares after mainland news magazine Caixin reported that company executives had discovered chairman Guo Guangchang had gone AWOL around noon the day before. We simply can’t imagine where Guo’s gone, though. Might it have something to do with previous accusations of corporate impropriety leveled at Guo for his connections to a now-jailed ex-head of multiple state-owned enterprises? We just won’t know for sure until he turns up again. And that might take a while.