It’s hard out there for insiders. One day you’re kicking back, watching your ill-gotten gains roll in and your only concern is when Titanic 3D is going to open in your crappy second-tier city. Then, the next thing you know, somebody comes and mucks it all up. First this week, the US Securities and Exchange Commission sued oil services company SinoTech Energy for misusing proceeds from a 2010 IPO. That’s after the chairman admitted to taking out $40 million from the company and yet managed to keep his post after he returned the money. (“Oh, you guys got me! Just kidding! Now get back to work.“) Not challenged enough by such corporate idiocy, the SEC went on to investigate whether the more formidable Hollywood movie industry illegally influenced regulators to raise the annual quota for foreign films, with the SEC invoking that one US law that forbids bribing foreign government officials with piggyback rides greater than or equal to US$50 in value. Ok, perhaps the SEC isn’t taking that much of a shot in the dark, considering Hollywood had allegedly hired this master of bribery, known as the Cadillac of piggyback rides, to help lobby regulators.
And then there are the ultimate outed insiders, the Bo Xilai family. Apparently going by an alias isn’t enough to escape the fallout from being associated with Bo Xilai, the wiretapping/family-enriching/defection-inducing potential murder accomplice whose wrap sheet grows every time Jeremy Page sneezes. Bo’s brother Li Xueming aka Bo Xiyong aka “the Bald Bo” (he purportedly changed his name to escape the alliteration) stepped down from his position as a director and VP at China Everbright International. At least Bo Xiyong didn’t suffer the character assassination Bo Guagua has received in the media, who in defense of his familial Ferrari privileges pointed to his contributions to the debate and basket weaving clubs at Harvard. But you can’t choose your family, so what’s an insider to do? Might as well sit back, hope your wife doesn’t murder anybody and wait for the release of Titanic II. We hear it brings a lot of closure.
How to stop worrying and love India’s bomb
Americans may have certain happy associations about the India-China relationship: Harold and Kumar, the intellectual simplicity of the term “Chindia.” But India did its best to assert itself as an individual this week as it successfully tested a missile capable of reaching major Chinese cities. The test marked India’s entry into a “select group of countries that can behave like a**holes and get away with it,” according to Indian advisors. “The launch of [the] Agni V sends a clear message to Beijing: Please buy Infosys products!” said Uday Bhaskar, a New Delhi-based security analyst. Meanwhile, the news was met on the Chinese side with the kind of rejection of logic that only government spokespeople can produce. “We believe the two countries should cherish the hard-won momentum of sound bilateral relations and promote bilateral friendship and co-operation,” said foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin. “What times we’ve had together!”
Further east, the US military was engaging in a little willful ignorance of its own, as nearly 7,000 US and Philippine troops launched a series of simulated amphibious war drills to recapture an island fictionally taken by fictional militants in the South China Sea. The US responded to Chinese warnings that such joint exercises have increased the risk of armed action by clarifying that the joint exercises have nothing to do with China. “Didn’t you hear us say fictional like 20 times?” said a US military spokesperson. “US military decisions bear no relationship to geopolitical realities whatsoever.” In fact, he said, the US and the Philippines have met every spring to carry out the drills since 1951, when they decided paintball just wasn’t doing it for them. “Never was China ever mentioned in our planning and executing,” said Lieutenant “Bat” Guano. “Though it was a little weird how all the ethnically Chinese guys were made to wear Darth Vader helmets.”