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Jack Ma is a Communist Party member – so what?

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Shock and horror! Jack Ma is a member of the Communist Party of China!

The big “revelation” first appeared in the form of an innocuous mention in a report by party mouthpiece People’s Daily on the founders of the three Chinese internet giants – Jack Ma of Alibaba, Baidu’s Robin Li and Tencent’s Pony Ma – being included in an honours list for their contribution to the country’s reform and opening up.

That was enough to send Western media outlets into a tizzy and set off a barrage of breathless “news” reports suggesting scandal and ominous portent.

China’s top 100: local cadres dominate Communist Party reform honours list

Never mind that this piece of information has been public knowledge since at least 2015. Or that the party has nearly 90 million members, which makes affiliation just a fact of life in China. It doesn’t automatically make them all card-carrying fanatics in Mao suits hiding behind the Bamboo Curtain.

Sure, the Communist Party counts among its ranks some of the most hard core nationalists and sycophants, but it also boasts of countless reformers and liberal minds. Party affiliation is simply a matter of practicality for advancement in China, and to see it as being synonymous........

© South China Morning Post