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Red Roulette: An Insider's Story of Wealth, Power, Corruption and Vengeance in Today's China Paperback – 15 September 2021
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'Powerful and disturbing…The Chinese government will not be happy with this book....Rarely has anyone in modern China been brave enough to violate its oppressive code of silence and give an honest first-hand account of what really goes on in the corridors of power.' -- Bill Browder, author of Red Notice
'The book is full of fabulous titbits... It was a period of so much scheming that the Beijing Hotel employed two full-time coordinators to stagger guests so as to prevent inconvenient encounters. It’s this level of detail on Beijing’s inner workings that has clearly spooked the communist high command. Shum’s recollections are still deeply embarrassing for the Chinese Communist Party, making this memoir a singular, highly readable insider account of the most secretive of global powers.' -- Cindy Yu ― Spectator
'The machine was right to be worried. Large scandals of the recent past are revisited in Red Roulette… [The book] details an elite China built on secrets and fear, in which family ties are one of the only reliable bonds of trust.' -- David Rennie ― The Economist
'Offers a rare peek into the luxe lifestyles of China’s elites…a vivid portrait.' ― Washington Post
'A rare alternative to China’s tightly controlled, state-sponsored narratives. In his book, Shum poses an urgent question: "What type of system allows for extra-legal kidnappings of the type that befell Whitney Duan?"' ― Bloomberg
'Red Roulette was already shaping up as a must-read account of corruption at the highest levels of the Chinese Communist Party. But the sudden reemergence last week of Whitney Duan, Shum’s former wife, four years after disappearing into apparent arbitrary detention in Beijing, has made the book a news story.' ― Politico, China Watcher
'Red Roulette is everything those who follow China have been waiting for: a deeply personal epic that reveals the idealism, ecstasy and avarice of post-Deng Xiaoping China…There simply isn't another inside history of today's Chinese leadership like this one. If it spawns a new genre of Chinese personal histories - as I hope it will - Red Roulette will remain the classic of its category. Desmond Shum’s book is riveting, moving and dangerous.' -- Matt Pottinger, former US Deputy National Security Advisor
'A rare inside peek at the cossetted Chinese elite who parlay their connections with Politburo members into billions. This is a world of Château Lafite, Rolls Royces and $100 million yachts, where friendships are strictly transactional. Although the book can be fun and gossipy, it's also poignant, and, ultimately, we come away with rich insights into the workings of the Chinese Communist Party and the billionaires it has spawned.' -- Barbara Demick, former Beijing bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times
'Gripping…sensational…rich, nuanced, and helped change my mind about much that I thought I understood about China.' -- David Barboza ― The Wire
'A deliberative, slow-building, suspenseful narrative that reveals numerous insights about the mechanics of power and greed… Observers of contemporary Chinese affairs, consistently intriguing and murky territory, will find much to interest them here. A riveting look inside "the roulette-like political environment of the New China".' ― Kirkus (starred review)
'Students of Chinese politics and business will appreciate Shum’s personal narrative of China’s turbulent economic rise; this book deserves a wide audience.' ― Library Journal
'[The book that shows] why China’s billionaires are disappearing off the streets. Is this outspoken tycoon the next target to fall?' ― 60 Minutes (Australia)
'One of the very few insider accounts we have of how things get done at the top in China... It’s also very well written... And it would make a tremendous movie about wealth, power and oppression in China. It’s a shame that, thanks to that same power and oppression, no one in Hollywood will ever have the guts to make it.' ― Foreign Policy
'A memoir that shows how the Chinese government keeps business in line - and what will happen when businesspeople overstep... Red Roulette shows how government officials keep the rules fuzzy and the threat of a crackdown ever present.' ― New York Times
'Shum knew he was picking a fight with the CCP the minute he decided to write Red Roulette and is aware he is now a marked man - he has reviewed his will and made sure his affairs are in order. "This is my David and Goliath fight," he says. "Except it’s Goliath times a million."' ― Sunday Times
'Red Roulette is quickly shaping up to be the new must-read among observers of Chinese elite politics... A vivid portrait of the splashy lifestyles of China’s business and political elites... Shum deploys his piquant sense of detail and offers a rare glimpse into the webs and knots of China’s political and business royalty.' ― Diplomat
About the Author
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK; Export/Airside edition (15 September 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1398510378
- ISBN-13 : 978-1398510371
- Dimensions : 15.3 x 1.95 x 23.4 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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The myth of the Chinese business circle is shown in the book.
Seems to me the author is a millionaire or billionaire. He is not publishing this book for money nor for fun. He had not used an alias to write the book and probably risked his whole family and all the relationships he built up in China to write this book. He sure could not go back to China or else he would get jailed. To me all information seems authentic. The author deserves my utmost respect. He is a real Chinese who hope his country can be better.
Easy to read and understand, satisfied my curiosity in why Chinese business is polluting the values of democracy and the Christian values that we long hold.
I believe the West have to learn how we can fight the skewed values of China businesses dealing or else we will become helper of a tyranny that will one day destroy us.
Top reviews from other countries
Increasing assertiveness has become a defining characteristic of China’s rise to superpower status in an increasingly bipolar world. Each success has encouraged a more confrontational approach, including in foreign relations. China’s boldness of approach will sharpen further as it encounters little serious pushback against its policies and practices. It is not that China doesn’t play by the rules, we all know it doesn’t. This books reveals what rules China does play by: it’s own.
United States’ strategy emphasizes the importance of China. Since the Nixon-Kissinger era, the central theme has been accommodation. For fifty years Washington has welcomed China into the international system. Access to the American market has driven China’s GDP growth. To ensure the CCP elite’s rule, regional hegemony is a necessity. Its people again are as productive as the best anywhere else on the planet. The demographic maths means China will inevitably power its way back to the top of the international hierarchy.
Many western politicians parrot the clichés on China’s rise; few understand the true scale of China’s achievements or its vaulting ambition for the future. Never in history has a nation lifted itself from abject poverty and achieved so much in so many dimensions of national power in such a short space of time. Whether the metric is GDP, power stations, dams, smart phones, luxury goods, high-speed rail, education, or simply living standards, the transformation is quite literally amazing. China has become the engine of global growth, displacing the United States. It has transformed the lives of one in five of the people on the planet, in a way that no government in human history can match. Despite all the naysayers in the West, at a purely material level, it takes intelligent, determined, and effective government, to deliver such a transformation in a single generation. For many older Chinese their children’s prospects and living standards are quite literally a dream come true. The Chinese people are smart, industrious, and sophisticated. Singapore and Taiwan amply demonstrate what they can achieve even without the guidance of the Chinese Communist Party.
China's central policy tenant is one of strategic patience. China does not want to incur costly counter plays from competing parties. While China will be ever more active as one of the two dominant forces in global governance, it will not conduct itself as Imperial Japan, or Nazi Germany did. Its approach will be far less hurried and much subtler. Even so, make no mistake; the Communist Party of China is accumulating power to ensure its survival. That is the core message Desmond Shum delivers.