Red Roulette: An Insider's Story of Wealth, Power, Corruption and Vengeance in Today's China Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Financial Times Best Books of the Year 2021
In the headline-making and best-selling tradition of Bill Browder’s Red Notice comes a unique and incendiary memoir from an entrepreneur who rose to the zenith of power and money in 21st-century China and whose wife was disappeared - and then mysteriously reappeared four years later on the eve of Red Roulette’s publication and global media coverage about it.
As Desmond Shum was growing up impoverished in China, he vowed his life would be different. Through hard work and sheer tenacity, he earned an American college degree and returned to his native country to establish himself in business. There, he met his future wife, the highly intelligent and equally ambitious Whitney Duan who was determined to make her mark within China’s male-dominated society. Whitney and Desmond formed an effective team and, aided by relationships they formed with top members of China’s Communist Party, the so-called Red Aristocracy, he vaulted into China’s billionaire class.
Soon they were developing the massive air cargo facility at Beijing International Airport and they followed that feat with the creation of one of Beijing’s premier hotels. They were dazzlingly successful, travelling in private jets, funding multi-million-dollar buildings and endowments and purchasing expensive homes, vehicles and art. But in 2017, their fates diverged irrevocably when Desmond, while living overseas with his son, learned that his now ex-wife Whitney had vanished along with three co-workers.
In Red Roulette Desmond Shum pulls back the curtain on China’s ruling elite and reveals the real truth of what is happening inside China’s wealth-making machine. This is both Desmond’s story and Whitney’s, because she has not been able to tell it herself.
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 21 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||07 September 2021|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio UK|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 7,914 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
7 in Political Corruption & Misconduct
21 in Asian & Asian Americans Biographies
33 in Biographies of Business Leaders
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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.
Unfortunately the news is not positive for China, Hong Kong or the rest of the world. Nor are things going to change soon.
This insider’s guide to the intersection of business and politics is fascinating. It ranks next to the book by Mao’s doctor.
According to Shun’s China exists to benefit the red aristocracy. The people, rule of law, business and other countries are to be subverted or coerced if they are in the way.
The arbitrary disappearance of Whitney Duan should be an international issue. The fact that this book is published hopefully will make it so.
I do wonder whether it will be allowed to be sold in Hong Kong.
Top reviews from other countries
In my own efforts to understand China (which I accept as an armchair reader I will likely never do), this book has been a valuable resource, given it has been written by a successful Chinese man, who once followed the rules and undertook Beijings directives, for example in the Hong Kong protests.
China is clearly a complex place, and this book has helped me get my mind around some issues a little better, for example the internal power struggle dynamics.
The authors bitterness (perhaps a bit strong) towards his country’s government is very telling by the end of the book, but at least one of his criticisms could I think also, fairly and terribly sadly, be levelled against my own country (Britain) today, the importance of ‘basic dignity’ for all.
This book covers a lifetime, the ups and downs of personal relationships, of how insecurity can affect you, business success, philanthropy, helping others, how China works behind the scenes, major political manoeuvring over the decades, and corruption and how it is dealt with, amongst other issues.
It’s well written and well worth a read by anyone wanting to get a better glimpse into China. But I don’t think that the Chinese government will like this book much.
It’s just one perspective on China, by a once loyal citizen. But it is a page turner.
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.
Finishing it left me wanting more. A great alternative read for Sinophiles and those interested in contemporary politics.