Jun 13, 2018

How to toady to Xi Jinping

The new way of politics and business. Illustration: Greg Ruben/Axios

American and Chinese corporate titans share something in common: jittery slavishness to their president, and sometimes even each other's president. In the U.S., presidential tweets, and even the threat of one, send powerful CEOs scrambling to announce hiring sprees, factory openings, and profit repatriation.

What's going on: Beth Bao, a strategic planning executive with JD Logistics, says the company is deliberately aligning company strategy with Belt and Road. Others are doing the same. Among the examples:

  • JD is shipping cargo on dedicated rail cars twice a week from Hamburg to the Chinese provinces of Xi'an and Chengdu, along the Belt and Road route, Bao said this week.
  • Last year, Jack Ma, founder of JD's e-commerce rival Alibaba, called Belt and Road "a responsibility and an opportunity."
  • Western companies, too, frequently cite investments along Belt and Road in what appear to be conspicuous toadying to Xi.

According to an account last year in the New Yorker, Xi himself leveraged Trump's soft spot for jobs and obsequiousness for a foreign policy purpose: A month after the 2016 election, Trump had taken a call from Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, which China regards as a province, not a country. Xi wanted to be sure that there were no such repeats.

  • So, according to this account, Xi dispatched Alibaba's Ma to have a chat with Trump.
  • Meeting the U.S. president-elect at Trump Tower, Ma said that Alibaba would create 1 million jobs in the U.S.
  • The piece quotes a Chinese university professor, "China knows Trump can be unpredictable, so we have weapons to make him predictable, to contain him. He would trade Taiwan for jobs."

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll nears 11,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 10,900 in the U.S. early Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data. More than 1,000 people in the U.S. have died of coronavirus-related conditions each day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 43 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 1,347,803 — Total deaths: 74,807 — Total recoveries: 277,402Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 368,196 — Total deaths: 10,986 — Total recoveries: 19,828Map.
  3. Trump administration latest: President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned White House colleagues in late January the coronavirus could take over half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, memos obtained by Axios show.
  4. 2020 update: Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor's attempt to delay in-person primary voting delayed until June.
  5. States latest: West Coast states send ventilators to New York and other states with more immediate need — Data suggest coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  6. World update: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen.
  7. Stocks latest: The S&P 500 closed up 7% on Monday, while the Dow rose more than 1,500 points.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Docs: Navarro memos warning mass death circulated West Wing in January

Image from a memo to President Trump

In late January, President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned his White House colleagues the novel coronavirus could take more than half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, according to memos obtained by Axios.

  • By late February, Navarro was even more alarmed, and he warned his colleagues, in another memo, that up to two million Americans could die of the virus.

Driving the news: Navarro's grim estimates are set out in two memos — one dated Jan. 29 and addressed to the National Security Council, the other dated Feb. 23 and addressed to the president. The NSC circulated both memos around the White House and multiple agencies.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health