Evergrande founder Xu Jiayin was arrested some time in September 2023. There are scant details about where he is being held. The question on many people’s minds is, why now? Chaotic scenes of investors turning up at Evergrande’s office seeking compensation began in 2021. What took the authorities so long to take action, giving Xu ample time to divorce his wife and move his fortunes overseas.
The answer could lie in the elusive Evergrande Song and Dance Troupe, inaugurated in 2010, was seemingly disbanded in 2022.
Xu Jiayin was born in rural Henan and does not have a prominent family background. However, while trying to work his way up, the caught the attention of high level party officials who decided to nurture him as a cash cow. The very act of developing real estate across the country gave Xu Jiayin further opportunities to develop connections with provincial and ministerial level officials. In June 2017, Evergrande Group moved into the Excellence Houhai Financial Centre as its Shenzhen headquarters. Houhai Excellence Centre is located at Exit J of Houhai Metro Station, next to Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre. It has more than 40 floors and is 202 meters high.
On January 10, 2022, however, Evergrande officially announced that it would terminate the lease at the Houhai Centre of Excellence and move its headquarters back to Guangzhou. During the moved, workers uncovered a luxurious clubhouse on the 42nd floor of Evergrande’s Shenzhen headquarters.
Insiders reported that most people can only go up to the 40th floor of Evergrande’s Shenzhen headquarters where there is a large conference room that functioned as a reception area for provincial and municipal leaders. On the 41st evel, there are restaurants, tea rooms, gyms and KTVs where Xu Jiayin would entertain these VIPs. The most secretive floor is the 42nd floor. While most employees had no access to the 41st and 42nd floors, some young women have been seen going up there.
These women are believed to be Evergrande’s song and dance troupe. Performers employed by the troupe had to clear a stringent selection process. They had to be very attractive, below 30 years of age, graduated from famous art academies and majored in folk dance. It’s an open secret that all the selected performers have to be personally interviewed by Xu Jiayin in the final step. The full name of the song and dance troupe is “Guangzhou Evergrande National Song and Dance Troupe”. It is 100% owned by Evergrande Real Estate. At its peak, the troupe had 78 performers. With a purported mission of promoting traditional dances, the troupe gained a cloak of legitimacy and respectability. They have even appeared on the Spring Festival Gala.
A leaked photo presumably taken on the 41st floor shows Xu Jiayin singing karaoke, accompanied by a beautiful woman, Bai Shanshan, the leader of the song and dance troupe. Apparently, this was also where party officials were entertained by performers in the troupe.
The Chinese Communist Party’s official media has revealed the shady stories of many exclusive clubs that catered to officials who can grant big favours. Apart from monetary bribes, private businesses also provided various forms of “entertainment” to people in power to grant them special concessions.
To make sure that the favour is returned, the crooked businessmen often resorted to secretly recording the leaders’ trysts to blackmail them if they would not keep their end of the bargain. Back to the question, why now? One explanation is that Xu was able to stay out of trouble because he had the surreptitiously taken videos of high ranking officials fornicating on level 42.
His arrest finally came probably due to orders coming all the way from the top. Social stability is vital to a government without legitimacy to remain in power. Sacrificing Xu to appease the disgruntled investors has been long overdue. The question remains whether the “performers” in those videos would be taken to task.
© Dewdrop Publications