Communism for Profiteers


previous

Among the plenary workshops and panel discussions in development for the conference are “Making Money in China Today,” “Business and the People’s Liberation Army,” and — congressional investigators take note — “Expanding China’s High-Technology Industrial Base.” In the interest of diplomatic sensitivity, there will be no discussion of impolitic topics like human rights. Not surprisingly, that angers some activists.

“There are positive messages you can send and there are those that condition Chinese authorities to believe they can get away with unacceptable international behavior,” says Minky Worden, who lived in Hong Kong for six years and is now a spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch. “This sends an implicit message to Chinese officials that the [current] crackdown is just super with U.S. companies.”

To such criticisms, Fortune spokeswoman Terry McDevitt responds, “We’re a business magazine, not a political magazine. Human rights is not one of the things we normally cover.” She added, “Though I don’t want that to sound like no one here thinks about that.”

The Global Forum will also provide for one of those marvelous moments of media synergy. Time-Warner Inc., which publishes Fortune, is putting the production on. Another of Time-Warner’s subsidiaries, CNN, plans to air coverage of the event.

“It’s natural and appropriate for CNN to cover this gathering,” says Eason Jordan, president of international news for CNN. “The Forum brings together Chinese leaders and many of the world’s top business leaders in the world’s most populous nation on the 50th anniversary of its establishment,” he said. The potential conflict-of-interest will be avoided in the usual way, according to Jordan: “CNN in its reporting on the Forum will disclose what many people already know — CNN and Fortune have the same parent company, Time-Warner.”

Fortune’s Web site urges that interested parties recommend speakers for the magazine’s conferences. You might suggest Bao Tong, the government official who served seven years for speaking out in favor of the demonstrators at Tiananmen Square. Send your own recommendations to Fortune at fortuneconf@pathfinder.com.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.