Did Macau’s Casinos Delay Typhoon Warning?

On this episode of China Uncensored, China just wants to keep your money safe. The Chinese regime stands up for its ally Venezuela. And Macau goes gambling with people’s lives. This is China Uncensored.

I”m your host Chris Chappell. Chinese authorities want to make sure that when citizens travel overseas, their money is safe. Safely in China, that is. They’ve put in strict rules that limit how much money citizens can transfer into foreign currencies.

But, surprise, surprise, some wealthy Chinese have been trying to cheat the system. For example, by going to Macau and gambling in sa online casinos, like we talked about in our episode last week. I’m paraphrasing. Or by going to, say, Paris and buying expensive jewelry with their Chinese bank card, and then returning it for cash.

But why should Chinese authorities work to resolve fundamental economic problems, when they can just implement new restrictions! Like this latest one that went into effect on September 1st. It requires banks to report all overseas bank card transactions of over $150 to the Chinese government. Officially, it’s to help improve statistics and record-keeping. Totally not because they’re scared of all the rich people fleeing China with their money. By the way, if there are any Parisian jewelers watching this, it might be a good time to start selling gold rings for only $149.99!

And across the Pacific now to Venezuela, a country no one is fleeing *to*, but it’s still a place China is concerned about. President Trump has hit Venezuela with a new round of sanctions. The goal is to limit funding to what he calls Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s “dictatorship.” Whoa, hold on there, Trump. Just because the Venezuelan government is forcibly taking over private enterprise, and police are killing people without due process, and President Maduro is rewriting the constitution, doesn’t mean he’s a dictator. Fortunately, Venezuela’s is getting support from its ally, China, a country that’s also totally not a China’s foreign ministry said sanctions will only make the situation even more complicated.

I’m sure China’s support has nothing to with the fact that Venezuela owes China a lot of money. Speaking of China’s third-richest man may be in trouble. I’m talking about Wang Jianlin.

He’s the owner of the Dalian Wanda group. The conglomerate owns everything from real estate developments to movie studios. It also owns AMC Theaters, the one that controls 5,000 movie screens right here in the USA. Well, earlier this week, there were rumors that Wang Jianlin had been detained by authorities and stopped from leaving the country.

I mean, what good is a 30-billion-dollar net worth if you can’t leave China, right? Anyway, as soon as those rumors came out, Dalian Wanda’s stock prices plummeted. And the company, of course, was quick to deny the reports.

But in China, where the news is designed to broadcast what the Communist Party wants you to hear, it’s hard to get real information. So rumors, whether true or not, can still crater a company’s stock prices. Even without this latest rumor, Dalian Wanda hasn’t been doing that well. A few weeks ago, The New York Times ran a piece possibly linking Wang Jianlin with another Chinese billionaire we’ve talked about on the show: Xiao Jianhua, who was disappeared from Hong Kong earlier this year.

Word is that Xiao is in mainland China helping authorities to investigate people in the financial sector. And as we mentioned in a previous episode, Dalian Wanda is also in deep debt trouble. It’s currently having a fire sale on its empire of malls, hotels and amusement parks. Now I’ll never get to live my dream of visiting Nanchang Wanda theme park. It’s the most harmonious place on Earth!

Was. It’s been shut down. To make upgrades.

Riiiight. Anyway, while rumors about Dalian Wanda are flying in China, it’s getting harder and harder for people to spread rumors or truths without the government knowing their real names. China’s put a new round of Internet rules into effect last Friday.

Internet users will be required to register their real names if they want to make a comment online. In other words, no more Internet anonymity. So if you say something politically incorrect, Big Brother will know. For a long time, the Chinese regime has been trying to tie people’s online identities to their real ones.

The difference with this new regulation is that now they’re putting the responsibility on Internet companies to actually enforce it. Of course, you can always use a VPN to jump China’s restrictive firewall and access the Internet normally. But not for long. The Chinese regime is planning to ban most of those as well. Then we’ll finally know which Xi Jinping who comments on our YouTube page is the real Xi Jinping. There can be only one.

Now moving on to Macau. I was there last year, but I’m less and less sure I want to go back. Last week, Macau denied entry to Hong Kong reporters trying to enter the territory. They were there to report on the aftermath of Typhoon Hato, which struck Macau on August 23, killing eight people. Instead, Macau immigration authorities detained the journalists and asked them to sign a statement that they posed a risk to the stability of internal security, which is completely nonthreatening and not at all an ominous sign.

The Macau authorities denied that it was because they were journalists, but then refused to explain why the journalists were a threat to Macau’s security. Yes, the government of Macau totally respects freedom of the press. But while Macau was able to stop the invasion of Hong Kong journalists, for the first time in Macau’s history, the typhoon prompted an invasion of Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Soldiers literally ran through the streets with shovels and mops.

At least it’s safer than running with guns. Or scissors. Anyway, Macau was affected really, really badly by Typhoon Hato, much worse than neighboring Hong Kong was.

That’s because Hong Kong had issued a typhoon warning on the Tuesday night before the storm, but Macau waited nine more hours, only issuing that same warning Wednesday morning. And it barely gave locals any time to prepare. How did this happen? Well, it turns out the Macau weather bureau is now under investigation for intentionally delaying the typhoon warning in a possible effort to save the casinos money. According to this article, From the time the typhoon No 8 signal is hoisted, casinos are mandated to pay all staff overtime. Yes, the poor, poor casinos would have been forced to pay an extra shift of overtime.

Well now they have their money. But why do they still feel so empty inside? And get this, this isn’t even the first time Macau has gambled with a typhoon warning. The same criticisms happened in 2016 when Typhoon Nida hit. Hong Kong raised the number 8 typhoon warning, but Macau did not raise any warning.

The weather boss defended that at the time. But this year, people in Macau died because of the delayed typhoon warning. So it’s become a huge scandal, and forced Macau’s weather boss to step down. Look, I don’t know what a weather boss does, but clearly he can’t control this media firestorm. But hey, in a city where 80% of tax revenue comes from what’s a little gambling with people’s lives?

And coming up after the break, could India and China finally be resolving their differences without threatening to kill each other? You know what’s a real gamble?