Is Jack Ma safe? Alibaba founder's 1st video since China crackdown sparks worry, Internet calls it 'incarceration'
The video of the Chinese magnate reportedly first appeared on Tianmu news, a part of the Zhejiang government's official newspaper
Jack Ma, the Chinese business tycoon appears after months in a new video but some netizens have posed concern about the nature of the video, how it was shot and whether is the Chinese billionaire safe. In the newly surfaced video, Ma is addressing rural Chinese teachers for an award ceremony that falls at the same time as the Chinese holiday the Laba Festival.
The much-talked-about video of the co-founder of Alibaba reportedly first appeared on Tianmu news, a part of the Zhejiang government's official newspaper. According to the reports, the video was shot on Wednesday, where Jack Ma appeared after completely being missing from the public eye since October. Ma was reportedly asked to keep a low profile following the strict regulations on the company as Ma was targeted for speaking out against Chinese regulators.
Ma, who used to be an English teacher and founder of #Alibaba, also gives wishes to village teachers via a video on Wednesday, saying usually the activity is held in Sanya in southern Hainan but this year, due to #Covid19 it has to be done via video conference. pic.twitter.com/yfi7oPB5Sb— Qingqing_Chen (@qingqingparis) January 20, 2021
In the video, Ma is seen speaking from an undisclosed location directly to Chinese teachers where he says "Recently, my colleagues and I have been studying and thinking. We made a firmer resolution to devote ourselves to education philanthropy," and added, "Working hard for rural revitalization and common prosperity is the responsibility for our generation of businessmen." The 56-year-old business mogul ended the video stating "We'll meet again after the epidemic is over," along with informing viewers that the in-person celebration of the festival is canceled due to Covid-19.
Is Jack Ma safe?
Some users have shared the video and asked if it looks like a hostage situation. A user said, “That Jack Ma video...whoever would believe that it's out of free will and that he is not in some kind of an incarceration. So the billionaire 'surfacing' is an exaggeration. His video has surfaced. No one knows when and where it was shot.” Another user shared, “He was speaking to Chinese Rural teachers. So it is controlled state-run video with words very carefully spoken.” A user commented, “Eye movement looked like he was reading from a teleprompter.”
That Jack Ma video...whoever would believe that it's out of free will and that he is not in some kind of an incarceration. So the billionaire 'surfacing' is an exaggeration. His video has surfaced. No one knows when and where it was shot. pic.twitter.com/4IM58WPfe5— [email protected] (@BharatI96658079) January 20, 2021
He was speaking to Chinese Rural teachers. So it is controlled state run video with words very carefully spoken.— To The Point (@tothepoint0101) January 20, 2021
Eye movement looked like he was reading from a teleprompter.— ⓓⓔⓑⓐⓙⓘⓣ (@justnlawless) January 20, 2021
However, the video also shows Jack Ma visiting an elementary school in Hangzhou city earlier this month. According to reports, he also attended the Rural Teachers Award ceremony, an annual event which was initiated by the Jack Ma Foundation in 2015.
Before this, Jack Ma last appeared publicly at a conference in Shanghai when he criticized traditional banks of China operating with a ‘pawn shop’ mentality and appealed to banks to show more open-mindedness to young entrepreneurs to help them succeed. After the reported incident, his IPO was blocked by Chinese regulators and his company has been facing a number of targeted attacks such as starting an investigation on its tie-up with finance titan Ant Group, an anti-trust probe against Alibaba, and more.