On December 11, as China celebrated 15 years since its accession to the World Trade Organization, Chinese state media lauded the country for “rising to become a bellwether of global free trade and a token of globalization at large.” The anniversary marked the expiry of a provision in China’s accession agreement which allowed China to be regarded as a “non-market economy” in WTO disputes—which are commonly lodged against China for dumping. The day of the expiry, Beijing filed complaints against the U.S. and E.U. for failing to consider China a “market economy”—a point that Beijing took to be a given based on the accession agreement it signed in 2001. However, as The Economist pointed out back in May, the agreement did not guarantee China’s market economy status by a certain date, but stated “that importing countries will lose the right automatically to treat China as a non-market economy for anti-dumping purposes.” Ahead of December 11, Japan also followed the U.S. and Europe’s lead, announcing it too would not recognize China as a market economy.
On Weibo, Li Guoqing, the CEO of popular Chinese e-commerce site Dangdang, expressed his outrage at the U.S., E.U., and Japan in interesting terms: by drawing attention to the availability of many unconventional products at market price in China, and presenting that as evidence of China’s indisputable market economy status:
DangdangLiGuoqing (@当当李国庆): After 15 years, Europe, America, and Japan unexpectedly break their promise to recognize China’s market economy status! Truly blind! In China you can buy and sell official positions wholesale; love and marriage have a clearly marked price; even religion has a price and a market. Can you buy all those things in Europe, America, and Japan? Who in the hell said mainland China isn’t a market economy? [Chinese]
Li’s comment was well-recieved by his followers, one of whom chimed in to continue the list he started:
Others praised Li on his courage, and promised to support his company:
Zaixixi (@哉兮兮): Fuck me, based on these few sentences, I need to go buy some stuff on Dangdang
Xiaodan-2016 (@小蛮–2016): No need to sell books, spouting that much truth in the middle of the night.
Mengkexiong (@蒙克兄): Boss Li’s good in the middle of the night.
Diaoyiyoudao (@钓宜有道): Chief Li, a real man. Support Dangdang.
Li eventually deleted the original weibo, following it up by apologizing for any offense it may have caused and reiterating his opposition of the three countries’ choice.