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.
PanshiPanshiShi (@磐石磐石石): A true man has the courage to do what he believes should be done. Choose Dangdang for your shopping. [Chinese]
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.