After 24 hours of swiping on ‘Singles Day’ bargains, Chinese online shoppers once again broke records for e-commerce giant Alibaba. (Photo credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Alibaba’s Singles’ Day Shopping Festival is like no other. It’s a combination of commerce, entertainment and an exuberant celebration of consumerism.
Retail as entertainment is one of the hallmarks of Singles Day. A new word, “retail-tainment,” was created just for that. At the gala counting down to the opening of the sale before midnight November 11, a cohort of top celebrities including Nichole Kidman, Pharrell Williams, Chinese movie star Fan Bingbing put on an extravaganza for a cheering audience. Jack Ma, Alibaba’s charismatic founder, also made a surprise appearance as the “retail-tainment-in-chief.”
It’s almost like the Academy Awards, a New Year’s Celebration, and the Superbowl all in one. Continue reading
On the opening day of China’s 19th Party Congress, North Korea sent a letter congratulating the Communist Party of China for its “correct guidance” in making “great progress in accomplishing the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
If Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping haven’t agreed on much lately, they certainly agree on that. Xi Jinping has made it unmistakably clear at the Party Congress that China will uphold Marxism, Leninism and Maoism. To show he is shoulder to shoulder with Mao, Xi had his name and ideology, so-called “Xi Jinping Thought,” written into the Party’s constitution. In addition, Xi didn’t appoint a successor – a common practice of the Party since 2002 to ensure a smooth power transition. This reinforces the speculation that Xi will continue to be in power, possibly indefinitely, after his term is up in 2022.
All this sounds too familiar. People in China are whispering: it’s like the Cultural Revolution all over again. Continue reading