Good evening. In many ways, Steve Wynn is synonymous with Las Vegas. But in a strange twist, the career and legacy of the now 80-year-old casino tycoon may end up being defined by Macau, the Chinese gambling capital, and Wynn’s controversial dealings with Beijing elite while doing business on the 12-square mile island. On the heels of the Justice Department’s recent ‘foreign agent’ accusation against Wynn, a special investigation by The Wire’s Katrina Northrop shows that he has a history of less than transparent relationships with people connected to the highest echelons of political power in China.
Elsewhere, we have infographics on Migu Video, which streams the World Cup in China; an interview with Katie Stallard on how authoritarians use history to bolster their power; a reported piece on the recent Harvard conference aimed at fixing the U.S.-China relationship; and an op-ed by Victor Shih about reality-based governance in China. If you’re not already a paid subscriber to The Wire, please sign up here.
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The $50 Million Question
Ten years ago, as Steve Wynn expanded his gambling empire in Macau, his company made a $50 million payment to two mysterious businessmen, raising eyebrows on both sides of the Pacific. But scrutiny of the deal eventually died down, and Wynn Resorts’ Macau operations went on to constitute an astonishing 75 percent of the company’s revenue. Now, an investigation by Katrina Northrop has uncovered new evidence about the identities of Wynn’s Macau partners, and the discovery sheds light on the often impenetrable universe of high stakes dealmaking in Macau, one of the world’s biggest gambling hubs.
The Big Picture: Watching the World Cup in China
When it comes to watching the World Cup, viewers in China are more likely than not to be doing so by streaming via Migu Video, a subsidiary of the state controlled telecom giant China Mobile. This week’s infographics by Ella Apostoaie look at Migu Video, including the company’s beginnings, its bid for sports streaming success, and its ties to state media outlet, CCTV.
A Q&A with Katie Stallard
Katie Stallard was a foreign correspondent for the U.K.’s Sky News in both Russia and China, from where she also reported on North and South Korea. She has drawn on those experiences to write Dancing on Bones: History and Power in China, Russia, and North Korea, a book which looks at the ways in which authoritarian leaders in each of those countries have used history to buttress their regimes. In this week’s Q&A with Andrew Peaple, she talks about her new book; reporting on Russia, China and North Korea; and how past wars have become such a dominant presence in the politics of those countries.
Illustration by Lauren Crow
Fixing the U.S.-China Relationship
Recently, nearly 30 China experts got together at Harvard University to discuss how everything went so wrong in the U.S.-China relationship and how it can be fixed. Katrina Northrop reports on what the brain trust said.
China Needs Reality-based Governance
Last week’s protests across several Chinese cities have shown the limits of China’s zero-Covid model, as the economy weakens and anger at the government’s restrictive policies boils over. The Chinese government can still make policies that meet their citizens’ expectations, Victor Shih argues in this week’s op-ed, but it will need to change course fast.
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