Reporter: RD16 Contributor/Reviewer: Rica
On January 14, Chinese state media Xinhua reported that Xi Jinping, Gen. Secretary of P.R.C., in a letter to Mr. Schultz, Chairman emeritus of Starbucks, encouraged the Seattle-based billionaire to help to mend the strained ties between China and the U.S.
Xi reportedly went through a brain surgery earlier this January, and he has not made any verifiable public appearances since. Other than the apparent attempt to clear doubts from anyone that may question his ability to lead the regime due to health concerns, any other reasons why he picked Mr. Schultz to reveal such an exchange of letters?
As influential as Mr. Schultz maybe, he is not widely deemed as powerful as the moguls of Wall Street or Big Tech. But a few facts may be interesting for our audience to chew on: the little-known “cozy” relationship between Xi and Mr. Schultz.
Seattle is one of the strategic bases for the Communist regime in terms of high-tech and China-U.S. trades. That’s why in 2015 when Xi made his first visit to the U.S. as the No 1 leader, he chose to first stop over in the Emerald City and met a group of high-profile figures. On the list, the name of then-CEO of Starbucks, Schultz.
On Jan. 14, 2016, shortly after the turmoil of the Chinese stock market, the business environment was rather abysmal. But not for Starbucks. Then-CEO Schultz went to China for a visit and scored a sweet deal with Beijing – granting Starbucks to open 500 stores every year for the next five years. Per Statista, China’s total count of Starbucks stores shot up to 4123 in 2019 comparing to 1811 in 2015. Anyone knows it takes more than just a bit of “luck” to gain that much benefit with Beijing…
Schulz’s image also got a boost by giving speeches to the Chinese elites. In this video dated April 2017, Mr. Schultz gave a speech at one of China’s most prestigious universities. The catchphrases he used can be recited by so many Chinese, as those were the quotes from Gen. Sec. Xi, “Bu Wang Chu Xin” in Chinese. In essence, it means, “Do not forget your original aspirations”, which is a catchphrase often used by the top CCP cadres to appeal to the common folk as if they are just as “humble” and “altruistic” as they started out decades ago. At least that’s how the CCP portray themselves via the indoctrination.
Hope this sheds some light on why Xi chose Mr. Schultz during perhaps the most difficult time of his political career to send signals to the world.