The Party’s assault on the private sector is roiling China’s billionaire ranks

By Jane Li

In 2013, Chinese Partners, a movie based on the stories of the three co-founders of China’s largest private education company New Oriental, captured the upbeat sentiment in the country’s business circles.

In the movie, three ambitious university graduates, one of them modeled off New Oriental chairman Yu Minhong, achieved their rags-to-riches dream by launching English tutoring schools across China and eventually listing their company in the US. Partly thanks to the production, Yu, a kid from the countryside who became a billionaire, turned into a living symbol of the “Chinese dream.”

“The movie has conveyed a message: the US is not the ideal land…the success of the Chinese people can only take root in the soil of China,” a commentator wrote about the movie that year on China’s version of Quora, Zhihu.

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