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China

Billionaire Surveillance: China Tracks Its Tech Moguls

For a number of weeks now, Beijing has been trying to regain control of its internet heroes, who are considered too dominant. E-commerce giants and their standard-bearer, Alibaba and its founder Jack Ma, are directly in the line of fire.

Jack Ma at the 20th anniversary of Alibaba Group celebrations in 2019
Jack Ma at the 20th anniversary of Alibaba Group celebrations in 2019
Frédéric Lemaître

BEIJING — The tides are turning for Chinese tech giants. Previously cherished by a regime whose achievements they embody, Alibaba, Tencent, Meituan and JD.com have become victims of their success. To everyone's surprise, their spiritual father, the Chinese Communist Party, is currently dishing out a series of reprimands to try to intimidate them to fall in line.

Logically, the best victim to make an example of is the biggest: Jack Ma, president of Alibaba, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon. On Nov. 3, less than 48 hours before the historic IPO of its financial subsidiary, Ant, supervisory authorities humiliated Ma by blocking the operation. This move deprived the Chinese billionaire of an additional 37 billion dollars. This decision was made by President Xi Jinping himself, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Kharkiv Revisited: Inside Russia's New Assault On The "Hero City" Of Ukraine

The nation's second-largest city, Kharkiv was quiet for weeks after Ukrainian forces took control. But now it is again under attack as Russia pushes to capture the city that's considered the "gateway" to Ukraine. Die Welt reports from the frontline.

Damages due to Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Alfred Hackensberger

KHARKIV — "Come, I want to show you something," Denys Vezenych says, opening the door of his dental office.

The 40-year-old begins to tell the story in the waiting room: "It was April 16 when the Russian artillery shell hit. The windowpanes were broken, the walls had holes everywhere and the roof was destroyed. But I renovated everything."

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The repairs cost him several thousand euros. "You have to think positively, because life goes on," he explains with a smile. But this attitude is not so present generally in Saltivka, a neighborhood in northeastern Kharkiv. The dental practice may be like new, but the rest of this area in the northeastern Ukrainian city is completely destroyed.

The Russian army has done a great job in its three-month offensive on Ukraine's second largest metropolis. Countless flats have been burned out, the facades of houses have been shot to pieces, entire shopping centers have been bombed. Debris still lie in the streets everywhere.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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