Hu Shuli (胡舒立; born 1953) is the editor-in-chief of Caixin Media. She is also the professor of the School of Communication and Design at Sun Yat-sen University.

As of 2014, she is listed as the 87th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes, and in August 2014, Hu received a Ramon Magsaysay Award.

Internationally recognized for her achievements in journalism, Hu Shuli is one of the pioneers of journalism in China.

2013&2014 Named among “Forbes Asia’s Power Businesswomen”.

2013 Invited to join the Knight Fellowships Board of Vistiors.

2012 Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism from Missouri School of Journalism.

2011 Hsing Yun Journalism Award.

2011 Named as one of “The TIME 100” Influential People by Time Magazine.

2009&2010 Named as one of the “ Top 100 Global Thinkers’ by Foreign Polic.

Hu Shuli was born in Beijing, from a lineage of notable journalists: her grandfather, Hu Zhongchi, was a famous translator and editor at Shen Bao and his older brother Hu Yuzhi (1896–1986), “an early proponent of language reform, the use of Esperanto, and realism in literature,” was involved in editing and publishing. Her mother, Hu Lingsheng, was a senior editor at Workers’ Daily. Her father, Cao Qifeng, had a midlevel post in a trade union.

Hu Shuli attended Beijing’s prestigious 101 Middle School. The Cultural Revolution brought criticism to her family (her mother was placed under house arrest). She became a Red Guard and traveled around the country, trying to educate herself as best she could. After two years she joined the People’s Liberation Army, and when college classes resumed in 1978, she won entrance to the Renmin University of China.( People’s University of China), from which she graduated in journalism in 1982. Before Caijing, she was working as assistant editor, reporter and international editor at the Worker’s Daily, China’s second largest newspaper. She joined China Business Times in 1992 as international editor and became chief reporter in 1995.

She is author of several books, including New Financial Time, Reform Bears No Romance and The Scenes Behind American Newspapers. She has had the distinction of being ranked among BusinessWeek’s “The Stars of Asia: 50 Leaders at the forefront of change.” In 2006, Hu was called one of the most powerful commentators in China by the Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal cited her among the “Ten Women to Watch” in Asia.

In November 2009, Hu Shuli resigned from Caijing along with 90 percent of Caijing’s journalists, barely a few weeks after the resignation of Daphne Wu Chuanhui and nearly 70 employees from the business department. Observing the situation, Diane Vacca at Women’s Voices for Change quoted Chinese blogger Hecaitou: “She’s got blood on her blade, and her clothing smells of gunpowder.”


Hu Shuli: China’s muckraker-in-chief

For much of her long career, Hu Shuli has used her position as a respected financial commentator to push the boundaries of free speech. “If it’s not absolutely forbidden,” the editor-in-chief of Caixin Media once observed, “we do it.” Hu shook up China’s media landscape with investigative pieces on corruption and fraud – she has long been known as the country’s “muckraker-in-chief”, notes Forbes. Take Caixin’s spat with Anbang, for example.

The magazine’s report echoes suspicions about the insurer’s finances that have already been voiced outside China, says The New York Times, but the detail of the allegations is unique for a story on a major Chinese firm in the Chinese media. It also chimes with a government crackdown on the sector.

Last month, President Xi Jinping vowed to rid China’s banks and insurers of “excessive risk”, and placed the country’s chief insurance regulator in the hands of “party anti-corruption investigators”. Now investors and analysts are waiting to see if the government takes sides in the dispute between Anbang and Caixin.

Hu, 64, seems as radical as a prominent journalist can be in China, but critics charge that she is fundamentally a member of the elite that runs the country. Born in 1953, Hu comes from a line of Communist Party journalists and intellectuals, says Evan Osnos in The New Yorker. Educated at Beijing’s elite 101 Middle School, she was 13 when the Cultural Revolution turned China upside down. Hu travelled the country as a Red Guard, spent several years working in a hospital and joined the army. After China’s universities reopened in 1978, she won a coveted place studying journalism at Renmin University in Beijing.

Hu cut her teeth on Workers Daily, then joined the China Business Times in 1992. There, she developed a skill for networking (an early interviewee was a young politician named Xi Jinping) as well as a reputation for “painstaking” reporting. It was a time of nascent markets in China and “I decided to interview all the top financiers”, she later recalled. She ended up with “an incomparable Rolodex of names destined for China’s highest office”, says The New Yorker.

In 1998, she launched Caijing, a magazine that soon enjoyed “extraordinary influence”. She left Caijing in 2009, following a dispute with her backers, to run the similarly named Caixin Media, says the South China Morning Post. In 2013, China Media Capital – a $833m venture-capital fund with connections to Rupert Murdoch – bought a 40% stake in the outfit.

For someone once labelled “the most dangerous woman in China”, Hu’s career has been remarkably long-lived, says The New Yorker. That she is still working “long after other tenacious Chinese journalists” have been “imprisoned or silenced” is evidence not just of her skills as a journalist, but of her political and business savvy. The battle with Anbang may shed more light on how far her political patronage and protection goes.

Money Week 12/05/2017



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