TV The US version of House of Cards is a fantasy and has about as much to do with politics and international diplomacy as Gravity has to physics. But if I'm also happy to accept Shakespeare's approach to history, then why not the slightly bizarre China storyline which already looks about as dated as Doctor Who's The Talons of Weng-Chiang. It's drama so it's fine. Not that this has stopped The Atlantic from testing the plausibility of the thing with two China experts, Steven Jiang, a journalist for CNN in Beijing and Donald Clarke, professor of Chinese law at George Washington University. Spoilers ahead obviously:
Corruption: House of Cards' fictional Chinese billionaire Xander Feng, though twice tried for corruption at home, says he can sway the senior leadership of the Communist Party. Question: Possible?

Steven Jiang: Not really. It’s like saying [disgraced Chinese politician] Bo Xilai came out of prison but was tried for corruption again—and he got released again and became best pals with [Chinese President] Xi Jinping.

Kaiser Kuo: If he’s supposed to be a princeling whose grandfather fought alongside Mao and was one of the Eight Immortals, then it’s plausible that he would have access and even influence within the very senior echelons of the Party leadership. The impossible part of course is the notion that he’d been brought up twice on corruption charges and acquitted. This to me was the most egregious bit in Feng’s backstory, and one that was wholly unnecessary to establish that he was walking a fine line.
All of which is odd because if they tapped a technology expect, they must certainly have had someone with an interest in Chinese politics on staff.  But let's not allow the facts get in the way of a good story.

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