Posts Tagged ‘Ma Jian’

China’s Highest-Profile Fugitive Assailed by Businessman Who Says He Was Framed for Crimes

September 19, 2017

BEIJING — China’s highest profile fugitive, exiled billionaire Guo Wengui, is under attack from a former business partner who claims Guo got him framed for crimes he says he did not commit.

After having a conviction for embezzling 855 million yuan ($130 million) from a company owned by Guo quashed, Qu Long told Reuters he is out for revenge.

“When he returns I will sue him in China,” Qu said of Guo, two days after being released from jail where he served six years of a 15-year sentence. “If he can’t return, I will sue him in the United States. As long as he is on the face of this Earth, I will find a lawyer and make him pay.”

In its ruling last Tuesday, the Hebei High People’s Court said there was not enough evidence to support the embezzlement conviction.

Qu’s interview with Reuters was arranged by the Chinese authorities, who also provided briefings by three members of a special police taskforce investigating Guo, who is living in New York. Chinese officials told Reuters they wanted to get Qu’s narrative out through the Western media to counteract a barrage of internet postings by Guo.

The officials and police involved in the case told Reuters that after an investigation that began in 2015 they had discovered that the charges against Qu were fabricated by Guo and government officials Guo had allegedly bribed, including Ma Jian, the former counter-intelligence chief at China’s spy agency, the Ministry of State Security.

Ma was put under investigation for alleged corruption in 2015 and was expelled from the Communist Party the following year. He remains in detention and Reuters was unable to reach him for comment.

Guo did not respond to requests for comment about Qu. Guo’s New York-based lawyer, Josh Schiller, said Qu’s threat was “further persecution of Guo in order to silence his speech”.

Guo, who left China in late 2014 shortly before Ma was detained, has previously denied bribing government officials and says accusations leveled against him are politically motivated.

The police and other Chinese officials who talked to Reuters provided no evidence to support their bribery assertions in the case. Reuters was unable to independently confirm whether Guo engaged in any wrongdoing.


Guo is currently living in a $68 million apartment overlooking Manhattan from where he has been using social media to make a series of incendiary, though mostly unverifiable, claims of corruption in the top levels of the Chinese government. His campaign has been timed for maximum impact ahead of next month’s critical congress of the ruling Communist Party, which is held only once every five years.

The Chinese authorities are trying to repatriate Guo, who applied for U.S. political asylum earlier this month. In April, at Beijing’s request, Interpol issued a ‘red notice’ seeking Guo’s arrest on corruption-related charges.

Image result for Guo Wengui, photos

Guo Wengui

The same month, a video confession from Ma surfaced online, detailing 10 instances where he claimed he abused his power to benefit Guo in exchange for more than 60 million yuan in bribes, including conspiring to detain and frame Qu.

Guo has said Ma’s testimony should not be believed, arguing it was likely coerced or made under duress. Reuters was unable to independently confirm the events that Ma cited.

Guo and Qu were once friends and business partners, having first met two decades ago and, according to Qu, bonding quickly over a mutual love of motorcycles and sports cars. The two men fell out over a dispute related to the ownership of Tianjin Huatai, an investment holding company, with Guo claiming Qu had reneged on an agreement to hand over control of the company.

Qu was initially detained on suspicion of possessing firearms and he was eventually sentenced on the embezzlement charges. Qu denied any wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Philip Wen; Editing by Martin Howell)



China Moves to Discredit Tycoon’s Claims of Communist Party Corruption

April 21, 2017

BEIJING — China on Friday sought to discredit billionaire businessman Guo Wengui, painting him as a “criminal suspect” whose allegations of corruption within the highest levels of the Communist Party should not be believed.

Guo, a flamboyant property mogul who has held close ties to disgraced former Chinese intelligence official Ma Jian, has courted international attention with his explosive claims, most recently aired during a live television interview with the U.S government-funded Voice of America (VoA) on Wednesday.

 Exiled businessman Guo Wengui. Photo: Handout

China said on Wednesday that Guo was subject to an Interpol “red notice”, a fact Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Friday.

“If you are willing to believe what he said then that’s your business,” Lu said. “We don’t believe it.”

The Chinese government had pressed VoA to cancel the interview ahead of time, including by summoning one of the broadcaster’s Beijing-based correspondents to a meeting on Monday, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The ministry’s comments come amid an apparently concerted damage-limitation effort within China highlighting Guo’s reputation as an unreliable narrator.

A 23-minute video, purportedly of Ma Jian confessing in detail to accepting 60 million yuan ($8.72 million) in bribes from Guo, has circulated on Chinese social media since Wednesday night without being removed by government censors who are often quick to delete politically sensitive posts or unsubstantiated rumors.

The video, which was produced and posted online anonymously, has also been reported on widely by mainland media outlets, all of which are regulated by the government. Reuters was unable to independently verify the veracity of the video.

The widely read Beijing News newspaper, and the respected financial magazine Caixin, also published lengthy investigations into Guo’s business dealings and ties with Ma, a disgraced former state security vice-minister who was first detained in early 2015 and expelled from the Communist Party in December last year.

Guo has said he left China in late 2014 after being tipped off about Ma’s imminent arrest, and has not returned since his company premises were raided amid a heated dispute with state-backed Founder Securities.

Since leaving, he has spent most of his time in the United States.

After laying low for two years, Guo resurfaced in February and has since made wide-ranging but unverified allegations of corruption against several top Communist Party officials – past and present – and their families.

He says the information was obtained from Ma, whom he concedes he held a close relationship with but denies bribing.

At Friday’s Foreign Ministry briefing, Lu rejected suggestions the timing of the Interpol red notice was connected to the airing of the VoA interview.

“Interpol has been around for 100 years and has 190 member states,” he said. “For this kind of international organization we think their actions are solemn.”

(Reporting by Philip Wen and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)



How a powerful tycoon had a Chinese spy master in his pocket

April 20, 2017

‘Shared interests’: Jailed spy master’s tale of how he and businessman friend looked out for each other’s interests


By Nectar Gan
South China Morning Post
Thursday, April 20, 2017, 11:16pm
It sounds like the plot to a political thriller or a Hollywood spy film – in which a self-made business tycoon manipulates the country’s secretive state security agency for business gains and has a spy chief at his beck and call.

China launches unprecedented international publicity war against wanted tycoon Guo Wengui (He says he has evidence of corruption at the top of China’s leadership)

April 20, 2017

Mainland officials launch unusually savvy media and cyberspace campaign at home and abroad, outside the official firewall

By South China Morning Post

Thursday, April 20, 2017, 3:52pm

Guo Wengui “Silenced” after saying Beijing was using “terror” tactics against him and his family — Claimed to have evidence of curruption at highest level of China’s government

April 19, 2017

‘China using terror tactics against my family’, businessman claims

South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 April, 2017, 12:11am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 April, 2017, 12:25am

Interpol issues red notice for Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui at Beijing’s request, sources say — “He’s a big fish”

April 19, 2017
By Jun Mai and Nectar Gan
South China Morning Post
Wednesday, 19 April, 2017, 12:37pm

First sign of cooperation? US repatriates one of China’s most wanted ‘Sky Net’ fugitives days before Xi Jinping’s visit

September 18, 2015

Yang Jinjun, who is suspected of bribery and corruption and fled to the US in 2001, was on list of mainland anti-graft operation’s 100 ‘wanted’ fugitives

By Naomi Ng
South China Morning Post

The United States government repatriated a Chinese businessman on the list of the top 100 wanted Chinese fugitives on Friday, says the Chinese government.

Yang Jinjun, who is suspected of bribery and corruption, is the first of the 100 targets to be forcibly repatriated to China by the US government, said a statement released by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on Friday.

READ MORE: Xi Jinping’s US visit: itinerary, issues and delegation

China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has published headshots and background information about the 100 wanted fugitives listed as part of Operation Sky Net on its website. Photo: SCMP Pictures

READ MORE: Investigators face huge task to catch China’s 100 wanted fugitives: analysts

He is the 13th fugitive sent back to China as part of the mainland’s “Operation Sky Net” anti-graft operation, since it was aunched in April this year.

The other 12 fugitives were either convinced by Chinese agents to return, or repatriated by other countries.

An alleged Chinese ‘economic fugitive’, wearing a mask, arrives back in China after 10 years on the run in Italy. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Yang fled to the US in 2001, and had been listed as a fugitive, subject to red notices issued by Interpol, since 2005.

A red notice appeals for the location and arrest of each wanted person, and asks those member states that have signed up to the organisation, which facilitates international police cooperation, to extradite them.

Yang, who is a Wenzhou native, is the manager and legal representative of Minghe Group, according to state media.

Chinese police escort Li Huabo (centre) after being repatriated from Singapore, upon his arrival at the Beijing Capital International Airport in May. Photo: Xinhua

READ MORE: China repatriates No 2 ‘Sky Net’ fugitive official who fled to Singapore after alleged 94m yuan fraud

The announcement of this repatriation comes only days before President Xi Jinping’s visit to the US, which begins on Tuesday.

China has called for the US to help the repatriation of China’s corrupt officials or businessmen hiding in the US.

China is especially keen for the US to repatriate Ling Wancheng, brother of former presidential aide Ling Jihua (above), from the US. Photo: EPA

The repatriation of Chinese fugitives topped the agenda of a visit to the US earlier this month by Meng Jianzhu, the head of China’s Communist Party’s Central Politics and Legal Affairs Committee.

China especially wanted the US to repatriate Ling Wancheng, brother of former presidential aide Ling Jihua, and Guo Wengui, a businessman related to disgraced spy chief Ma Jian, South China Morning Post reported today.

In April, CCDI released a detailed list of the 100 fugitives it wants to extradite back to China as part of “Sky Net”.

Can China Be Contained?

June 12, 2015


As tensions with China rise, U.S. foreign policy thinkers are dusting off ideas from the Cold War—and questioning the long-standing consensus for engagement with Beijing

For many Americans today, the promise of being diplomatic partners with China seems more remote than ever before.
For many Americans today, the promise of being diplomatic partners with China seems more remote than ever before. PHOTO: PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Wall Street Journal
June 12, 2015

Writing in 1967, at the height of the Cold War, Richard Nixon proclaimed a new American ambition: to “persuade China that it must change.”

“Taking the long view,” he wrote, “we simply cannot afford to leave China forever outside the family of nations, there to nurture its fantasies, cherish its hates and threaten its neighbors.” Four years later, having ascended to the White House, Nixon engineered an “opening to China” that promised to turn the communist giant into a diplomatic partner, one that would adopt America’s values and maybe even its system of democracy.

For many Americans today, watching the administration of President Xi Jinping crack down hard on internal dissent while challenging the U.S. for leadership in Asia, that promise seems more remote than ever before. In his recently published book “The Hundred-Year Marathon,” Michael Pillsbury—an Asia specialist and Pentagon official under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush—writes that China “has failed to meet nearly all of our rosy expectations.”
U.S. foreign policy has reached a turning point, as analysts from across the political spectrum have started to dust off Cold War-era arguments and to speak of the need for a policy of containment against China. The once solid Washington consensus behind the benefits of “constructive engagement” with Beijing has fallen apart.

The conviction that engagement is the only realistic way to encourage liberalization in China has persisted across eight U.S. administrations, Republican and Democratic alike. Jimmy Carter bequeathed Nixon’s policy to Ronald Reagan; George W. Bush to Barack Obama.

The turmoil in U.S. policy has been especially evident in recent months. An unprecedented stream of advisory reports from leading academic centers and think tanks has proposed everything from military pushback against China to sweeping concessions. The prescriptions vary, but their starting point is the same: pessimism about the present course of U.S.-Chinese relations.
The mood shift in Washington may end up being every bit as consequential as the one that came over the U.S. immediately after World War II, when it dawned on America that the Soviet Union wasn’t going to continue to be an ally. That is when the legendary U.S. diplomat and policy thinker George F. Kennan formulated his plan for containment.

In a 1947 article in Foreign Affairs, he wrote that the U.S. “has it in its power to increase enormously the strains under which Soviet policy must operate, to force upon the Kremlin a far greater degree of moderation and circumspection than it has had to observe in recent years, and in this way to promote tendencies which must eventually find their outlet in either the breakup or the gradual mellowing of Soviet power.” Kennan’s strategy—to bleed the Soviet Union through nonprovocative resistance—offered comfort to Europeans who feared that they faced a stark choice between war and capitulation.

A similar anxiety about China’s actions and intentions has now taken hold among many Asians. U.S. friends and allies in the region are flocking to America’s side to seek protection as Mr. Xi’s China builds up its navy, pushes its fleets farther into the blue ocean and presses its territorial claims. In what is just the latest assertive move to alarm the region, China is now dredging tiny coral reefs in the South China Sea to create runways, apparently for military jets.

The U.S. is resisting. President Obama’s signature “pivot” to Asia—designed both to calm anxious U.S. friends and to recognize the region’s vast strategic importance in the 21st century—is bringing advanced American combat ships to Singapore, Marines to Australia and military advisers to the Philippines. Japan, America’s key ally in Asia, is rearming and has adjusted its pacifist postwar constitution to allow its forces to play a wider role in the region. The purpose of much of this activity is to preserve the independence of smaller Asian nations who fear they might otherwise have no choice but to fall into China’s orbit and yield to its territorial ambitions—in other words, to capitulate.

For its part, China is utterly convinced that the U.S. is pursuing a policy of containment. Kevin Rudd, the former Australian prime minister (and himself a China expert), summarized Beijing’s perception of U.S. goals in five bullet points in a recent Harvard study: to isolate China, contain it, diminish it, internally divide it and sabotage its political leadership.

To be sure, the new tension in U.S.-China relations is not anything like the Cold War stare-down that preoccupied Europe for decades, when NATO and Warsaw Pact tanks faced each other across lines that neither side dared to cross. But in one important respect, history is repeating itself: Both China and the U.S. have started to view each other not as partners, competitors or rivals but as adversaries.

China’s missile and naval buildup, as well as its development of new cyber- and space-warfare capabilities, are aimed squarely at deterring the U.S. military from intervening in any conflict in Asia. Meanwhile, many of the Pentagon’s pet projects—Star Wars technologies such as lasers and advanced weapons systems such as a long-range bomber—are being developed with China in mind.

So what, specifically, should America do? In one of the most hawkish of the recent think-tank reports, Robert D. Blackwill, a former U.S. deputy national security adviser and ambassador to India under President George W. Bush, and Ashley J. Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who also served on the National Security Council staff under President Bush, write that engagement with China has served to strengthen a competitor.

It is time, they declare, for a new grand strategy: less engagement and more “balancing” to ensure the “central objective” of continued U.S. global primacy. Among other things, America should beef up its military in Asia, choke off China’s access to military technology, accelerate missile-defense deployments and increase U.S. offensive cyber capabilities.

For Michael D. Swaine, also of the Carnegie Endowment, this is a certain recipe for another Cold War, or worse. He outlines a sweeping settlement under which America would concede its primacy in East Asia, turning much of the region into a buffer zone policed by a balance of forces, including those from a strengthened Japan. All foreign forces would withdraw from Korea. And China would offer assurances that it wouldn’t launch hostilities against Taiwan, which it regards as a renegade province.

Such arrangements, even if possible, would take decades to sort out. Meanwhile, warns David M. Lampton, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, U.S.-China ties have reached a tipping point. “Our respective fears are nearer to outweighing our hopes than at any time since normalization,” he said in a recent speech.

The West has been in this position before. Optimism about the prospects of transforming an ancient civilization through engagement, followed by deep disillusion, has been the pattern ever since early Jesuit missionaries sought to convert the Chinese to Christianity. Those envoys adopted the gowns of the Mandarin class, grew long beards and even couched their gospel message in Confucian terms to make it more palatable. The 17th-century German priest Adam Schall got as far as becoming the chief astronomer of the Qing dynasty. But he fell from favor, and the Jesuits were later expelled.

The disappointment in the U.S. today is heightened by the fact that engagement with China has promised so much and progressed so far. Trade and technology have transformed China beyond anything that Nixon could have imaged, and the two countries are each other’s second-largest trading partners. China is America’s biggest creditor. More than a quarter million Chinese students study at U.S. universities.

But the ideological gap hasn’t narrowed at all—and now Mr. Xi has taken a sharp anti-Western turn. Mao Zedong made the bold decision to cut a deal with Nixon, confident enough to embrace American capitalists even while pressing the radical agenda of his Cultural Revolution. Later, Deng Xiaoping struck a pragmatic balance between the opportunities of economic engagement with the West and the dangers posed by an influx of Western ideas. “When you open the window, flies and mosquitoes come in,” he shrugged.
Today, Mr. Xi is furiously zapping the bugs. A newly proposed law would put the entire foreign nonprofit sector under police administration, effectively treating such groups as potential enemies of the state. State newspapers rail against “hostile foreign forces” and their local sympathizers. The Chinese Communist Party’s “Document No. 9” prohibits discussion of Western democracy on college campuses. And as Mr. Xi champions traditional Chinese culture, authorities in Wenzhou, a heavily Christian coastal city dubbed China’s “New Jerusalem,” tear down crosses atop churches as unwanted symbols of Western influence.

The backlash against the West extends well beyond China’s borders. For decades, China accepted America’s role as a regional policeman to maintain the peace and keep sea lanes open. But in Shanghai last year, Mr. Xi declared that “it is for the people of Asia to run the affairs of Asia, solve the problems of Asia and uphold the security of Asia.”

Washington feels a certain sense of betrayal. America’s open markets, after all, smoothed China’s export-led rise to become the world’s second-largest economy, and the two economies are now thoroughly enmeshed.

Still, it would be a mistake to assume that mutual dependence will necessarily prevent conflict. Pre-World War I Europe was also closely entwined through trade and investment.

Even the U.S. business community, once Beijing’s staunchest advocate in Washington, has lost some of its enthusiasm for engagement. James McGregor, a former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China and now the China chairman of APCO Worldwide, a business consultancy, recalls helping to persuade U.S. trade associations to lobby for China’s admission to the World Trade Organization, which happened in 2001.

That unity of purpose, he says “has been splintering ever since.” Today, “they all believe that China is out to screw them.”

China’s fears notwithstanding, the Obama administration remains very much in favor of engagement. Last year’s high-profile deal on climate change showed that cooperation is still possible. Ahead of a planned summit in the U.S. in September, the two countries are hammering out an ambitious bilateral trade agreement. And it is often pointed out that not a single problem in the world, from piracy to pollution, can be solved without their joint efforts.

In an increasingly awkward dance, however, the Obama administration is trying to sustain this policy of engagement while also ramping up its military options in Asia. China is playing a similar game. And it is not clear how long both sides will be able to continue before there is a clash, by accident or design.

Mr. Obama himself sometimes strikes adversarial postures on China. In trying to push a massive Asia-Pacific free-trade zone through a resistant Congress, he has been invoking a China threat. “If we don’t write the rules, China will write the rules out in that region,” he told The Wall Street Journal in April.

He also has pursued a campaign—ultimately futile—to prevent allies such as Britain and Australia from signing on to a Chinese regional development bank. Although the bank will help deliver much-needed infrastructure, the White House interpreted it as part of a bid to undermine America’s leadership in global finance.

For its part, China believes that the U.S. will never accept the legitimacy of a communist government.

Mr. Xi has proposed a “new model of great-power relations,” designed to break a pattern of wars through the ages that occur when a rising power challenges the incumbent one. But America has turned him down, unwilling to accept a formula that not only assumes that the two countries are peers but seems to place them on the same moral plane.

Appropriately, perhaps, tensions are coming to a head in the Spratly Islands, an archipelago of reefs and sandbars in the South China Sea so hazardous that old British Admiralty sailing charts marked the entire area as “Dangerous Ground.”

In this mariners’ graveyard, China has massively expanded several reefs through dredging; one boasts a runway long enough to land China’s largest military planes. China’s neighbors regard them as outposts for an eventual Chinese takeover of the whole South China Sea. The Pentagon presents them as a threat to the U.S. Navy’s unchallenged right to sail the oceans.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is considering a show of force—and is under political pressure to do so. Last month, Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, complained that the U.S. response to the island-building has been too passive. “I see no price whatsoever that China is paying for their activities in the South and East China Seas,” Mr. Corker said. “None. In fact, I see us paying a price.”

Neither side wants a war. Mr. Xi is not anti-West in the manner of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and so far, he has not acted rashly, as Mr. Putin has by grabbing territory in Ukraine. China still needs U.S. markets and know-how to rise. A war against America would be an economic catastrophe for China.

The U.S.-China relationship has weathered storms before. Recall the days following the Chinese army’s 1989 assault on pro-democracy students in Tiananmen Square, when cooperation between the countries went into a deep freeze. But President George H.W. Bush calculated that the U.S.-China relationship was too important to sacrifice, and he quickly sent emissaries to Beijing to ensure that it remained intact.

Today, surely, that calculation carries no less weight. Moreover, trying to contain China would be immensely costly: Neither country can succeed economically without the other. Kennan’s containment strategy worked against the Soviet Union because it was economically weak, with almost no commercial ties to America. But today’s China is an economic powerhouse, and its double-digit military budgets are supported by a deep and diversified industrial base.

Set against these realities, however, is the fact that the U.S.-China relationship has lost its strategic raison d’être: the Soviet Union, the common threat that brought the two countries together.

Opposition to Moscow was the logic that drove Nixon’s opening to China. But even Nixon, a tough-minded realist who was focused on the balance of power, wasn’t sure how his opening to China would ultimately play out. As he told the late New York Times columnist William Safire not long before Nixon’s death in 1994, “We may have created a Frankenstein.”


 (By David Shambaugh, The Wall Street Journal)


Mr. Xi at the Schloss Bellevue presidential residency during his visit to fellow export powerhouse Germany in Berlin on March 28, 2014.  
Mr. Xi at the Schloss Bellevue presidential residency during his visit to fellow export powerhouse Germany in Berlin on March 28, 2014.Photo:Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Something Is Very Wrong In China: Xi Jinping demands loyalty from state security agencies

May 19, 2015

Call comes in light of corruption scandals that toppled some of the sector’s most high-profile figures

By Mimi Lau in Guangzhou
South China Morning Post

President Xi Jinping  has demanded absolute loyalty from state security agencies in light of recent scandals that toppled some of the sector’s highest profile figures.

The remarks came during a meeting with several top national security agents in which Xi called for “firm faith” and “absolute loyalty ” to the Communist Party in the face of threats to national security and social stability, Xinhua reported yesterday.

National security agencies should enforce strict discipline and forge teams that were “determined, pure, trustworthy, devoted and competent,” Xi said.

Top intelligence official Ma Jian  was placed under investigation in January on suspicion of discipline and legal violations by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in a widening of the anti-corruption campaign.

He is closely linked to Ling Jihua, the ex-aide of former president Hu Jintao. Ling was himself brought under investigation last December also on corruption charges.

Former security tsar Zhou Yongkang is another top official to have been snared in the anti-corruption campaign started by Xi, and some of Zhou’s former associates have also been implicated.

During yesterday’s meeting, Xi said China was being confronted with complicated and rapidly changing domestic and international environments.

A Chinese military policeman stands guard outside the portrait of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square.Photo: Getty Images

He said these environments contained huge uncertainties and risks, and security agencies faced tough tasks in safeguarding state security and social stability.

The central leadership placed great importance on national security and the country would step up efforts to prevent and crack down on activities that compromised national security, Xi added.

He called on all Communist Party and government departments to value, understand and support the work of the agencies.

Meng Jianzhu, head of the party’s Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of Central Committee, pledged that national security agencies would carry out Xi’s instructions and follow the undivided leadership of the Communist Party’s Central Committee.

National security agencies are responsible for intelligence gathering and spying operations.


 (By David Shambaugh, The Wall Street Journal)


Mr. Xi at the Schloss Bellevue presidential residency during his visit to fellow export powerhouse Germany in Berlin on March 28, 2014.  
Mr. Xi at the Schloss Bellevue presidential residency during his visit to fellow export powerhouse Germany in Berlin on March 28, 2014. Photo:Agence France-Presse/Getty Images