Jack Ma, the billionaire entrepreneur of China has learned the hard way that free speech is not free in the communist country.  His verbal attack on the banking system was met by a suspension of a multi-billion IPO for his Ant Group.  Ma learned that authorities strike back painfully if one talks out of turn.  Ma would have been safe in the US for voicing his thoughts.  Even with raised eyebrows of regulators, the IPO would have gone through.  It is hard for activists around the world to understand the permissions and limits of American free speech and to know if it applies to themselves.  For most, there are barriers one dare not cross, and Ma paid no attention to them.  PR and marketing practitioners take note once again.  In China, rules are different and one doesn’t buck the party’s authority for long.  It is true for most authoritarian regimes in the world.  

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