It didn’t take China long to respond to George Soros after he went nuclear on Beijing and US investment titans abandoning their “ESG ideals” to capitalize on China’s massive market.
Over the weekend, China’s state-run tabloid Global Times labeled George Soros a “global economic terrorist” in a tit for tat exchange playing out in dueling op-eds that underscore the rising temperature in US-China relations, the Standard and Asia Times reported.
The article, published on September 4, accused the billionaire hedge fund manager and liberal donor and Democrat supporter of providing finance to Hong Kong’s jailed newspaper owner Jimmy Lai to support the city’s anti-Beijing protests in 2019.
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Soon thereafter, Soros penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that said New York-based BlackRock’s recent $1 billion mutual fund investment in China was a “tragic mistake” and would lose money for the asset manager’s clients. Soros wrote the BlackRock investment “imperils the national security interests of the US.” That followed an August 30 op-ed Soros published in the Financial Times that said Chinese President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on private enterprise has been “a significant drag on the Chinese economy” and “could lead to a crash.”
Soros said indices such as MSCI’s ACWI, ESG Leaders Index and BlackRock’s ESG Aware, have “effectively forced hundreds of billions of dollars belonging to US investors into Chinese companies whose corporate governance does not meet the required standard — power and accountability is now exercised by one man (Xi) who is not accountable to any international authority.”
The billionaire urged the US Congress to pass legislation limiting asset managers’ investments to “companies where actual governance structures are both transparent and aligned with stakeholders.” Previous reports said that Soros’ hedge fund had disposed all of its exposure to Chinese assets earlier this year.
Having made a name (and $1.1 billion ) for breaking the Bank of England in 1992, during the Asian financial crisis in 1997, Soros also tried to break the Hong Kong dollar’s peg to the US dollar but was ultimately defeated by the Hong Kong government, which intervened heavily in markets to protect the peg. Soros was given the nickname “financial crocodile” by local media at the time.
In September 2001, Soros was invited to visit China and met then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji in Beijing. But after the 2008 global financial crisis, Soros told media in October 2009 that China should step up to the plate as the leader of a new global economic order.
Then, in January 2016, Soros told a dinner audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos that “a hard landing is practically unavoidable” for the Chinese economy. A few days later, the People’s Daily, China’s Communist Party mouthpiece, warned that “Soros’s war on the renminbi and the Hong Kong dollar cannot possibly succeed – about this there can be no doubt.”
In January 2019, Soros said Chinese President Xi Jinping was “the most dangerous enemy” of free societies for presiding over a high-tech surveillance regime. He said, “China is not the only authoritarian regime in the world but it is the wealthiest, strongest and technologically most advanced.” He also said China’s ZTE and Huawei telecom giants should not be allowed to dominate the world’s 5G infrastructure rollout.
But the Global Times’ “economic terrorist” label is a new escalation in the feud between the two.
The Global Times’ commentary, titled “This global economic terrorist is staring at China!”, claimed Soros only started to criticize China because he felt regret after disposing all his investments in Tencent Music, Baidu and Vishop earlier this year.
The article added that his Open Society Foundations financed Human Rights Watch, which it claimed spreads “rumors” against China over recent matters in Hong Kong and Xinjiang as well as the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Global Times commentary also claimed Soros had colluded with Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai to try to start a “color revolution” in Hong Kong in 2019. It also described Soros as “the most evil person in the world” and “the son of Satan.”