Soros mauled as 'terrorist' for China attacks

Finance | AGENCIES and STAFF REPORTER 8 Sep 2021

Billionaire American investor George Soros was described a "global economic terrorist" by Beijing's Global Times after he said that massive investment by New York-based BlackRock in China was a "mistake" and would likely lose money for the asset manager's clients.

"Pouring billions of dollars into China now is a tragic mistake," Soros wrote in a commentary in The Wall Street Journal. "It is likely to lose money for BlackRock's clients and, more important, will damage the national security interests of the US and other democracies."

BlackRock last month became the first foreign asset manager to operate a wholly owned mutual fund business in China, tapping the fast-growing US$3.6 trillion (HK$28 trillion) retail fund market. This also comes after the government scrapped a foreign ownership cap in the industry on April 1, 2020.

The commentary was one of several that Soros has written in recent weeks to warn against closer economic ties to Xi Jinping's China amid a wave of market-roiling crackdowns.

Soros denounced Xi in another Journal opinion piece last month as "the most dangerous enemy of open societies in the world."

He subsequently argued in the Financial Times that the US Congress should pass legislation limiting asset managers' investments to "companies where actual governance structures are both transparent and aligned with stakeholders."

In the latest piece, Soros said BlackRock appeared to misunderstand Xi, whose administration, he said, regarded all Chinese companies as "instruments of the one-party state."

Soros said the curbs that began with the sudden cancellation of Ant Group's initial public offering last year had since "reached a crescendo." He also said BlackRock managers must be aware of an "enormous crisis brewing in China's real estate market."

Soros has been described as the person who caused the 1997/1998 Asian financial crisis.

During that time he bet against Asian currencies including the Hong Kong dollar. That forced all but the Hong Kong dollar to depreciate sharply in a short period of time, and the currency systems and stock markets of Southeast Asian countries collapsed.

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