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Billionaire presidential contender Mike Bloomberg — never one to put his mouth where his money is — claimed that Chinese leader Xi Jinping is “not a dictator,” and Senator Ben Sasse is having none of it.
In a blistering statement released on Tuesday, the Nebraska Republican slammed Bloomberg’s recent claim that the Communist Party “listen[s] to the public” because “they want to stay in power.” Bloomberg had also claimed that Xi “has to satisfy his constituents or he’s not going to survive.”
Sasse replied, “This is the kind of stupid you can’t script,” and reminded his actual constituents that “the Chinese Communist Party has thrown a million innocent Uyghurs into camps and has made billions of dollars by literally harvesting the organs of their political prisoners.”
But you can’t blame poor Mayor Mike for painting Xi as a decent fellow, when Bloomberg has so much money invested in Communist China. Last week, the Washington Post’s Tory Newmyer called Bloomberg the Democrats’ “most Beijing-friendly candidate.” Previously at WaPo, Josh Rogin concluded that Bloomberg’s record on China “shows he is the wrong person to guide our country in confronting this historic challenge.” Rogin continued:
Through its massive Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index, Bloomberg LP is helping finance Chinese companies by sending billions of U.S. investor dollars into the Chinese bond market.
This year, the index began a 20-month plan to support 364 Chinese firms by directing an estimated $150 billion into their bond offerings, including 159 controlled directly by the Chinese government. Bloomberg, along with other Wall Street firms, is effectively supporting the Chinese government’s efforts to resist the U.S. government’s economic pressure, while exposing American investors to increased risk.”
If you were a successful businessman, would you put your and your investors’ money at risk by annoying China’s dictator?
This is nothing new for Bloomberg, either. The NYT reported in 2013 that a “reporter for Bloomberg News who worked on an unpublished article about China, which employees for the company said had been killed for political reasons by top Bloomberg editors, was suspended last week by managers.”
The reporter, Michael Forsythe, was based in Hong Kong and has written award-winning investigative articles on China. He met with supervisors and was placed on leave, said two Bloomberg employees with knowledge of the situation, which was supposed to be private. The move came days after several news outlets, including The New York Times, published reports quoting unnamed Bloomberg employees saying that top editors, led by Matthew Winkler, the editor in chief, decided in late October not to publish an investigative article because of fears that Bloomberg would be expelled from China.
The article, about a Chinese tycoon and his ties to families of Communist Party leaders, was written by Mr. Forsythe and Shai Oster. Mr. Winkler has denied that the article was killed.
Well, Mr. Winkler can deny all he likes, but Bloomberg is now on record forbidding his own reporters to report on his candidacy, so it’s clear that the former mayor isn’t shy about silencing unwanted news.
And just last year, Bloomberg moved his New Economy Forum — “aimed at improving understanding between China and the United States” — from Shanghai to Singapore, so as not to interfere with Beijing’s China International Import Expo. That’s no small deal, since Bloomberg’s ambition for the NEF is to make it a rival to Davos.
But other than silencing China’s critics, kowtowing to China’s most powerful dictator since Mao, and investing billions in Chinese businesses, you can be sure that if he’s elected president, when push comes to shove with our greatest geopolitical rival, President Mike will always have China’s back.