Stocksak: U.S. lawmakers denounce Wall Street bankers’ plans to attend Hong Kong summit

© Stocksak. FILE PHOTO – A general view of Two International Finance Centres (IFC), HSBC headquarters, and Bank of China in Hong Kong. July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

By Michael Martina

WASHINGTON (Stocksak), – Two U.S. lawmakers urged top American bankers Thursday to cancel their attendance at the Hong Kong financial summit next week. They claimed that their participation would lead to abuses of Chinese rights.

Some of the most prominent banks and asset managers in the world, including Goldman Sachs Group CEO David Solomon, Inc (NYSE:), Morgan Stanley (NYSE) boss James Gorman, and BlackRock Inc (NYSE) President Rob Kapito will be attending the Nov. 2 Global Finance Leaders’ Investment Summit in Beijing.

Officials in Hong Kong hope that the event will signal a reopening of COVID-19 border restrictions. However, it has angered activists in Hong Kong after authorities used a national safety law to suppress dissent from the former British colony.

Representative Jim McGovern and Senator Jeff Merkley, both Democrats, suggested that the executives “reconsider” their attendance as it “makes them complicit in human rights violations by Chinese and Hong Kong authorities and efforts to export an unliberal world order.

“Their presence only serves to legitimize the swift dismantling of Hong Kong’s autonomy, free press, and the rule of law by Hong Kong authorities acting along with the Chinese Communist Party,” said the lawmakers, who lead the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

They stated that it would also provide “political cover” to John Lee, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, who has been under U.S. sanction and has refused to cooperate in U.S. Sanctions on Russian Assets.

They warned that this would be a concern for Congress if increased investments in authoritarian government undermine U.S. interests and accelerate efforts against Hong Kong’s autonomy, freedoms, and democracy.

Last year, the State Department warned U.S. companies that they could face civil and criminal penalties if they violate U.S. sanctions through “certain transactions” with sanctioned Hong Kong or Chinese officials.

Hong Kong was freed from British rule in 1997 and returned to Chinese control. It had been guaranteed autonomy that Beijing would not compromise.

Rights groups claim that Hong Kong police arrested more than 10,000 people in pro-democracy demonstrations in 2019. They were under a broad national security law that the United States officials said threatened the territory’s status as an international business hub.

Rights groups claim that over 1,000 of those detained were jailed.

Republicans are hoping to win control of Congress in November’s midterm election. They have also criticized executives for their plans at attending the Hong Kong event.

Representative Chris Smith stated earlier this month that “Examining U.S. corporate complicity with China’s repression” will be a top oversight topic in the next Congress.

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