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BlackRock & China: Consumers’ Research Warns Governors against Investing State Pension Plans

Brittany Jordan

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A sign for BlackRock Inc. hangs above their building in New York, July 16, 2018. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

In a letter Thursday, Consumers’ Research, the nation’s oldest consumer protection agency, warned ten governors against investing their states’ pension plans in BlackRock, a financial behemoth with reportedly compromising business ties to China.

The letter included the group’s recently published Consumer Warning, which disclosed BlackRock’s financial conflict of interest with China. With nearly $10 trillion in assets under management, the firm has a record of using its investments to fund initiatives that bolster the Chinese Communist Party, a rising adversary of the U.S. that routinely commits egregious human rights violations, according to the document.

Since 2008, when the financial giant opened an office in Beijing to “expand its business into China,” BlackRock increased investments into regime-connected companies like Baidu, Pinduoduo, Xiaomi, and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)5.

The letter was addressed to the governors of Florida, New York, Washington, Nevada, Nebraska, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Montana, and West Virginia, all of which states’ public pension funds are invested in BlackRock and face substantial portfolio risk because of the China link, the agency explained.

Consumers’ Research specifically highlighted BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s cozy business relationship with China’s communist leadership, noting that he has advised them on multiple occasions including during China’s trade negotiations with the U.S.

“BlackRock’s unabashed gusto for Chinese markets flies in the face of concerns about China’s ascendant standing in the world, its authoritarian model of government, and its ambitions to supplant the U.S. as the pre-eminent world power,” the letter read. “Administrations of both parties have come to understand the great risk posed by the CCP and, breaking from prior policy of promoting China’s peaceful rise, labeled it a strategic rival against which the U.S. must compete.”

The letter suggested that continued investments in BlackRock would harm U.S. national security while making the U.S. complicit in China’s brutality against its own citizens.

“Investment in Chinese companies could also make U.S. investors unwitting accomplices in the expansion of the CCP’s surveillance and intelligence gathering apparatus, or worse yet, make them party to human rights abuses like the ongoing genocide against Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China,” it said.

The statement concluded by imploring the governors and all elected officials to do “due diligence” around giving money to a company believed to be collaborating with a government that is increasingly hostile to U.S. interests.

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Brittany Jordan is an award-winning journalist who reports on breaking news in the U.S. and globally for the Federal Inquirer. Prior to her position at the Federal Inquirer, she was a general assignment features reporter for Newsweek, where she wrote about technology, politics, government news and important global events around the world. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Toronto Star, Frederick News-Post, West Hawaii Today, the Miami Herald, and more. Brittany enjoys food, travel, photography, and hoarding notebooks and journals. Her goal is to do more longform features journalism, narrative writing and documentary work, and to one day write a successful novel and screenplay.

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