Did China Just Give Donald Trump the Middle Finger?

TPG via ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

China has announced that it’s opening up its financial sector to foreign ownership:

The relaxation in the securities industry potentially paves the way for Wall Street investment banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase to increase their presence in China’s hard-to-crack domestic market….China will allow foreign companies to hold 51% of domestic-securities firms….The country will also remove caps for foreign stakes in Chinese banks….The government also will allow 51% foreign ownership in Chinese life-insurance companies in three years and lift that restriction entirely in five years.

That’s all well and good, but here’s the part that puzzles me:

China took a major step in opening up its financial sector, announcing a relaxation of restrictions on foreign ownership in the securities and banking sectors just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump concluded his visit to Beijing.

I’m no China tea-leaf reader, but was this calculated? Did China deliberately wait until Trump was gone so that he couldn’t hold a joint appearance with Xi Jinping crowing about it? Did the American team even know this was coming? So far, Trump has tweeted nothing about it.

Or was the timing related to domestic politics, with Xi not wanting it to look like this happened due to American pressure? But if that was the case, why not wait a few weeks so there’s not even a question about the timing?

Are there any thoughtful China watchers out there who care to chime in on this? It sure looks like a calculated slight to me, but what do I know?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest