China has dismissed the criticism of billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros as “meaningless,” shrugging off his heated Thursday attack on Chinese President Xi Jinping at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
In his speech, the philanthropist branded the Chinese leader “the most dangerous enemy” of free societies, explaining that the Asian giant “is not the only authoritarian regime in the world but it is the wealthiest, strongest and technologically most advanced.”
The speech was perhaps the most forceful public statement against China’s leader to come from such a prominent member of the “one percent” global elite.
Beijing was hardly impressed, and Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying noted that while some individuals may “invert right and wrong,” their words remain “meaningless and not worth refuting.”
“We hope the relevant American can correct his attitude, not be shortsighted, and hold an objective, rational and correct opinion of China’s development,” Hua told reporters Friday.
Soros is the founder of the Open Society Foundations, which describes an open society as “a society in which the rule of law prevails as opposed to the rule by a single individual and where the role of the state is to protect human rights and individual freedom.”
The 88-year-old Soros blasted Xi, accusing the Chinese government of wielding artificial intelligence such as facial recognition technology and a new social credit system to allow the “one-party state to reign supreme.”
China has set about establishing the social credit system by 2020. The system, which is being piloted in some parts of the country, would reward or punish individuals and corporations, using advanced technology to record various measures of financial credit, personal behavior such as drinking or playing loud music.
Some experts claim the system will allow authorities to combat white-collar crime, corruption and food insecurity.
The liberal donor also offered criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade disputes with other countries while urging Washington to adopt a hard-line approach to private companies in China such as ZTE and Huawei.
“Last year I still believed that China ought to be more deeply embedded in the institutions of global governance, but since then Xi Jinping’s behavior has changed my opinion.
My present view is that instead of waging a trade war with practically the whole world, the US should focus on China. Instead of letting ZTE and Huawei off lightly, it needs to crack down on them. If these companies came to dominate the 5G market, they would present an unacceptable security risk for the rest of the world.
Regrettably, President Trump seems to be following a different course: make concessions to China and declare victory while renewing his attacks on US allies. This is liable to undermine the US policy objective of curbing China’s abuses and excesses.”
U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have introduced draft legislation that would outlaw the sale of U.S. computer chips and other components to Huawei, ZTE, or other flagship Chinese telecoms companies who allegedly violate U.S. sanctions and export control laws.
ZTE and Huawei, in particular, are seen as threats to the national security of the U.S. because it is alleged that they will be used to spy on Americans, an accusation that Beijing has called “hysteria.”
Washington also fears Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” initiative, which hopes to upgrade the country’s industrial base in an all-around manner allowing it to produce high-tech, value-added goods and enabling the country to compete with U.S. companies like Apple and Hewlett-Packard.
Soros has become notorious for his generous funding of a range of groups across the world, offering billions from his own fortune to advance liberal democratic causes.
As a result, he is often depicted as a sort of “puppet-master” bogeyman, with some groups pointing to his Jewish lineage to advance openly anti-Semitic narratives while others make false accusations linking Soros to independent groups on the political left.
Regardless of the canards and falsehoods surrounding Soros and his activities, it remains undeniable that he has been extremely active in attempting to make his influence felt across the globe in defense of “open societies” in countries across Eastern Europe and the west, and now China, while also generously funding the Democratic Party in the U.S.
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