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China Lobbies US Executives over ‘Anti-Beijing’ Bills

US companies have been increasingly wary of tensions between Washington and Beijing, anxious about being caught in any crossfire

US internet services giant Yahoo pulled out of China on November 1. Photo: Reuters


China has been pushing US executives, companies and business groups in letters and meetings to fight against bills in Congress perceived to be anti-Beijing.

Letters from China’s embassy in Washington have pressed executives to urge members of Congress to alter or drop specific bills that seek to enhance US competitiveness.

Chinese officials warned companies they would risk losing market share or revenue in China if the bills become law, according to the text of the letter.

The Chinese embassy and the head of its economic and commercial office did not return separate requests for comment.

US companies have been increasingly wary of tensions between Washington and Beijing, anxious about being caught in any crossfire.

Yahoo, LinkedIn and Epic Games have pulled out of China in recent weeks, although for various reasons not always related to US-China tensions.

In 2020, Beijing threatened US companies after then-president Donald Trump hit Chinese tech firms with a corporate blacklist.

This year, Joe Biden, the US president, warned American companies that operating in Hong Kong puts their employees and business at the mercy of a controversial national security law.

China’s requests to the US executives left some concerned that they could be seen as violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act if they lobbied lawmakers on similar issues.

As a result, none of the sources wanted to be identified as having received or seen the letter.

Sweeping legislation to boost US competition with China and fund much-needed semiconductor production, known as the US Innovation and Competition Act, passed the Senate with bipartisan support in June.

A related bill in the House of Representatives has stalled due to preoccupation with other legislative initiatives.

  • Reuters



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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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