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Abuse of Human Rights Activists in China: A Spotlight on Three Grim Cases

The struggle for human rights in China has recently been marred by a series of distressing developments, as prominent activists face severe repercussions for their efforts to promote reform and justice. Three cases, in particular, have drawn international condemnation and spotlight the Chinese government’s harsh stance against dissent and activism.

1. The Sentencing of Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi

Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi, two respected figures in China’s human rights circle, have been sentenced to 14 and 12 years in prison, respectively. This decision was reached by a court in Shandong province, as reported by Ding Jiaxi’s wife via social media. Both men are key members of the New Citizens’ Movement, an activist group advocating for government transparency and anti-corruption measures. Their incarceration, following an informal gathering in Xiamen city, represents a significant blow to the movement for civil liberties in China.

Their trials, criticized for being secretive and unfair, have led to widespread accusations of human rights violations. Reports indicate that both men were subjected to torture and other inhumane treatments, such as being bound to an iron chair for prolonged periods. These actions starkly violate international human rights law and highlight the Chinese government’s ruthless approach to quashing dissent.

2. The Six-Year Ordeal of Li Yuhan

Another poignant example of China’s crackdown on human rights defenders is the case of Li Yuhan, a septuagenarian lawyer who has represented fellow human rights lawyers and victims of abuse. She was handed a six-and-a-half-year prison sentence for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and fraud, following a secret trial in Shenyang. Her sentence includes time served, indicating a release date in April 2024. Li’s work, particularly in defending sensitive cases involving religious freedoms, has made her a target of the Chinese authorities, leading to threats and eventually her detention and trial.

3. The Detention of Lu Siwei and International Extradition Concerns

The third case involves Lu Siwei, a human rights lawyer known for defending one of the 12 Hongkongers arrested in 2020. Lu’s situation is particularly alarming as it highlights China’s influence beyond its borders. Arrested in Laos and repatriated to China, Lu’s case raises serious questions about the Chinese government’s pursuit of critics overseas and the compliance of neighboring countries with these extradition requests.

Lu’s family confirmed his detention in the Xindu Detention Centre in Sichuan province. His arrest in Laos, on charges of using fraudulent documents while attempting to reunite with his family in the USA, and the subsequent lack of legal representation or family contact, underscore the broader issue of China’s reach in suppressing dissent.

These three cases illustrate the grim reality facing human rights activists in China. The international community, including organizations like Amnesty International, has vocally criticized these actions and called for the immediate and unconditional release of these activists. The severity of these sentences, the alleged use of torture, and the suppression of fundamental freedoms demand a global response and a reevaluation of how the world engages with China on human rights issues. The stories of Xu Zhiyong, Ding Jiaxi, Li Yuhan, and Lu Siwei are not just isolated incidents but are indicative of a broader, more systemic problem that requires urgent attention and action.

The Baltic Pipeline Incident: A Deliberate Act by a Chinese Vessel?

Finland’s Minister of European Affairs, Anders Adlercreutz, has cast a shadow of doubt over the innocence of a Chinese container ship in the damaging of the Balticconnector gas pipeline. This critical infrastructure, lying beneath the Baltic Sea and connecting Estonia and Finland, both NATO members, suffered significant damage around October 7-8, raising serious security concerns.

The Finnish authorities have zeroed in on the Chinese container ship Newnew Polar Bear as the prime suspect. This vessel is believed to have dragged its massive 6,000-kilogram anchor across the seabed of the Baltic Sea, severing not only the gas pipeline but also two crucial telecom cables. The proximity of the retrieved anchor to the site of the damage only deepens the mystery.

Finland, alongside Estonia, has been proactive in seeking cooperation from the Chinese authorities for a thorough investigation. The request to send representatives to Beijing for examining the vessel, which is en route to a Chinese port, speaks volumes about the gravity of the situation. Adlercreutz’s remark about the unlikelihood of a captain returning to China after committing an act disapproved by the Chinese government adds a layer of intrigue to the whole scenario.

This incident mirrors concerns raised by the damage to the Nord Stream gas pipelines connecting Russia to Germany over a year ago. Those explosions, which remain a mystery despite international investigations, underscore the vulnerability of undersea critical infrastructure to external sabotage.

President Sauli Niinisto of Finland has been forthright in demanding access to the NewNew Polar Bear. The ambiguity surrounding whether the ship dragged its anchor deliberately or due to navigational incompetence adds to the urgency for an onboard investigation. The damage, marked by extensive drag marks on the seafloor, not only disrupted the Balticconnector gas pipeline but also affected data cables, one of which belonged to Russia.

NATO’s response has been to fortify its presence in the Baltic Sea, with increased patrols, deployment of planes and minehunters, and the Joint Expeditionary Force deciding to deploy additional warships and planes to safeguard critical undersea infrastructure.

As the vessel makes its way to Tianjin, China, the world awaits further details. Whether this was a case of deliberate sabotage or an unfortunate maritime error remains to be seen, but the implications of this incident are far-reaching, touching on issues of international security, naval competency, and the delicate balance of power in a globally connected world.

In the unlikely circumstance that it was an accident, look for the captain and companies to disappear per the longstanding CCP tradition. But accidents like this do not happen. How can a ship not know that its anchor is dragging behind it? More likely it was China executing its agenda with weak buy plausible denial.

Vanishing Acts: The Mysterious Disappearance of Zhongzhi Executives in China

In a previous article we mentioned disappearing executives in China and the terror it has been causing. Turns out this was prophetic.

The shadowy world of Chinese finance has witnessed the sudden and alarming disappearance of two executives linked to Zhongzhi, a beleaguered financial conglomerate in China. This incident comes in the wake of a criminal investigation launched by Chinese authorities into Zhongzhi, an entity deeply embroiled in the country’s financial tumult.

Dalian My Gym Education Technology, an education firm listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, has reported the inexplicable loss of contact with its chairwoman, 38-year-old Ma Hongying. Simultaneously, Xinjiang Tianshan Animal Husbandry Bio-engineering, a firm specializing in cattle and dairy cow breeding, has expressed similar concerns about its chairman, 59-year-old Ma Changshui. Both companies, under the control of Zhongzhi’s investment units, have been left in the dark about the whereabouts of their leaders.

Zhongzhi Enterprise Group, a part of China’s vast $3 trillion “shadow banking” industry, is reeling under severe financial strain. The conglomerate, which oversees numerous asset and wealth management firms, finds itself in a precarious position with liabilities skyrocketing to $64 billion, while its assets dwindle to less than half of that amount.

The disappearance of these two prominent figures has stoked fears of their possible detention by authorities, a suspicion not unfounded given China’s recent history of executives facing sudden arrests or going missing. The Beijing Public Security Bureau’s recent announcement of “mandatory measures” against individuals linked to Zhongzhi only adds to these apprehensions.

Ma Hongying and Ma Changshui, both integral to the Zhongzhi group for years, have now seemingly vanished into thin air. Ma Hongying, having served as Zhongzhi’s chief financial officer since 2015, and Ma Changshui, a former banker and the vice president of Zhongzhi, have been vital cogs in the conglomerate’s machinery. Their sudden absence raises serious questions about the internal turmoil within Zhongzhi and the wider implications for China’s financial sector.

The crisis at Zhongzhi is reflective of the larger issues plaguing China’s property sector, which has seen a series of defaults and liquidity crises, significantly impacting the economy. The fall of Evergrande, another real estate giant, had set off a domino effect, leading to the current state of instability in the market.

These disappearances are part of a worrying trend in China, where top executives from various sectors, including technology and real estate, have either gone missing or been detained in a sweeping crackdown. This year alone, over a dozen high-profile business leaders have faced similar fates, highlighting the increasing pressure and scrutiny from the Chinese government.

The case of Zhongzhi and its missing executives serves as a stark reminder of the volatile and often brutal nature of the Chinese Communist Party’s fascist and totalitarian hold over its corporate world. As the investigation into Zhongzhi unfolds, the international community watches with bated breath, seeking answers to the puzzling disappearance of Ma Hongying and Ma Changshui, and the broader implications for China’s financial stability and the fate of its corporate leaders.

Taliban Aligns with China – Biden’s Disaster Comes Home to Roost


The Taliban’s appointment of a new ambassador to China, Bilal Karimi, heralds a significant realignment in Afghanistan’s international relations. This appointment is not just any diplomatic maneuver; it’s a strategic chess move in a complex game of power, influence, and survival. Karimi’s arrival in Beijing, the first such instance since the Taliban reclaimed power over two years ago, is a bold statement of intent, showcasing the group’s relentless pursuit of legitimacy and economic support in the face of global isolation.

Bilal Karimi, a relatively young and inexperienced figure in the realm of diplomacy, embodies the Taliban’s new face in this unfolding diplomatic saga. His presence in Beijing, welcomed by China’s special envoy for Afghan affairs Yue Xiaoyong, marks a critical juncture. Karimi’s appointment and the warm reception he received from Chinese officials speak volumes about China’s strategic patience and long-term vision in Afghanistan, a nation long plagued by conflict and instability.

China’s involvement with the Taliban, despite global censure over the group’s draconian policies, particularly concerning women and girls, is a testament to its anti-West foreign policy. China’s stance of non-interference and its willingness to engage with the Taliban, while not officially recognizing them as the legitimate government, reflect a calculated approach. After the Biden Administration’s disastrous and incompetent withdrawal from Afghanistan that left America’s reputation in tatters and the Afghani people under brutal fundamentalist rule, China stepped in with an olive branch and has developed a relationship, with its sites set on Afghanistan’s extensive mineral resources.

The Taliban’s quest for international recognition and legitimacy is fraught with challenges and contradictions. Their efforts to assert control over Afghanistan’s diplomatic missions abroad have been marked by fervent criticism and resistance from host nations. The recent closure of the Afghan embassy in India, citing a lack of support from New Delhi and the absence of a recognized government in Kabul, underscores the complexities of the Taliban’s diplomatic endeavors.

The Taliban’s diplomatic isolation is starkly evident in their exclusion from global forums such as the COP28 climate summit. Their condemnation of this exclusion, claiming it deprives Afghans of their rights, reflects their frustration and desperation for international engagement. The United Nations’ assessment that Afghanistan is among the top ten countries most vulnerable to climate change adds a layer of urgency to this situation, yet the Taliban’s policies and actions continue to hinder their access to global support and funding.

China’s role in this unfolding geopolitical drama is intricate and multifaceted. The arrival of China’s new ambassador to Afghanistan, Zhao Sheng, and the elaborate protocol accorded to him by the Taliban is a clear indication of the strengthening ties between the two entities. China’s statement urging the international community to maintain dialogue with Afghanistan and encourage the establishment of an inclusive political framework is a subtle yet powerful endorsement of its engagement policy.

The dark reality of this geopolitical chess game is that it is being played on a board where human rights, particularly women’s rights, are being sacrificed. Afghanistan under the Taliban remains the only country in the world with such draconian bans on female education and employment. The stark contrast between the Taliban’s diplomatic overtures and their oppressive domestic policies poses a moral and ethical dilemma for the international community, especially for nations like China that choose to engage with them.

As the Taliban continue their diplomatic offensive to break out of international isolation, their engagement with China emerges as a critical chapter in this complex narrative. The Taliban doesn’t care about its resources being exploited, and China does not care that it is doing business with a new brutally oppressive regime. And thanks to Biden, the U.S. and West are left on the outside, and the world has realigned in China’s favor.

Walmart Shifts to India and Away from China for Stable Supply Chains


In a strategic evolution that marks a significant shift in global retail dynamics, Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has been recalibrating its supply chain to reduce its dependency on China, instead turning towards more stable and economically viable markets like India. This move is a clear response to the evolving geopolitical landscape, including a greater instability and tensions in the Chinese government.

Walmart’s strategic shift commenced with a landmark decision in 2018, when it acquired a 77% stake in Flipkart, one of India’s leading e-commerce firms. This acquisition was not just an entry point into the Indian market but also a strategic move to tap into India’s vast manufacturing capabilities. As part of this strategy, Walmart committed to importing $10 billion worth of goods annually from India by 2027, a goal that the company is on track to achieve according to statements from company executives.

The rationale behind Walmart’s pivot away from China is multifaceted, driven by both economic and geopolitical factors. Andrea Albright, Walmart’s Executive Vice President of Sourcing, outlined the necessity of this shift. “The cost dynamics are changing. The world is changing. We need to have a supply chain that is nimble and responsive to these changes,” Albright stated. Rising labor and shipping costs have made sourcing from China increasingly expensive. Additionally, the ongoing political tensions between the United States and China have introduced elements of uncertainty and risk that Walmart is keen to mitigate.

The strategy is not merely a cost-cutting measure but a broader initiative to ensure the resilience and stability of Walmart’s supply chain. Albright further emphasized this point: “Resilience in our supply chain is crucial. We cannot afford to be overly reliant on any one supplier or geography. Diversification is key to managing a wide range of challenges, from natural disasters to geopolitical tensions.”

India’s emergence as a manufacturing hub has been instrumental in Walmart’s decision. The country offers a diverse manufacturing base, capable of producing a wide range of products including electronics, pharmaceuticals, toys, and textiles. India’s demographic dividend, coupled with technological advancements, has positioned it as a competitive alternative to China. This, combined with governmental efforts to boost manufacturing and exports, has made India an attractive destination for Walmart’s sourcing needs.

The statistical shift in Walmart’s sourcing patterns is stark. Between January and August of a recent year, a quarter of Walmart’s imports to the US were from India, up from just 2% in 2018. In contrast, imports from China decreased from 80% to 60% in the same period. However, it’s important to note that China remains a significant source for Walmart, indicating a strategy of diversification rather than abandonment.

This strategic shift reflects a broader trend among US companies seeking to mitigate risks and ensure a stable supply chain in the face of geopolitical uncertainties. Other countries, such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, are also benefiting from this diversification, as Walmart expands its sourcing for home and apparel products.

Walmart’s decision to diversify its supply chain, reducing reliance on China and increasing imports from India and other emerging markets, is a strategic response to the changing global economic and political landscape. This move reflects Walmart’s commitment to balancing cost-efficiency with supply chain resilience, ensuring the company’s competitiveness in an increasingly complex global environment. This strategy not only impacts Walmart but also signifies a potential shift in global trade dynamics, with far-reaching implications for international commerce and economic relationships.

One might conclude that China’s strategy to buy their way into markets with cheap labor and subsidies has worked for a while. But with the Chinese Communist Party throwing its weight around, and their rising ambitions to make China more powerful, corporations in the U.S. and elsewhere are seeing China in a different light, not only the potential for an interrupted supply chain but also the potential for a complete loss of assets. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh do not quite have the manufacturing base of China yet, but if the markets shift in their direction, they will grow quickly.

Republican Presidential Candidates vs China


As the 2024 presidential election approaches, the positions of Republican candidates on China have become a crucial aspect of their foreign policy platforms. The candidates, while unanimously viewing China as a significant threat to the United States, differ in their approaches and strategies.

Donald Trump, the former President, has maintained his tough stance on China, a continuation of the policies he adopted during his presidency. He implemented tariffs on Beijing and now proposes a more drastic decoupling of the U.S.-China economies. Trump’s approach reflects his broader ‘America First’ philosophy, prioritizing U.S. interests and reducing reliance on China.

Nikki Haley, leveraging her experience as a former U.N. Ambassador, offers a critique of Trump’s focus on trade with China, arguing that the military threat posed by Beijing grew during Trump’s tenure. Haley advocates for modernizing the U.S. military and insists on halting trade relations with China until they take significant action on issues like fentanyl. Her position suggests a more holistic approach to dealing with China, encompassing both economic and military dimensions.

Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida, perceives the threat from China as equivalent or even greater than that posed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He proposes a reorientation of U.S. foreign policy towards China, indicating a strategic shift that could involve military, economic, and diplomatic dimensions. DeSantis’ view signifies an acknowledgment of the multifaceted nature of the challenge posed by China.

When it comes to the issue of Taiwan, the candidates express varied opinions:

  • Doug Burgum advocates for a strong deterrence strategy, suggesting the deployment of anti-ship missiles in Taiwan as a means to prevent conflict.
  • Chris Christie is cautious about committing troops to Taiwan but doesn’t rule it out, emphasizing a need-based approach.
  • DeSantis focuses on deterring China through naval strength, avoiding a direct answer on sending U.S. forces to defend Taiwan.
  • Haley asserts the inevitability of China’s invasion of Taiwan and calls for the U.S. to support Taiwan in strengthening its military defenses.
  • Vivek Ramaswamy takes a definitive stance, willing to deploy the military to defend Taiwan but with the caveat of achieving semiconductor independence by 2028.
  • Trump remains non-committal on the issue, keeping military support as an option but not clarifying his position.

While all Republican candidates agree on the threat posed by China, their strategies range from economic decoupling and military modernization to reorienting foreign policy and strengthening deterrence. Their positions on Taiwan also vary, reflecting a blend of strategic caution and commitment to defending democratic allies. This diversity in viewpoints highlights the complexity of the China issue in U.S. foreign policy and its significance in the upcoming presidential election.


China’s Coal Dependency – COP28 Climate Promises are BS

As the world gears up for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Cop28), China’s stance on environmental commitments is under the microscope, revealing a stark contrast between its renewable energy achievements and its growing reliance on coal. Despite making significant strides in clean energy, China’s deep-seated dependence on coal-fired power plants casts doubt on its climate change promises, raising concerns about its true commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

In recent years, China has faced severe power shortages, highlighting the nation’s heavy reliance on coal as a primary energy source. This dependency has intensified with new coal power plant constructions, contradicting China’s pledge to peak CO2 emissions by 2030. Local governments, facing energy crises and prioritizing stability, continue to view coal as a reliable energy safety net. This approach directly conflicts with the global push towards reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

China’s commitment to reducing coal consumption is being tested by the need for stable energy supplies. The country has witnessed a surge in coal power capacity, with new constructions dwarfing those in the rest of the world. In fact, China has recently announced the approval of 106 Gigawatts of new coal plants, with likely more on the way.This expansion is partly driven by the notion of energy security, often prioritized over environmental concerns. Consequently, despite having excess coal power capacity, China continues toprefer ate commitments.

Any progress made by China in renewable energy is overshadowed by its accelerating investments in coal-based power. Even with a significant solar capacity, coal still dominates China’s energy mix, accounting for over half of its total energy consumption. This continued expansion of coal capacity steers the country off track from meeting its climate targets, undermining its notable achievements in clean energy generation.

Recent policy developments in China, such as the coal capacity compensation mechanism, suggest a double-down on coal, potentially incentivizing further coal plant constructions. This policy contradiction reveals a gap between China’s international climate pledges and its domestic energy practices. While the country boasts the largest solar capacity globally, its unabated coal consumption and approval of new coal-fired power plants paint a conflicting picture of its environmental priorities.

So look for China to say good words at COP28 about their commitments to motherhood and apple pie, but don’t count on actions that match.

Understanding China’s Shadow Banking Crisis: The Case of Zhongzhi Enterprise


The Rise and Fall of a Shadow Banking Giant

In recent weeks, China has been grappling with a major crisis in its shadow banking sector, with Zhongzhi Enterprise Group (ZEG) at the center of the storm. Shadow banking, a term for financial activities occurring outside traditional banking regulations, plays a significant role in China’s economy. In the case of Zhongzhi, a conglomerate handling a vast portfolio of assets, things have taken a dire turn, leading to a scramble by Chinese authorities to prevent a financial meltdown.

What is Shadow Banking?

Shadow banking in China refers to the network of non-traditional financial intermediaries providing services similar to traditional banks but outside regular banking regulations. This sector has grown rapidly, especially after the 2008 global financial crisis, due to the higher demand for credit that traditional banks couldn’t satisfy. In China, this industry is valued at around $3 trillion and is a major source of funding, particularly for the property sector.

The Troubles of Zhongzhi

Zhongzhi, once a titan in this shadow banking world, has recently declared insolvency. This declaration came after months of financial strain, culminating in the company admitting to having liabilities far exceeding its assets. The crisis at Zhongzhi has been attributed to several factors, including over-reliance on the decisions of its late founder, Xie Zhikun, and the broader downturn in China’s property market. This has led to a situation where Zhongzhi owes billions, with little hope for investors to recover their funds.

Implications of Zhongzhi’s Downfall

The collapse of Zhongzhi is not just a company-specific issue; it has broader implications for China’s economy. As a major player in the shadow banking sector, Zhongzhi’s failure is shaking investor confidence and adding stress to an already struggling economy. It highlights the risks inherent in shadow banking, where investors often are unaware of the real risks they are taking. Moreover, the troubles at Zhongzhi have fueled fears of a financial contagion, potentially impacting even the traditional banking sector.

The Government’s Response

In response to this crisis, Chinese authorities have taken stringent measures, including arresting several employees of Zhongzhi. This move indicates a more forceful stance by the government in addressing the shadow banking crisis. The police are urging investors to report their losses, although many remain hesitant, fearing involvement in the ongoing legal processes.

The Bigger Picture: China’s Economic Health

Zhongzhi’s crisis is a symptom of a larger problem in China’s economy, particularly in its property sector. This sector is a significant part of the national economy, and its downturn could have extensive repercussions. The situation at Zhongzhi, therefore, is not an isolated incident but part of a broader trend of financial distress in China’s shadow banking sector.

This is an example of the pitfalls of trying to perform capitalist activities under a hostile communist government. Bad decisions become hidden crises, then the government decides what laws have been broken (and make up a few along the way) and arrest people. One might imagine what other shadow banks are ready to fall. As China continues to grapple with this issue, the world watches closely, aware of the potential global implications of a financial meltdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

China is Neck Deep in the Israel-Hamas Conflict

In October of 2023, the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack against Israel that resulted in an estimated 1,400 deaths and 240 hostages. The attack featured more than 3,000 rockets, which provided cover for the terrorists to flood into southern Israel and begin slaughtering and kidnapping civilians. 

Not surprisingly, the tragedy prompted Israel to declare war on Hamas and is being likened to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. 

“[The attack was] extraordinary in its strategy, scale, and secrecy,” writes Kali Robinson, a Senior Writer for the Council on Foreign Relations.

“It is completely unprecedented that a terrorist organization would have the capacity or the wherewithal to mount coordinated, simultaneous assaults from the air, sea, and land,” adds CFR Senior Fellow Bruce Hoffman.

In the video linked below, United States Army Special Forces veteran Dovid Weiss provides a concise explanation of Hamas’s strategy. Following is a brief analysis by Tim Kaelin, former CIA agent and CEO of Impact Analytics.

Hamas and Israel are engaged in asymmetrical warfare, explains Weiss, which is a “type of war between belligerents whose relative military power, strategy, or tactics differs significantly. And as a result of this, the weaker opponent will use unconventional tactics in order to maximize one’s strengths against a stronger opponent’s weaknesses or vulnerabilities.”

The weaker group (in this case, Hamas) has fewer soldiers and fewer resources than its adversary and is forced to conserve as much as possible. Thus, a prolonged attack is only possible if the weaker opponent has a constant supply of resources and enough territory in which to hide and regroup. Hamas has neither of these things. 

Instead of a direct attack against legitimate military targets, Hamas did something that would demand a stronger and more sustained response from the Israeli government. Hamas understood that Israel’s response would put Palestinian lives in danger, but took no action to evacuate its civilians.

“In this asymmetric environment, Hamas is not only incentivized to kill Israeli civilians; they are incentivized to maximize their own civilian casualties in the short run in order to elicit western intervention on their behalf,” continues Weiss. “Hamas understands that the real battlefield is not in Gaza, but in the streets, university halls, and newsrooms of the West. And so that is their target.” 

This theory is demonstrated by the shift in public opinion that occurred (though not intentionally) when the Vietnam War’s Tet Offensive produced a swelling of anti-war sentiment in the United States. 

Expanding on Weiss’s explanation of asymmetrical warfare is Joe Gilbertson’s commentary that China must have played a key role in the attack:

“Weiss’s video reinforces my own suspicions that China was the the instigator of this conflict, albeit with two layers of separation:

1) China has committed $400 billion to Iran for oil infrastructure. This is a major bond and of course we suspect the attacks were inspired by Iran.

2) China is known to have a multi-billion dollar propaganda apparatus with reach into American universities and others around the world. We already see that protesters have pushed the anti-Israel agenda to the hilt, which is something neither Iran nor Hamas could ever hope to do.”

Hamas is an Islamist militant group and political party that has “governed” the Gaza Strip (one of two Palestinian territories located within Israel) since 2006. It is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. With support from Iran, Hamas seeks the destruction of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state. Its current military leader is Mohamed Deif.


WATCH THIS: Dovid Weiss on Asymmetrical Warfare

What is Hamas?

Israel Agrees to Hostage Deal with Hamas

Israel’s Attackers Took About 240 Hostages. Here’s What to Know About Them. 

China’s Calculated Role in the Israel-Hamas Conflict

Middle East Wealth Funds Draw Scrutiny from U.S. Over Ties to China


In a notable shift in global economic dynamics, Middle Eastern wealth funds are drawing increased scrutiny from the United States. This heightened attention is part of a broader strategy to examine and possibly counter entities that have close alliances with Beijing. The change in U.S. policy is significant as it reflects growing concerns over the deepening ties between China and the Middle East, which could potentially alter long-standing geopolitical and economic relationships.

Traditionally, Middle Eastern wealth funds have been key investors in the United States market. However, sources reveal that the current U.S. administration is closely examining more than half a dozen deals involving these funds, indicating a cautious approach towards investments from regions with strong Chinese connections. This scrutiny is rooted in the U.S. government’s apprehension about the increasing economic and political influence of China in the Middle East.

Parallel to this development, Chinese funds are actively seeking new capital sources in the Middle East, among other markets. This trend marks a significant shift in investment flows within Asia’s hedge fund scene, where Chinese firms hold substantial sway. Brokers and ancillary firms are adjusting their focus to cater to Middle East-related services, signaling a strategic redirection. “In the past perhaps the holy grail of capital raising was the U.S.,” said Effie Vasilopoulos, co-Leader of Sidley Austin’s Asia-Pacific investment funds group. She noted, “But if the U.S. investor leaves, there is a real focus on replacing that with other capital that is de-risked to this U.S.-Sino tension. So that dynamic is leading many of our clients to the Middle East.”

The move by Chinese funds to the Middle East is not unilateral; Middle Eastern investors are also showing a growing interest in allocating more resources to China. This interest is fueled by the potential benefits of lower valuations and the impact of government stimulus in supporting China’s economic recovery. Steven Luk, CEO of FountainCap Research & Investment, observed, “Sentiment (towards China) is most positive among Middle East investors relative to other investor groups.” He added, “Some sovereign wealth funds are overweighting China. They talk more about how to play China instead of ‘why China.’”

The shift in investment patterns is also influenced by the withdrawal of U.S. investors and businesses from China, driven by various risks. This has prompted Chinese funds to diversify their investment sources to reduce dependence on U.S. capital. This changing landscape is illustrated by significant deals and collaborations, such as Saudi Aramco’s planned $3.6 billion investment in Rongsheng Petrochemical and Abu Dhabi’s investment in Chinese electric-vehicle companies.

These increasing economic links between China and the Middle East present a complex challenge for the U.S. As the U.S. navigates this oil-rich region, its relationship with traditional allies like Saudi Arabia, which is expanding its network of global allies, becomes more intricate. The strategic pivot of Middle Eastern sovereign-wealth funds towards Chinese businesses indicates a diversification away from U.S.-centric investments.

As Middle Eastern capital becomes a critical alternative for Chinese companies, especially those cut off from the U.S. financial system, the U.S. will need to reassess its strategies in maintaining its influence and safeguarding its interests. Close ties between China and others is enhanced whether a country is receiving much needed loan funds, or whether a country is expecting China to pay back suck loans. Either way, the ties can be strong.