“Big Chinese tech stocks lost hundreds of billions of dollars in combined market value in July, reflecting rising investor concern about how the sector will fare under a barrage of regulatory pressure from Beijing,” the Wall Street Journal reported last week. “A large number of companies, including Alibaba, Baidu Inc. and JD.com Inc., have both Hong Kong shares and American depositary receipts.”
In February 2020, the Globe reported that Indiana Rep. Jim Banks sent California Gov. Gavin Newsom a letter calling for the investigation of the Chief Investment Officer Yu Ben Meng of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest public pension fund in the nation, for his “long and cozy relationship with China.”
“The fund [CalPERS] has invested $3.1 billion in Chinese companies, some of which have been blacklisted by the U.S. government,” Banks told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo in an interview.
“We learned that Mr. Meng, who is the chief investment officer of CalPERS, was actually recruited to this position by the [Chinese Communist Party] through something called the Thousand Talents Program,” Banks said. “Now he’s denied it.”
A 2017 article in the Chinese newspaper Society People, reported Meng was then recruited to the position at SAFE by Beijing’s Thousand Talents Program, which provides funding to U.S. citizens in exchange for information. Meng left CalPERS, and then came back.
In addition to the $360 billion in CalPERS assets, Rep. Banks said in his letter that the public employee pension fund has a notable history of “shareholder activism.”
The Globe did several follow up articles including when then-President Trump ordered all U.S. retirement funds to be pulled from Chinese investments.
Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that American investors are asking whether China Inc. is still worth the risk following a widening series of regulatory crackdowns that have wiped some $400 billion off the value of U.S.-listed Chinese companies.
Instead of investing in American companies, Investment Officers like Yu Ben Meng were investing pension funds in Chinese Communist Party high-tech companies.
The Wall Street Journal explains what happened:
“Beijing’s decision last week to curtail the operations of China’s for-profit tutoring industry along with its ongoing campaign to rein in tech companies. The moves fueled large declines across sectors of China’s stock markets and hammered Asia-focused funds stateside.
The investor retreat sent tutoring firm TAL Education Group’s TAL -8.08% American depositary receipts down some 70% in a matter of days to $6.19 Friday morning. TAL traded above $90 in February. American depositary receipts, or ADRs, are certificates issued to U.S. investors that represent a specified number of shares in a foreign company.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned in 2020, “California’s investment fund is invested in companies that supply the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that puts our soldiers, sailors, Airmen and Marines at risk.”
In his letter to Gov. Newsom Rep. Banks said, “CalPERS 2018-2019 report confirms the Secretary’s statement.”
In a Tweet, Banks wrote:
.@GovernorNewsom, please explain why someone recruited by a Chinese org described by FBI as a “non-traditional espionage” program is making investment decisions for CalPERS. Also US dollars should never be funding Chinese military or oppression of Uighurs!https://t.co/EkzF4cQMg4
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) February 13, 2020
Instead of a response from Gov. Newsom, CalPERS created a brand new “fact sheet” about their investments, including, “CalPERS has been investing in China for decades.” It is common knowledge that CalPERS does make investments based on policy and politics. CalPERS has divested from Israel and tobacco to name a few.
Now that the United States has lost more than $400 billion in American public pension funds, how do we make that up?
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