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Corporate America Goes to China

U.S. corporations are hungry for revenues, and it is feeding time in China.

America’s leading corporations, from JPMorgan Chase to Nike, are hungry for a greater share of the market pie in China. Now that the Red Dragon has opened its mouth wide in the aftermath of the U.S.-China trade dispute, Corporate America is feasting on the billions of dollars up for grabs from the country’s growing middle class. But while the financially desperate Chinese Communist Party (CCP) welcomes foreigners to set up shop in Beijing, corporate leaders and prominent figures are groveling to the leadership. From apologies to self-censorship, businesses have abandoned self-respect to protect their bottom lines. And this is offering popcorn entertainment for conservatives back home.

Funny Like a Clown?

GettyImages-1136153560 Jamie Dimon

Jamie Dimon
(Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

JPMorgan Chase recently celebrated quite the occasion: 100 years since the financial institution first opened operations in China. But rather than enjoy the incredible accomplishment, CEO Jamie Dimon issued a statement that appeared more like he was captured by the Taliban and held at gunpoint to compliment the terrorists.

Speaking at the Boston College series of CEO interviews, Dimon committed the cardinal sin of making a joke at the expense of President Xi Jinping and his merry band of communists. He quipped that the bank would last longer than the century-old CCP. “I can’t say that in China. They are probably listening anyway,” he added.

But it was the apology that was far more hilarious. Dimon regretted his witticism and said he “should not have made that comment.” A spokesperson for JPMorgan noted that “Jamie made clear China and its people are very smart and very thoughtful.”

Free Enterprise Becomes LeBron James

If there were a single person to symbolize American fawning to Chinese masters, it would be NBA superstar LeBron James. Mr. “They Wasn’t Educated” is quick to comment on U.S. politics whenever his ideology is contradicted. Still, James has claimed ignorance on human rights violations in a significant market the basketball association is trying to exploit for profit. Other famous folks, including wrestler-turned-actor John Cena, have embraced this weakness, too.

Of course, this behavior — reminiscent of the Three Wise Monkeys — is par for the course for multi-billion-dollar, multi-national corporations trying to tap into another lucrative revenue stream.

Many international airlines have made plenty of border mistakes, listing Hong Kong and Taiwan as independent jurisdictions on their websites. This has repeatedly perturbed Beijing, forcing the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to send letters to these companies demanding corrections. Airlines have reacted.

Air New Zealand returned a flight destined for China after its paperwork noted Taiwan as “an independent country.” Delta Air Lines apologized for listing both Taiwan and Tibet as nations on its website. American Airlines “implemented changes to address China’s request” after referencing Taiwan as an independent country.

In 2019, McDonald’s revealed that it has “always supported the one-China policy and continues to uphold Chinese territorial sovereignty.” The fast-food juggernaut’s crime? The company featured a two-second clip of a student identification card that had Taiwan as a nation in an advertisement.

Perhaps the biggest embarrassment occurred to Marriott International. The hotel chain issued an “eight-point rectification plan” and fired an employee over a 2018 guest questionnaire that had Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Tibet identified as separate states. However, Marriott reassured a concerned public that it does not “support separatist groups that subvert the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.”

Others have been proactive by engaging in self-censorship. ESPN restricted its on-air talent from talking about Hong Kong protests. Video game giant Blizzard faced backlash after penalizing professional gamers’ political speech. Hollywood studios have also removed any reference to Taiwan or even criticism of the Chinese regime. Searchlight, a film studio owned by Disney, pushed magazine publication Filmmaker to eliminate a quote from Chinese director Chloe Zhao who accused China of “spreading lies everywhere.”

A Yuan-Sided Affair?

China needs capital, and America needs a market. But why does it seem like such a one-sided arrangement? Financial institutions, from BlackRock to Citi, are required to attain approvals and permits to establish investment funds and brokerage firms. Gap, Nike, and Zara have to pull apparel if they mistakenly offend the Chinese regime. U.S. technology firms must do whatever the government says to ensure they can operate in the country. The big brands want to champion progressivism, but they refuse to denounce actions that are antithetical to their supposed values.

In the comedy stylings of legendary comedian Jamie Dimon, the punchline in all of this is that these are woke establishments, attempting to appease the pink-haired mini-Maos in America for fear of becoming targets of scorn and rage in their TikTok videos. The corporate wokeologists routinely mollify the totalitarian instincts of the little authoritarians back home and the despots overseas in the name of the almighty yuan.

~ Read more from Andrew Moran.

Read More From Andrew Moran

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