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China trying to censor US banks ahead of Communist Party meeting: WSJ report

China's President Xi Jinping. (Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/Abaca Press/TNS)
October 03, 2022

Chinese government regulators reportedly reached out to multiple U.S. banking institutions and advised them to avoid discussing topics that are politically sensitive in China ahead of a major Chinese Communist Party (CCP) meeting this month.

The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) recently sent an advisory to major investment institutions operating in the country. The advisory told these investors to avoid commenting on politically sensitive topics.

The advisory comes out ahead of the 20th National Congress of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a twice-in-a-decade meeting that will set the agenda for the Chinese government for years to come.

Among those the CSRC reportedly contacted were Chinese branches of major U.S. investment firms like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The report comes at a time when major U.S. multinational firms have sought to expand into China, which is the world’s second largest market and could overtake the U.S. in the coming years. These major U.S. firms that have expanded into China have had to balance their financial interests against China’s strict regulations, including on issues of free speech.

The NBA has repeatedly stepped into controversy, trying to reign in speech from coaches, players and even fans that risks upsetting China.

According to insiders, the CSRC advisory was circulated throughout JPMorgan’s Asia-based private banking operations during an internal meeting of research strategists.

China’s efforts to control speech and conceal dissent have been especially heightened with the upcoming CCP conference. Chinese censors have been tightening speech restrictions for months ahead of the conference. CCP censors have even a fictional movies off of streaming services to avoid offending the CCP at this sensitive time.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has also kept a low profile during this period of strict information control, sparking rumors of a coup.

Responding to the Wall Street Journal about the advisory, the CSRC flatly denied the reporting and asked the U.S. publication to avoid mentioning it.

“The content of your inquiry is not true, please do not spread it,” the Chinese government agency said.

As the great power competition between the U.S. and China continues to grow, major U.S. multinational firms like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase & Co. will likely face increasing pressure to either side with U.S. principals or acquiesce to Chinese censors.