The CEOs of Bank of America and Citi Bank dodged questions about the Chinese Communist Party’s genocide against Uyghur Muslims in a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday.
“According to the State Department’s 2021 report, genocide and crimes against humanity occurred in China last year,” Republican Missouri Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer said. “Those crimes include arbitrary and unlawful killings by the government, arbitrary imprisonment, forced sterilization, rape, and torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained.”
“Mr. Moynihan, do you condemn the Chinese Communist Party for these horrible acts that they regularly carry out?” Luetkemeyer directly asked the CEO of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan. (RELATED: China Tells Europe To Ramp Up Climate Efforts While Hoarding Fossil Fuels)
“We look at any client we do business with, to their operations in any matter and we make that decision,” Moynihan replied. “So the governmental condemnation isn’t the important thing of who we do business with China it’s actually the company that we underwrite.”
When asked point blank if they condemn the CCP for murder, arbitrary imprisonment, forced sterilization, rape & torture of its citizens, they refused to do so. pic.twitter.com/KPnhxqoMDx
— Blaine Luetkemeyer (@RepBlaine) September 21, 2022
Luetkemeyer then said that the government of China and the Chinese Communist Party were one and the same, and that atrocities committed by the CCP were effectively condoned by the Chinese government.
“We don’t do business with companies that we believe are doing atrocities or something like that, you’re asking a hypothetical question,” Moynihan replied.
“We obviously take any accusations of human rights abuses very very seriously,” Citi Bank CEO Jane Fraser said when Leutkemeyer directed the same question to her. “And similar to Mr. Moynihan we do not do any activity with companies that are involved with forced labor.”
“It’s ok to do business with the government?” Luetkemeyer pressed her.
“We do do business with the Chinese government,” Fraser confirmed.
Bank of America sought approval to set up a securities firm in China in November 2021. Citi Bank also launched securities investment fund custody services in China, following approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), in July of that same year.
Wall Street CEOs have faced criticism for what some see as a too soft stance towards China. The massive financial firm BlackRock, however, has made it a priority to encourage clients to invest more in Chinese assets.
“We stand by our strategic preference for Chinese assets,” the firm said in 2021.