At 1:25 a.m. on January 21st, Beijing time, shortly after 12 o’clock on January 20th local time in the United States, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a sanctions order, naming the Trump administration by name. 28 people including Pompeo imposed sanctions.
This is a relatively rare move.
In the past, China’s sanctions on American personnel rarely listed the names of specific personnel, and this time the sanctions target reached 28 people. In terms of scale, it is also rare in the past.
However, after the promulgation of this sanctions order, there were still people who said coldly, meaning that it would be difficult for these 28 former U.S. officials to “effectively kill” the sanctions. In other words, this sanction order does not hurt the opponent.
Is it really so?
Judging from the timing of the announcement of the sanctions, at 12 o’clock on January 20th, local time, Biden was sworn in as the new president of the United States, and the Trump administration’s term officially ended at this moment. Therefore, when the sanction order was issued, those sanctioned targets on the list were already “former government officials.”
In other words, at this time they become ordinary American citizens. China’s sanctions will not affect the relationship between the Chinese and American governments.
Let’s look at the statement in the sanction order:
In the past few years, some anti-China politicians in the United States, out of their own political self-interest and prejudice and hatred towards China, have planned and promoted a series of crazy actions in disregard of the interests of the Chinese and American peoples, seriously interfering in China’s internal affairs and harming China’s interests.
It hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and severely damaged Sino-US relations. The Chinese government is unwavering in its determination to defend its national sovereignty, security and development interests.
This actually lists the main reasons for sanctioning these US personnel. It is because they did these things that they were included in this sanctions list.
China has decided to impose sanctions on 28 people who have seriously violated China’s sovereignty and are primarily responsible for China-related issues, including Pompeo, Navarro, O’Brien, Starwell, Pottinger in the Trump administration. Zha, Kraqi, Kraft, Bolton, Bannon, etc.
Here is a characterization for these 28 people: they have seriously violated China’s sovereignty on China-related issues, or are primarily responsible.
These people and their families have been prohibited from entering the mainland of China, Hong Kong and Macau.
They and their affiliated companies and institutions have also been restricted from dealing with and doing business with China.
This clearly sets out the sanctions against these 28 people and in what ways they will be sanctioned.
It can be seen that the sanctions against these 28 people demonstrate our determination to defend our national sovereignty, security and development interests.
Moreover, these people will soon enter some American companies and institutions after they step down, but they have not had time to announce the news of hiring them for positions (some of them may have found a way out for themselves).
But Beijing’s announcement of sanctions at this point in time will obviously make them feel the pain immediately. Because, some companies or institutions may have to say goodbye to him (her).
If this sanction order is announced in advance, on the one hand it may make these people more frantic and provocative at the “last moment”, and on the other hand, the effect of the sanctions may not be so obvious, so that they will be prepared to find other companies willing to hire them after they step down Or institutions.
Who are the remaining 18 people on this sanctions list?
Regarding this question, at the regular press conference of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 21st, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying responded with one sentence on the same day: Who else did bad things? They themselves know very well.
Can this sanctions order hurt these former high-ranking officials of the US government?
To clarify this issue, we must first understand how they used China as a “big market” to make profits.
The first way is speech and endorsement.
After the former U.S. politicians stepped down, they were most familiar with China’s “fishing for gold”, and they are most familiar with coming to China to participate in commercial speeches and dinners. If you are participating in a commercial event, the general appearance fee is quite high.
For example, former US President Clinton went to Shenzhen to participate in the opening ceremony of a coastal real estate in 2002, and in 2003 he went to Chengdu to endorse the liquor brand “Jiannanchun”. According to media reports at the time, Clinton was worth 1.4 million US dollars.
In addition to him, former Secretary of State Powell and Albright are $1 million; former Vice President Al Gore is $800,000.
Generally, there will be specialized brokerage companies and brokers, agents for the contact and conference business of both parties, communication costs and itinerary arrangements.
For example, a Chinese company operating related businesses wrote on its official website, “Invite foreign leaders to give speeches in countries around the world, participate in round tables, visit companies, attend press conferences, dinners, celebrations, opening ceremonies, launch ceremonies, and brand activities.
Or serve as the general counsel of the company, or set up a personal foundation to participate in the operation of major commercial projects”, “create a world-class circle of friends for partners”.
In 2017, Bannon, who had just been fired by Trump for a few weeks, was invited by a Hong Kong company to speak at an investor conference and reportedly made 300,000 US dollars in one trip.
Before his speech, Bannon was also arranged to have lunch with a small group of hedge fund managers and investors.
The second way is to do business or be a consultant.
Compared with speeches, directly operating trading and consulting companies that have relations with China, or serving as policy and legal advisors to large companies, are the directions that more former US politicians choose.
For example, after Bush’s Deputy Secretary of Commerce Revankay stepped down, he opened a trading company called Export Now to provide a one-stop service of package storage, export, customs declaration, and marketing to American small and medium-sized enterprises. The company entered the Chinese market and opened a store on Tmall.
The official website of Export Now introduces the rapid development of China’s digital economy.
For another example, the Cohen Consulting Company, founded by US Secretary of Defense Cohen during the Clinton administration, has offices in Beijing and Tianjin.
Former Deputy Secretary of State Mark Grossman, Nicholas Burns, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, former U.S. Coast Guard Commander James Lloyd, and former Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army Armament Command Paul Kelln are all here. Company appointment.
Former politicians also have natural advantages in using their contacts in Washington and their relationship with China to engage in related consulting, public relations and lobbying work.
The former President’s National Security Affairs Assistant O’Brien, who was on the sanctions list, had previously served as the managing partner of the US law firm Arent Fox LLP for 7 years.
The China business page of Arent Fox’s official website states, “We provide consulting for Chinese companies that want to do business in the United States or American companies that do business in China.
We have a team of experienced lawyers.” “Able to speak fluent Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), has a good knowledge of local business practices”, “has a good positioning in major cities in the United States”, and “helps customers to circumvent US laws in complex litigation according to their needs.”
Arent Fox’s China business page, the background is Beijing International Trade China Zun.
In addition, as the world’s financial center, the United States has thousands of registered companies in Hong Kong, and almost all large companies have business dealings with Hong Kong.
The sanctions have obviously hit Bannon and others on Hong Kong-related activities even more.
Judging from the backgrounds of the 10 people already listed, they can be divided into three categories:
In the first category, Pompeo is the Trump administration’s secretary of state, O’Brien is the Trump administration’s national security adviser, Bolton is the China hawks and O’Brien’s predecessor, and they are responsible for the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive policy against China.
The second category is due to frequent provocations on the Taiwan issue.
For example, Azza, Kraqi, and Kraft have repeatedly spoken out to “stand up to Taiwan”, and even “visit Taiwan” despite Beijing’s warnings.
The third category is to discredit the Chinese epidemic, attack the CCP, and instigate a big trade stick policy against China.
For example, Navarro, Stawell (as Assistant Secretary of State in the Trump Administration), Pottinger, and Bannon.
Specific to these 10 people, the sanctions this time can actually hurt them.
Pompeo and his wife had a very close relationship with the Koch Group, and before Pompeo became a member of the House of Representatives, the Koch Group also invested US$90 million in Pompeo’s small companies.
Therefore, after Pompeo stepped down as Koch Group It is difficult for the group to keep Pompeo anymore.
From 2012 to 2017, Aza served as the president of the US branch of Eli Lilly and the chairman of the board of directors of the pharmaceutical lobby group Biotechnology Innovation Organization.
Sanctions may make it difficult for him to return to the business world.
Krach was also the youngest Vice President of General Motors in history.
The sanctions made it difficult for companies such as General Motors, which have many commercial interests in China, to say welcome to him.
It is said that Kraft’s husband also has certain business interests in China.
According to US media investigations, he has trade representative offices in Chengdu, Wuhan and Zhengzhou.
The New York Times estimates that if China’s sanctions are fully implemented. For these 28 officials alone, their annual losses are roughly estimated to be no less than US$3 billion.
It is estimated that few American companies dare to hire these 28 people under the Chinese sanctions. This is tantamount to cutting off the reemployment of 28 people and cutting off their financial resources.
Liang Haiming, a Hong Kong economist and director of the Silk Road Intelligence Valley Research Institute, told Brother Dao that the practice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will allow current US officials to consider whether their government work can be done for a lifetime when considering policies toward China.
If they can’t do it for a lifetime, after they leave the government, can they and their families stay away from China for a lifetime?
Liang Haiming believes that if politicians from countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada continue to oppose China, they believe that such sanctions will be their turn sooner or later.
Such sanctions have specific practical significance, and the most important thing is that these people, their family members, and their affiliated companies cannot produce related businesses with China.
In other words, their money path with China has been cut off. As the second largest economy in the world, China is the largest trading partner of most countries in the world.
This means that most multinational companies do not want to be sanctioned by China, so they will be very cautious and do not have a relationship with the 28 sanctioned people. contacts.
Liang Haiming said to Brother Dao that the special regulations that sanctioned personnel and their families are not allowed to do business with Hong Kong and Macau on the one hand show that US politicians have interfered with Hong Kong affairs in recent years and have continuously introduced sanctions and reciprocal countermeasures, making them responsible for the deterioration of Sino-US relations.
On the other hand, such sanctions will actually affect the handling of Hong Kong-related issues in the current US government’s China policy.
More importantly, this also sends a clear signal that anti-China politicians in Western countries will eventually be sanctioned by China if they continue their anti-China behavior.