During a recent CNN town hall event, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked by host Anderson Cooper if he considered China’s President Xi Jinping to be a dictator. The question stemmed from an interview last year in which Bloomberg said Xi “is not a dictator” and that his regime has “the will of the majority of its people.”
Bloomberg’s response was less than reassuring.
“It’s a question of what is a dictator,” he began. “They don’t have a democracy in the sense that they have general elections. That is true.”
“They do have a system where a small group of people appoint the head. And they turn over periodically,” he argued. “There have been a number of people who have had the same position as Xi Jinping has.”
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“I think the question is if your definition is a democracy where people vote and pick their leaders, that is not what China’s about,” he went on, adding, “And they don’t seem to want it. They like their system.”
Challenging the communist government can result in torture, arbitrary detention, and death, yet the idea that Chinese people might accept it out of fear rather than affection apparently hasn’t occurred to Bloomberg;
The citizens of Hong Kong certainly aren’t interested in living under the communist system, with thousands protesting for months after lawmakers proposed legislation that would have allowed the extradition of residents to mainland China.
Many were seen carrying American flags and pictures of President Trump. That’s probably because unlike Bloomberg, Trump has stood up to Beijing: last November, he signed two bills committing the US to conducting an annual review of Hong Kong’s autonomy.
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Bloomberg also doesn’t show much concern about the economic threat that the Chinese state poses to Americans. A 2018 report by the US Trade Representative estimated that its intellectual property theft is worth between $225 and $600 billion dollars annually, with American workers paying the price. But rather than take China on, Bloomberg told Cooper that “we should get used to the fact that China is gong to keep growing and become stronger.”
Simply put, it's hard to understand why the billionaire mogul would say these things...until you look at his business dealings.
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Bloomberg's media and financial data empire is heavily involved in China, and it was dealt a serious blow in 2012 when the government retaliated for a negative story on then Vice President Xi Jinping. As a result, state-owned businesses subsequently banned the use of Bloomberg’s data tracking terminals. The ban was only lifted after Bloomberg wrote a friendly op-ed in the communist People’s Daily newspaper.
It's not clear whether Michael Bloomberg genuinely believes that the Chinese people are happy living under communist rulers. Something that is clear? America's president shouldn't be singing their praises.
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