Did China Just Give Donald Trump the Middle Finger?

TPG via ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

China has announced that it’s opening up its financial sector to foreign ownership:

The relaxation in the securities industry potentially paves the way for Wall Street investment banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase to increase their presence in China’s hard-to-crack domestic market….China will allow foreign companies to hold 51% of domestic-securities firms….The country will also remove caps for foreign stakes in Chinese banks….The government also will allow 51% foreign ownership in Chinese life-insurance companies in three years and lift that restriction entirely in five years.

That’s all well and good, but here’s the part that puzzles me:

China took a major step in opening up its financial sector, announcing a relaxation of restrictions on foreign ownership in the securities and banking sectors just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump concluded his visit to Beijing.

I’m no China tea-leaf reader, but was this calculated? Did China deliberately wait until Trump was gone so that he couldn’t hold a joint appearance with Xi Jinping crowing about it? Did the American team even know this was coming? So far, Trump has tweeted nothing about it.

Or was the timing related to domestic politics, with Xi not wanting it to look like this happened due to American pressure? But if that was the case, why not wait a few weeks so there’s not even a question about the timing?

Are there any thoughtful China watchers out there who care to chime in on this? It sure looks like a calculated slight to me, but what do I know?

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate