People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping is busily…reassuring…foreign business leaders, especially American chief executives, that

the country is working to improve its business environment.

Xi mustn’t be taken seriously in any of this.

The PRC’s national security law requires all PRC-domiciled businesses and their affiliates satisfy the nation’s intelligence community requests for information on any subject it deems useful for national security and to actively seek out that information—to conduct espionage if necessary—to obtain that information. That information gathering is far easier when the (foreign) target is present in the PRC.

Further PRC laws require foreign enterprises to partner with local enterprises (though the requirement for equal or majority control by the domestic enterprise has been lifted) and to facilitate technology and intellectual property transfer to the local enterprise as a condition prerequisite to doing any business within the PRC. If those transfers aren’t moving quickly enough to suit the government, the government’s hackers attempt to steal the data.

Yet further PRC laws require Communist Party of China apparatchiks present in those domestic partners to have access to the foreign partner, also.

Overarching all of that: the PRC is a nation that rules by law; it is not a nation that operates under rule of law tenets. As such, the laws by which the PRC operates are malleable and subject to the ephemeral whims of Xi and his Communist Party of China syndicate. That, though, is not unique to Xi, or to the PRC since 1949. Rule by law has been the position of the rulers of mainland China since the nation began coalescing out of the Warring States Period nearly two-and-a-quarter millennia ago.

If those American business heads, already showing excessive credulity by being present at the PRC’s China Development Forum and subsequent personal audience granted by Xi, allow themselves to be taken in by Xi’s blandishments at the audience, they’ll be showing themselves too credulous to be fit to manage their respective businesses.

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