US lawmakers recently criticized bank executives for attending the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit in Hong Kong. While Citigroup's Jane Fraser pulled out after testing positive for Covid, Goldman Sachs' David Solomon, Blackstone's Jonathan Gray, Morgan Stanley's James Gorman, and many others made the trip.
The business leaders were rebuked for “rubbing shoulders” with alleged terrorists and other individuals on the US sanctions list. “Their presence only served to legitimize the swift dismantling of Hong Kong’s autonomy, free press, and the rule of law by Hong Kong authorities acting along with the Chinese Communist Party,” the lawmakers said.
Representative Jim McGovern took to Twitter to call on “big-bank” leaders to cancel their visit to Hong Kong to no avail. He said that “billionaire corporations needed to be called out.”
According to the Hong Kong Democracy Council, the attendance of the Wall Street execs “whitewashed” Hong Kong’s actions while giving “political cover” to Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Kachin.
In July 2021, the U. S government issued a business advisory cautioning companies doing business in Hong Kong to heed sanctions, after a new law in mainland China promised to punish companies that do enforce sanctions. The government warned that failure to comply with the sanctions could result in civil and criminal penalties under US law. It also noted that US individuals and entities are prohibited from engaging in certain transactions with sanctioned persons, unless they get a license to do so.