GT Voice: Opening-up efforts counter groundless Western smears
Published: Nov 05, 2023 10:02 PM
The skyline of Lujiazui in Shanghai Photo: CFP

The skyline of Lujiazui in Shanghai Photo: CFP

Recently, some Western media outlets have been running reports about "foreign capital leaving China" and China's "ongoing crackdown on foreign businesses" under a so-called counter-espionage campaign, which represents a new attempt to smear China's economy. However, it has been proven many times that while some Westerners try to contain China's development and push for "decoupling" from China, it is ultimately the Western rhetoric, not China's economy, that will fail.

Bloomberg said in a recent report that US fund giant Vanguard Group is taking steps to exit China and shut down its office in the 29 trillion yuan ($4 trillion) mutual fund market. It will be regrettable if Bloomberg's report is true. However, it's important to note that individual cases cannot represent the overall status of all foreign companies doing business in China. Some Westerners are attributing individual companies' poor operations to China's economy and its counter-espionage efforts. This is a malicious attack and a smear on the Chinese economy.

Yes, some foreign companies have chosen to withdraw from China. In a market economy, supply and demand determine the allocation of resources and enterprises' investment decisions. As a result, investment and divestment are normal economic choices. As long as the withdrawal of foreign capital from China does not trigger a systemic upheaval, there is no need to be concerned. 

Anyone with basic knowledge of the economy can understand the logic behind it, but some Westerners deliberately hype the rhetoric of "foreign capital leaving China." The only possible explanation is that they are trying to smear China by maliciously falsifying the truth, and push for "decoupling" from the Chinese economy.

Concerns of "foreign capital leaving China" are largely played up and inflated by US-led Western media outlets. Zhang Xin, spokesperson of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, told a press conference in October that China's market remains attractive to foreign firms, citing a survey that found more than 80 percent of foreign-funded enterprises in China were satisfied with the business environment during the third quarter.

China's stable economic recovery and a proactive opening-up strategy have brought confidence to foreign enterprises. With the rise of China's economic size and international influence, China has continuously promoted high-level opening-up to the world. China's door will not be closed, but instead will open wider.  

The 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE), the world's biggest import fair, kicked off in Shanghai on Sunday, with more than 3,400 global exhibitors gathering at the expo. For many exhibitors, this is not their first time participating in the CIIE. If they don't have confidence in the Chinese market, why have these multinational companies repeatedly attended the CIIE? The fair underlines China's unwavering determination to advance high-level opening-up.

As the largest trading country in the world, China has embraced wider opening-up, providing an ultra-large consumer market and injecting confidence and certainty into the global economy. The world economy is currently experiencing a downturn with no signs of improvement. Only free trade and globalization can steer the global economy out of this difficulty.

However, some countries have repeatedly adopted unilateral policies in an attempt to revitalize their own economies and suppress competitors in a zero-sum game. If there are Westerners hoping to use a trade war to contain China's high-tech development and expecting China to sit idly by despite the harm to its economy, it can only be said that they are arrogant and naive.

Amid a highly complicated environment, it is necessary for China to ensure its economic security. Such an effort should not be misunderstood as suppressing foreign investment. There is no inherent contradiction between counter-espionage efforts and maintaining an open economy.

Attempts to contain China's high-tech industries will only strengthen our determination to accelerate independent innovation and further promote high-level opening-up to attract more friends from around the world. The West's groundless smears against China won't hinder China's attractiveness to foreign investment.