Some foreign finance execs in China spending nearly a third of their working time studying ‘Xi Thought,’ report says

Students display the flag of the Communist Part of China

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The study of ‘Xi Jinpeng Thought’ in state-owned Chinese companies has been mandated.The CCP is seeking to ensure ideological loyalty in the face of economic headwinds.But now employees of foreign firms are being pulled into the ‘study sessions’ as well. 

Employees of the global finance firm Blackrock, together with other bankers and business leaders in China, are spending up to a third of their time attending lectures on ‘Xi Jinping Thought’, per Bloomberg.

Study sessions have now become mandatory for many employees at non-state-owned companies, and those with foreign staff and global offices are being pulled in as well.

In June, employees of financial firms Franklin Templeton and BlackRock were ordered to attend a lecture on sticking to the party’s leadership in the industry, Bloomberg reported. Some have reported having to join activities or courses, or read four books written by Xi every month.

First published in 2017, Xi Jinping thought lays out 14 principles by which China will prosper. It follows a pattern of Chinese leaders building on the original Marxist-Leninist teachings. Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin all introduced their own revised teachings on the theory that underpins China’s communist political system.

But Beijing’s promotion of the doctrine fits into the shift towards prioritising ideology to maintain the party’s grip on power as economic pressures have mounted.

China’s President Xi Jinping

Lintao Zhang

In addition to the pressure to study of Xi’s doctrine, new laws have limited international banks’ abilities to operate as normal in China.

Amendments to the country’s counter-espionage laws have hindered typical business practices including gathering information on local markets, potential partners, and competitors, as well as accurate reporting to investors and regulators.

In March, Deloitte was fined $31 million after an official investigation found ‘serious deficiencies’ in its audit of a state-owned debt management firm, per The FT.

Meanwhile, China’s foreign relations law makes clear that foreign nationals will not be exempt from China’s increasing control over private business. “Foreigners and foreign organisations in mainland China shall comply with Chinese law and must not endanger China’s national security, harm the societal public interest, or undermine societal public order,'” the law states, per The FT

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