What’s behind the Trump Administration’s meddling in China’s Foreign Direct Investment?

Written by S. Tameka Jones, CNN Beijing, China

“To comply with the wishes of the Australian people, I have instructed my foreign minister to make representations to the government of China to express my concern regarding the approval of foreign investment in Australia,” acting Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement.

China now has the option of appointing an ambassador to be assigned to the Australian embassy in Beijing, according to the Foreign Affairs Department.

Beijing-based artists Win Ping and his wife Hongwe from the group “9 x 69” wait for a security officer to pass by, on a police cordon outside Beijing Opera House, in the ancient part of Beijing, China, August 25, 2016. AFP/Getty Images/Andy Wong

“You always had to submit all aspects of your business with a presidential sign-off,” they wrote on their website. “From enterprises involved in sensitive industries to individuals who were deemed enemies of the state, you had to stick to government instructions if you wanted to do business in the Chinese capital.”

In 1981, Jia Qinglin, now the chairman of the powerful State Council’s Propaganda Department, oversaw the establishment of the State Council Beijing Office, creating a bureaucratic mechanism for business investors and acquisition projects to come into China

This is not the first time Australian authorities have stalled their foreign investments in China, following months of friction over a diplomatic note obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The note, not publicly released, called Australia a “rogue state” with unreliable environmental standards and practices.

At the time, Australia’s Foreign Affairs Department sought to distance itself from the national broadcaster’s work with Beijing, suggesting that it was a whistleblower, rather than the public broadcaster.

The Australian government now faces a new test of China’s economic power, according to the Daily Telegraph newspaper. China’s acquisition of national infrastructure in Australia has only exacerbated tensions.

Xinhua on Sept. 28, 2018 — A wall stands in front of China’s State Council Xinhua News Agency building on Aug. 29, 2018 in Beijing, China. The building is a trademark of the immense growth and resources invested by the Chinese government.

This summer the government of Premier Li Keqiang barred 72 foreign firms from bidding for government contracts in China in 2017, followed by an announcement that 20 foreign companies will not be able to bid in 2019.

This month the government published, in response to Hong Kong and Macau demands, new regulations on imposing political restrictions on commercial transactions. In the same week, the Hang Seng index fell its lowest level since 2009, leading to talk of a looming currency crisis.

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