Is George Soros turning against China?

George Soros shocked numerous political observers by penning an article for the Financial Times titled “Investors in Xi’s China face a rude awakening” on August 30, 2021. From the jump, the billionaire investor claims that China’s leader Xi Jinping “has collided with economic reality” citing the Chinese government’s tough measures on private enterprise. 

Soros also pointed to China’s housing sector as one area of China’s economy that is set to blow up. China’s housing sector has boomed in the last two decades. Soros alluded to the case of Evergrande, China’s largest real estate company, which has accumulated alarming levels of debt and could potentially default on its debt. Should this default occur, China would experience a devastating economic crash. 

In the article, Soros claims that China’s birth rate is much lower than statistics demonstrate. He asserted that “The officially reported figure overstates the population by a significant amount. Xi inherited these demographics, but his attempts to change them have made matters worse.” 

Soros also went off on the Chinese government’s decisions to clamp down on tutoring services and taking a “stake and a board seat in TikTok owner ByteDance in April.” Overall, Soros is getting annoyed by China’s more authoritarian pivot to nationalism.

The billionaire investor is one of the strongest exponents of neoliberalism and using his non-profit organizations to reshape foreign countries along his radically liberal vision. Soros gained fame by funding and organizing anti-Soviet activist groups during the waning years of the Cold War.

China is likely wary of outside influence and is no longer fully sold on the 90s style neoliberal integration model that stresses the freedom of movement and capital across. The latter is likely disconcerting to Chinese elites who don’t like the idea of competing power bases emerging  among its capitalist classes.

China is still a highly centralized society where the government views itself as the primary locus of power. This is well-established throughout its history. Widening wealth inequality and corruption have become a challenge for the CCP. The entire value proposition of the CCP’s tutelage over China is its ability to promote public order and command an economy that continues to grow at a steady clip.

Soros has gone on record declaring that Xi Jinping’s China is “most dangerous” to free societies. This is the example of a neoliberal Frankenstein monster (China) becoming self-conscious and realizing it no longer needs its master (internationalist institutions that are convinced that it will liberalize through free trade), thus asserting itself on the international stage in a manner that ruffles the feathers of Soros and his globalist cabal.

The global integration model of the post-Cold War era has run its course. Now, we’re reverting back to the cold, hard era of geopolitical maneuvering — the natural state of affairs prior to World War II. To be sure, China poses a strategic challenge to the US but not in the ways many pundits approach it. For example, China’s threat tends to be more unconventional in how it uses its legal migrants to infiltrate universities and corporations to extract trade secrets and sensitive information. Similarly, regime-connected oligarchs are notorious for buying up large properties throughout North America, thereby expanding China’s influence in North America.

Sober policymakers would establish red lines on China’s questionable trade record and also severely limit the migration of its nationals to the US. Outside of that, the
US should not be overzealous about re-engineering China into a liberal democracy the way Soros wants to — usually in the form of Color Revolutions. In addition, the US should not go into great power crusading mode to confront China. There are plenty of countries in the region — South Korea, Japan, India, Vietnam, among others — who can check China if it gets too overzealous in its expansionist efforts. In the case of Japan, the US should allow it to fully remilitarize and go nuclear in order to balance against China. 

Overall, the US should limit China geo-economically and in terms of migration policy, but it should avoid taking the Soros and neocon approach against it as much as possible.