Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg refused to call Chinese President Xi Jinping a dictator during the 10th round of Democratic debates in Charleston, South Carolina, Tuesday night.
In the past, Bloomberg said Xi Jinping is not a dictator and that he is responsive to the Chinese people. He also said the United States must cooperate with Beijing. Bloomberg doubled down on this opinion during the debates.
“[The Chinese government’s] human rights record is abominable, and we should make a fuss, which we’ve been doing, I suppose. But we, make no mistake about it, we have to deal with China if we’re ever going to solve the climate crisis,” Bloomberg said. “We have to deal with them because our economies are inextricably linked. We would not be able to sell or buy the products that we need. And, in terms of whether he’s a dictator, he does serve at the behest of … their group of people. But, there’s no question he has an enormous amount of power — but he does play to his constituency. You can negotiate with him.”
Michael Bloomberg doubles down on refusing to call Xi Jinping a dictator pic.twitter.com/JtHl1M7oQv
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) February 26, 2020
Bloomberg LP has financial interests in China. According to the Washington Post, “[M]ainland China accounts for 1 percent of Bloomberg LP’s revenue and Hong Kong for another 4 percent. Overall, Bloomberg LP’s $10 billion in annual revenue far surpasses that of the Trump Organization, which was at least $435 million in 2018, according to Trump’s financial disclosure.”
Even amid the outbreak of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Bloomberg continues to defend Beijing in claiming Xi is not a dictator, despite the human rights atrocities and mass imprisonment of Muslim minorities happening under Xi’s authority.