Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates, on Wednesday defended the firm’s investments in China despite the government’s human rights abuses, saying China is entitled to have its own approach to governing.
Following a report by the Wall Street Journal that Bridgewater has raised the equivalent of $1.25 billion for its third investment fund in China, Dalio sidestepped questions about the ethics of investing in a country with a long list of alleged human rights abuses. While an estimated 1 million Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in the Xinjiang region are detained in the CCP’s concentration camps, the country has also recently come under fire over the recent disappearance of tennis star Peng Shuai after she accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault.
Asked during an appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box how he factors in these issues when it relates to investing in China, Dalio replied that he “can’t be an expert in those types of things.”
He noted that he invests all over the world and only pays attention to whether the “government has a certain policy that I should do a certain thing” when investing but that he “can’t be an expert on all of those particular dynamics.”
“What they have is an autocratic system and one of the leaders described it that the U.S. is a country of individuals and individualism…in China it is an extension of the family,” says @RayDalio. “As a top down country what they are doing is–they behave like a strict parent.” pic.twitter.com/MNZKMdtPy2
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) November 30, 2021
He called the human rights issues a “political” issue and compared the decision to invest in China with the decision to invest in the U.S.
“I look at the United States and I say, ‘Well, what’s going on in the United States and should I not invest in the United States because our own human rights issues and other things?’ and I’m not trying to make political comparisons,” he said. “I basically just trying to follow the rules understand whats going on and invest properly.”
Host Andrew Ross Sorkin pushed back, saying that while neither of them may agree with everything that happens in the U.S., that political disagreements are not the same as in China where the government is “disappearing people.”
Dalio then tried to offer “perspective” in noting that China is an “autocratic system.”
“One of the leaders described it that the U.S. is a country of individuals and individualism and that’s what its about,” Dalio said, adding that in China the government “is an extension of the family.”
“As a top down country what they are doing is they behave like a strict parent,” he added.
“That is their approach, we have our approach,” he said. “So the notion of whatever they’re doing in terms of calling in people and behaving in a certain way that’s their approach. If I evaluated all approaches around the world in all countries I’d be in a bind to try to find out where do I invest and so on.”
He added that it is not his “domain” and that he would “leave it to the government to make those decisions.”