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Human Rights Abuses and Disappearances in China – What Businesses Need to Know

When it comes to business investments, ethical considerations are an important part of the process. But what happens when those ethical considerations include alleged human rights abuses and disappearances? That’s exactly the situation that billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates, Ray Dalio, found himself in recently when asked about his firm’s investments in China. His response was evasive, saying he couldn’t be an expert on those types of things and that Beijing behaves like a strict parent.

This response drew sharp criticism from Utah Senator Mitt Romney who called it a “sad moral lapse”. This is far from the only instance where businesses have had to confront questions about their involvement in China as human rights abuses have been well-documented there for some time now. The Chinese government has been accused of numerous violations including forced labor camps, extrajudicial killings, torture, surveillance, and other oppressive measures.

This is especially relevant today as China gears up to host the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics while many businesses are facing increased scrutiny due to their operations there. Most recently, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced they would suspend all tour events in China due to human rights concerns. It should also be noted that Bridgewater Associates recently raised $1.25 billion for its third fund in China meaning they are one of the biggest foreign private-fund managers there according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

So how do businesses navigate these complex ethical dilemmas? It starts by doing your research ahead of time and having conversations within your organization about potential ethical gray areas related to any potential business investments you may make. Additionally, companies must consider how their presence can impact local communities both positively and negatively. Ask yourself how your business practices may affect local workers or whether you will be supporting governments whose policies could violate basic human rights laws. Finally, it’s important for companies to monitor their progress once they are involved with a region or country so they can ensure they remain compliant with any laws or regulations related to human rights abuse prevention. By getting ahead of these issues before they become problematic you can help protect yourself and your company from any legal risks associated with investing in countries accused of such violations.

Overall, human rights abuses remain a major concern worldwide and require vigilance by businesses that seek to operate ethically and responsibly anywhere across the globe – especially those in countries long criticized for such violations such as China. Having open discussions around such topics beforehand can help ensure greater safety and security both for employees who may be sent overseas as well as citizens whose lives may be impacted by international business dealings involving their home turf.