WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today asked BlackRock CEO Larry Fink to stop aiding and abetting human rights abuses and national security risks associated by including Chinese companies in BlackRock’s iShares Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). BlackRock, which is the world’s largest asset manager, surprisingly recommended earlier this year that investors triple their allocations in Chinese assets.
CPA’s letter states that several of BlackRock’s financial products contain Chinese companies that are officially recognized human rights abusers that have been placed on the Department of Commerce’s Entity List. BlackRock’s funds include other companies that are helping modernize and equip the People’s Liberation Army or assisting the growth of Chairman Xi’s surveillance technology outside of China or to repress minority populations inside China. Those companies are on the Department of the Treasury’s Non SDN-Chinese Military Industrial Complex (NS-CMIC) list.
“Our review of the holdings (as of October 31, 2021) of the iShares ESG Aware MSCI EM ETF (ESGE), iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG), iShares MSCI China ETF (MCHI), and iShares MSCI China A ETF (CNYA) products found that these funds are currently holding the securities of eight companies that have been placed on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Entity List for egregious human rights abuses, as well as three companies that are on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Non-SDN Chinese Military Industrial Complex Companies (CMIC) List for their involvement in China’s military and surveillance sectors. We have highlighted the risk profiles of four of these companies in the attached Appendix.
“By purchasing shares in these ETFs, American retail and institutional investors are exposed to a wide range of publicly traded Chinese companies that are involved in activities that are contrary to U.S. national and economic security interests and human rights values. A number of these companies are also under U.S. economic sanctions and export controls because they pose a direct risk to U.S. national security and are facilitating the strategic agenda of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), including the modernization of the People’s Liberation Army and Navy and China’s ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
“MSCI’s criteria, and those of other index providers, to evaluate companies listed in its products fails to consider material risks posed to U.S. national security, sanctions regimes, and human rights violations. These gaps in oversight and due diligence make BlackRock’s iShares investment products the conduit for millions of unwitting American retail investors – including through pension funds managed by BlackRock – to fund Chinese companies that are officially recognized as actively undermining the U.S. security interests, our nation’s fundamental values and American companies and workers.”
Read CPA’s full letter here.