Chinese Authorities Question Staff of US Consulting Firm Bain

Dorothy Li
By Dorothy Li
April 28, 2023China News

Chinese authorities questioned Bain & Co. employees in Shanghai, the company stated, less than a month after Chinese police detained staff and raided the office of another U.S. due diligence firm in Beijing.

A spokesperson of Bian told The Epoch Times on April 27 that “the Chinese authorities have questioned staff in our Shanghai office.”

“We are cooperating as appropriate with the Chinese authorities. At this time, we have no further comment,” the spokesperson said in an email.

The Financial Times, citing people familiar with the matter, reported on April 26 that Chinese police visited Bain’s Shanghai office two weeks ago and took away computers and phones but didn’t detain any staff, and the purpose of the visit was unclear.

According to the company’s website, Bain opened its office in the financial hub in 2004. It also runs offices in Beijing and Hong Kong.

The incident came after U.S. due diligence firm Mintz Group’s office in Beijing was raided by Chinese police in March. Authorities detained five Chinese nationals working for the company.

New York-based Mintz Group told Reuters on March 24 that it “has not received any official legal notice regarding a case against the company and has requested that the authorities release its employees.”

Days later, Mao Ning, spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters that Mintz Group “is suspected of illegal business operations.”

Mintz Group didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

The scrutiny of U.S. firms comes as the new Chinese Communist Party leadership tried to assure foreign businesses that China would continue to open up and welcome foreign investment.

“You are not foreigners, but family,” Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao told a business forum in March.

Attendees of the forum in Beijing included leaders from several multinational corporations, such as Apple CEO Tim Cook.

An annual survey by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in China published in March shows that, for the first time in 25 years, U.S. businesses no longer see China as the primary investment destination.

“Last year was particularly challenging for our member companies, as they dealt with China’s economic slowdown, zero-COVID control measures, and ongoing efforts to ensure compliance with various new U.S. and China-related regulations,” Colm Rafferty, chairman of AmCham China, told Reuters.

At a global economic forum on April 20, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen emphasized the need for constructive engagement between Beijing and Washington, noting that the current relationship “is clearly at a tense moment.”

“We are concerned about a recent uptick in coercive actions targeting U.S. firms, which comes at the same moment that China states that it is reopening for foreign investment,” Yellen told the audience at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.

From The Epoch Times

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