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Lessons From Russia: China Tells Elites to Shed Overseas Assets

Hypothetical attack points from China to Taiwan (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)
Hypothetical attack points from China to Taiwan (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)

The Chinese Communist Party is telling its elites to sell off their overseas assets in light of the sanctions imposed on Russia’s elites following the invasion of Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The order, which was issued the month after Russia invaded Ukraine, calls on top-level regime officials, their spouses, and their children to shed real estate and shares in entities held overseas.

The Journal reported that the directive is part of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s efforts to protect party officials from the same types of sanctions to which Russian elites have been exposed. The United States and European countries have seized and frozen billions of dollars in Russian elites’ assets, including real estate, boats, and helicopters.

Insulating Chinese officials from sanctions would protect the regime from blowback should it invade Taiwan. Republican lawmakers warned this week that the threat of an invasion is heightened, with Chinese officials “considering ‘armed reunification’ of Taiwan more seriously than at any time in the last five decades.”

Xi in July 2021 called for “complete reunification” with Taiwan and said China would “smash” efforts in support of Taiwanese independence.

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