AkademikerPension, a pension fund in Denmark, has announced that it is axing investments in China over human rights violations. The pension fund for academics says that it will get rid of both Chinese equities and government bonds by divesting about 400 million Danish kroner (€54 million) in investments by the year-end.
Besides human rights violations committed by the Chinese Community Party, the pension fund also cited several other reasons for it to call for a countrywide blacklisting. Some of the reasons stated by the fund included the passage of the new draconian security law in Hong Kong, forced detention of over 1 million Uighur Muslims at internment camps across restive Chinese province of Xinjiang, and systematic persecution of minorities and political opponents.
China was under the watch of the pension fund since the last 12 months: AkademikerPension CEO
The CEO of the pension fund, Jens Munch Holst, said that decision to divest from China was being deliberated among the executives since the last 12 months. “The situation in these last 12 months have deteriorated even further. It is a well-known fact that China systematically suppresses dissenting voices and violates human rights. We can no longer neglect their gross iniquities,” he said.
Mr Holst also added that his pension fund has developed a new mechanism that allows executives to divest “without profoundly affecting their internal investment procedures”, and it has therefore decided to terminate their investments in China.
“Our intention to raise our social profile when it comes to accountability. Our pension fund’s vision is that return and accountability must go hand in hand, and when we talk about accountability, it is difficult to argue in favour of investments in China,” Mr Holst said.
This is not the first time that AkademikerPension will drop a country from its portfolio. The fund has so far excluded 36 countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran. Though it revises its list once a year, an exception was made when it excluded China outside of its regular schedule.
China facing severe criticism for its poor human rights record in Xinjiang and the new sweeping security law in Hong Kong
China is facing a global condemnation after several reports pointed towards Beijing’s horrific campaign of brutality against the Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang. Recently a report published by Australian Think Tank revealed that China levelled more than 16,000 mosques in Xinjiang, in a bid to destroy the religious and cultural heritage of its Muslim minorities.
China has also drawn flak for imposing a sweeping new security law on Hong Kong, that reduces the autonomy of the city and grants Beijing broad powers to crack down on a variety of political crimes, especially to curtail pro-democracy protests that had roiled the city last year.