Authored by Dorothy Li via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Michael Bloomberg, chair of the Pentagon’s advisory panel, apologized to attendees at an economic forum hosted by his company after former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speech that singled out the communist Chinese regime
Bloomberg issued the apology on Nov. 17 at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum hosted by his corporation in partnership with the Singapore government.
“Some may have been insulted or offended last night by parts of the speaker’s remarks referencing certain countries and their duly elected leaders,” Reuters reported Bloomberg said.
“Those were his thoughts and his thoughts alone, not cleared in advance by anyone or shared with me personally,” Bloomberg told the conference, referring to Johnson’s remarks.
“To those of you who were upset and concerned by what the speaker said, you have my apologies,” he added.
According to the version released by Johnson’s spokesperson, the former prime minister described China and Russia as “two former communist tyrannies” to the gathering of business leaders, academics, and government officials from dozens of countries.
“Let’s look at Russia and China. The two former communist tyrannies in which power has once again been concentrated in the hands of a single rule, two monocultural states that have been traditionally hostile to immigration and that are becoming increasingly nationalist in their attitudes,” Johnson said, according to his spokesman.
Johnson said China and Russia “are willing to show a candid disregard for the rule of international law, and two countries that in the last year have demonstrated the immense limitations of their political systems by the disastrous mistakes they have made.”
The spokesperson said Johnson’s criticism was only against the Chinese authorities, not the country or Chinese people.
The Epoch Times reached out to Bloomberg LP for comment.
Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, didn’t specify whether his apologies were for the Chinese people or the communist regime.
The billionaire has previously landed in the headlines for defending the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In 2019, the entrepreneur said the party’s top leader Xi Jinping “is not a dictator.”
“The Communist Party wants to stay in power in China, and they listen to the public … Xi Jinping is not a dictator. He has to satisfy his constituents, or he’s not going to survive,” Bloomberg said in a television interview with Firing Line in September 2019.
Xi has become the country’s most powerful leader since the first ruler Mao Zedong. Last month, Xi secured a record-breaking third term in office and installed allies in the Party’s top decision-making body during the 20th National Congress, further tightening his grip over the party and the country.
In the opening remarks at the conference last Thursday, Bloomberg praised China’s vice chairman Wang Qishan, who attended via video link, as a “troubleshooter” and “problem solver.” The billionaire noted he met Wang almost two decades ago, when Bloomberg served as mayor of New York and Wang was mayor of Beijing.
Bloomberg’s apology raised concern among activists who pointed to his position in the U.S. Department of Defense.
The business mogul now leads the Defense Innovation Board at the Department of Defense. The panel of academics, entrepreneurs, former lawmakers, and military leaders helps the Pentagon leadership with “emerging technologies and innovative approaches that DoD should adopt to ensure U.S. technological and military dominance,” according to its website.
Lucas Kunce, National Security Director at the American Economic Liberties Project, a nonprofit organization, urged Bloomberg to resign or be replaced.
“For too long, decisions made by the U.S. government have been shaped by business leaders who put personal and company profit ahead of national security and the best interest of the United States,” Kunce said in a Nov. 21 statement. Bloomberg’s comment is “a classic example of this dangerous trend.”
The Department of Defense didn’t immediately respond to The Epoch Times request for comment.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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