Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Chinese government increasingly is using its economic weight to reshape global behavior and strengthen its own authoritarianism. And democratic governments have left companies to fend for themselves.

Why it matters: Global businesses and nonprofits learned the hard way this year that taking a stand for democratic values can cause massive revenue losses in the Chinese market.

The big picture: Critics often lambast companies that make concessions to Beijing as "caving" or "selling out." But the forces behind the wave of capitulation are larger than individual company decisions.

How it works: Through state-fanned patriotic boycotts, website shutdowns and other retaliatory measures, the Chinese government pressures international firms and other organizations to avoid statements or actions that cross Chinese Communist Party red lines.

  • Those often include support for democracy in Hong Kong, acknowledging human rights abuses in Tibet and Xinjiang, upholding Taiwan's autonomy, or discussing the coronavirus pandemic's origin in China.

What's happening: This year, numerous companies have felt pressure from Beijing.

  • Fashion companies Zara and Hugo Boss walked back statements distancing their operations from Xinjiang cotton.
  • LinkedIn blocked the accounts of several foreign journalists on its China-based website.
  • The Marriott hotel in Prague declined to host a November conference of activists and leaders from China's Uyghur diaspora, citing "political neutrality."

Prominent individuals with interests in China have repeatedly dodged questions about the mass internment camps in Xinjiang.

  • Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio said, "I can't be an expert in those kinds of things," when asked in an interview with CNBC how human rights issues in China inform his decision to invest there. He referred to China as a "strict parent" in its approach to managing its population.
  • IOC official Richard Pound said, "I simply do not know. Personally, I do not know," when asked in an interview with German radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk if he knew about the human rights violations occurring in Xinjiang.

But the results of Beijing's strategy increasingly go far beyond just censorship. The Chinese government has tightened its legal environment, forcing companies to hand over technology and data in order to continue operating there, threatening the security of users and the integrity of markets.

  • Some firms such as LinkedIn and Yahoo announced this year they were leaving the Chinese market due to the difficult regulatory environment.

But others have stayed, handing over key aspects of their business as they have done in no other market.

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook said in November that Apple has a "responsibility" to do business wherever it can, including China, despite the government's human rights abuses there. Apple censors apps from its China app store. Apple also stores encryption keys at the Chinese state-owned company that operates Apple's data center in China, the New York Times reported in June.
  • Amazon has also transferred cloud technology to local Chinese companies to comply with China's regulations and remain in the market, Reuters reported this month.

What to watch: Despite its tough policies on China in the past several years, the U.S. government has not yet established new mechanisms to support U.S. businesses facing CCP coercion, such as emergency aid to support them when facing revenue loss in China.

  • In October, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a draft bill that if passed would create an interagency task force to come up with recommendations to address China's economic coercion.
  • The EU is considering a new set of anti-coercion trade instruments designed to blunt the force of Beijing's economic retaliation.

The bottom line: In a showdown between a powerful government and a single company, the government usually wins — unless an outside government steps in.

Go deeper: Global capitalism abets China's repression

Editor's note: This post has been updated to clarify that the company that operates Apple's data center in China is a Chinese state-owned company.

Go deeper

Jan 14, 2022 - Sports

Ultra-strict lockdowns preview what's in store for Beijing Olympics

An outdoor rink in Shenyang, Liaoning Province of China. Photo: Huang Jinkun/VCG via Getty Images

With the Beijing Winter Olympics beginning three weeks from today, ultra-strict lockdowns in Chinese cities provide a glimpse of what the games' protocols will look like.

State of play: China may be the last country on Earth still adhering to a "zero COVID" policy. Rather than relying on vaccines and carefully reopening, China's goal is still to contain the virus via lockdowns.

7 mins ago - World

Scoop: Ukraine tells senators post-invasion sanctions are no help

Zelensky. Photo: Johanna Geron/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told U.S. senators visiting Kyiv this week that waiting to impose sanctions on Russia until after an invasion is of no use to Ukraine, according to four sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: The Senate is currently working on a major sanctions package to deter Russia from attacking Ukraine. Democrats and Republicans are united in their support for Ukraine, but divided over whether it would be more effective to sanction Russia now to signal resolve, or hold up the threat of future sanctions to demonstrate the high costs of an invasion.

Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks has dropped plans to require that U.S. workers get the COVID vaccine or submit to weekly testing, the company announced Tuesday in a memo to employees.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.