Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano introduced a bill this month aimed at divesting state funds from companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) amid concerns over human rights abuses.
In a statement announcing the legislation, which has yet to be officially drafted, Mr. Mastriano said the measure would require the state treasurer and the commonwealth’s two largest public pension systems–the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) and Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS)–to “gradually” divest from holdings in companies controlled by the CCP.
That report found that the Chinese regime’s treatment of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities—including torture, sexual violence, and forced labor, among others—“may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.”
The Republican state senator also accused China’s ruling party of having “employed force and aggression to methodically erode self-rule in Hong Kong, weaken democracy in Taiwan, and abuse basic human rights in Tibet.”
Additionally, Mr. Mastriano cited the ongoing opioid epidemic that continues to plague the United States.
‘Death of Pennsylvania Residents’The lawmaker further added that Chinese regime policies are “directly leading to the death of Pennsylvania residents.”
“This is a moral issue and it’s time for us as a commonwealth to take a stand,” he concluded.
Mr. Mastriano said he is currently circulating the bill concept with his Senate colleagues and seeking co-sponsors.
Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity expressed support for the legislation.
Last year, Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced legislation requiring the state Treasury Department and the state’s three public pension funds to divest holdings connected to Russia in the wake of its invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
Those holdings amounted to nearly $3 million.
That legislation was later updated to divest the commonwealth from Russian and Belarusian financial assets, and prohibit future investment of commonwealth funds in financial assets of those countries. Belarus remains a staunch ally of Russia.
Newsom Defends Cleanup Ahead of Xi VisitJosh Herman, a spokesperson for Mr. Mastriano, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that SERS’ Defined Benefit fund holds approximately $924 million in investments linked to companies in China, Hong Kong, and Macau, representing about 2.6 percent of its $35 billion fund as of 2021.
Speaking to reporters on Nov. 13, Mr. Newsom, a Democrat, said criticism claiming that officials were “just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming to town” was “true.”
However, the governor also claimed such clean-up efforts had been in place for “years” prior to the APEC meeting, under the billion-dollar “Clean California” initiative unveiled in 2021.
“Anytime you put on an event, by definition, you have people over your house—you got to clean up the house. You’ve got 21 foreign leaders, you got tens of thousands of people coming from around the globe, what an opportunity to showcase the world’s most extraordinary place, San Francisco,” the governor said.
His comments come as California is dealing with an ongoing homelessness and drug crisis and rising crime levels that have seen some major retailers pull out of the state due to safety concerns.