The Sunday Telegraph - Business & Money
Baillie Gifford criticised over China ties
A CHINA investment fund operated by the money manager Baillie Gifford has been criticised for backing a company linked to human rights abuses. Baillie Gifford China holds a stake in BGI Genomics, which has been blacklisted in the US over its alleged role in repression in the Communist country.
Two BGI subsidiaries were added to an export ban last year by the US commerce department for “conducting genetic analyses used to further the repression of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities” in the province of Xinjiang.
This claim was denied at the time by BGI, which has also supplied Covid tests to countries around the world.
Dame Helena Morrissey, a Conservative peer and chairman of the investment firm AJ Bell, called for the City to review its practices in China.
She said: “Baillie Gifford rightly states in their … guidelines that they expect all the firms they invest in to comply with the United Nations guiding principles for business and human rights.
“Yet a quick look at their China investments finds them invested in a company which recently had two subsidiaries placed on a US trade blacklist.”
Matt Kilcoyne, of the Adam Smith
Institute, said: “Corporates need to stop thinking about their reputation as existing in just the current accounting period.”
BGI Genomics and Baillie Gifford did not respond to a request for comment.
At the time it was blacklisted, a spokesman for BGI said: “BGI Group does not engage in unethical practices and does not provide gene technology for the surveillance of Uighurs.
“BGI Group does not condone and would never be involved in any human rights abuses.”