Ray Dalio Addresses Controversial China Comments on Fox

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Billionaire investor Ray Dalio was questioned on comments he made earlier in the week defending China in an interview with Fox Business Friday.

Dalio, the founder of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, sparked controversy this week for defending China when asked by CNBC anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin about its human rights abuses and his investments there.

“As a top-down country, what they’re doing — it’s kind of like a strict parent. They behave like a strict parent, and they go through that. That is their approach. We have our approach,” Dalio said Tuesday.

The comments prompted a rebuke from Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT). “Ray Dalio is brilliant and a friend, but his feigned ignorance of China’s horrific abuses and rationalization of complicit investments there is a sad moral lapse,” Romney said.

Mediaite obtained comments from Dalio, regarding the controversy, made in an interview with Fox Business host Jack Hough on Barron’s Roundtable Friday.

“Just let me be clear that I really think I, at that spontaneous moment, did not think clear,” Dalio said.

“I wasn’t commenting on what I thought about the strict parent, I was commenting on what’s autocratic and what’s democratic in the two different approaches,” he said. “And on this issue, I think I don’t want to minimize that issue. That is an important issue, and I want to also describe that as an American who knows the differences between these two countries.”

“I’ve spent all of my life here and also about half of my life going to China,” he said. “And I find myself in the middle of those two things, and I’m deeply concerned about war, about the conflict between these two ideologies or these two types of approaches, because I think that there is a risk of that.”

“I did a lousy job of conveying that,” Dalio said.

The interview almost didn’t happen. A source told Mediaite that minutes before taping, Dalio bailed on the interview when Hough insisted on asking about China.

After an appeal from Hough and Fox Business executives, the source said, Dalio returned to conduct the interview, which was scheduled to coincide with the release of his new book. The interview will air in its entirety on Friday night.

He also responded to criticism of his investments in China.

“This is a situation which is faced by something like 40,000 investors and hundreds of thousands of banks, businesses and so on that are American businesses that are operating there,” he said. “They face the same question that we’re dealing with. And that’s a difficult question of how to approach that. And one, we’re trying to balance those things. We also realize that if there’s disengagement with that would be like for the society and so on.”

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