During his recent visit to Taiwan to attend a technology conference, the CEO of Nvidia, Jensen Huang, was followed everywhere by huge crowds of adoring fans. The rock-star treatment was an open expression of admiration by those thousands of ordinary Taiwanese who took pride in the fact that a person born in their country had achieved an astronomical level of success in the field of technology in America.

Mr. Huang was born in Taiwan but he moved to America in the early 1970s at age 10. He is now an American citizen. In 1993, he and two other men founded Nvidia, an American semiconductor company based in Santa Clara, CA. Nvidia specializes in the manufacturing of high-end graphics processing units (GPUs), which are now powering the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution.

At the beginning of 2020, Nvidia had a market capitalization of $144 billion. The current market value of the company is $3.1 trillion, a more than twenty-fold increase over the four-year period. Nvidia recently overtook Apple to become the second most valuable company in the world, trailing only Microsoft. Such meteoric success should be cause for celebration everywhere, and the Taiwanese had every justification to jubilate, even if Mr. Huang is no longer a citizen of their country.

As I read about Mr. Huang’s reception in Taiwan, I recalled the case of another tech company CEO next door in mainland China. Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba, China’s equivalent to Amazon, was similarly celebrated in China during his company’s heydays. Unfortunately for him, Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) didn’t quite like his celebrity status. The CCP bosses generally frown upon anyone and anything that threatens to overshadow the Party. They found a way to cut Mr. Ma down to size.

In November 2020, Mr. Ma disappeared from public view. A few days before then, he had given a speech in which he criticized the Chinese financial system and its regulators. At the time, his newest company, Ant Group, was about to launch what was expected to be the world’s biggest initial public offering (IPO) on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Ant Group’s Alipay mobile finance app had become a dominant force in the digital payment market in China. For his critical comments, Mr. Ma was summoned to appear before the regulators, who subsequently stopped the IPO. That run-in with state officials reportedly wiped off about $76 billion from the value of Mr. Ma’s companies.

In the free world, businesspeople and corporate leaders routinely criticize government officials and regulators, often quite harshly, with little consequence. That latitude creates an enabling environment in which all kinds of enterprises flourish. The dramatic rise in valuations of corporations like Nvidia, Tesla, and others, creates enormous wealth not only for people like Mr. Huang, but for all Americans and citizens from other countries who invest in them.

Many pundits have noted that the heavy-handed approach to business regulation in China, typified by the treatment of Mr. Ma, has had a chilling effect on the entire technology sector in the country. Such toxification of the business environment kills the “animal spirits” that drive national economic engines. The Chinese people are clearly the primary losers, but the entire world is also negatively impacted by it.

In the last couple of decades, China has served as one of the main drivers of global economic growth. The recent slowdown in China’s economy is therefore bad news for people everywhere. Through their capricious actions, the Chinese leaders destroy wealth on such a massive scale that investors, wherever they live and whatever nationalities they are, come out worse. That is because nowadays, everyone’s investment portfolio has exposure to both domestic and foreign markets. With China’s large population, market size, and overall economic potential, there is no reason a company like Alibaba couldn’t have Nvidia- or Amazon-like (about $2 trillion) valuation. The current market cap of Alibaba is just below $190 billion.

The saddest part of it all, for me, is the impact that the behavior of the Chinese leadership is having on the future prospects of the country’s young men and women. Much has been written in the last couple of years about high youth unemployment in China, which some reports have estimated to be over 20 percent at times. Companies like Alibaba are the ones that create the kinds of jobs that most college students crave these days. By impeding the growth of such firms, the CCP leadership is killing the dreams of the country’s young people and damaging their future prosperity.

There are few things worse than having tens of thousands of young people graduate from universities and not find suitable jobs, as is the case in China today. For the sake of these young Chinese, and indeed the rest of the world, President Xi Jinping and his lieutenants should start showing a bit more humility.