Friday, December 1, 2023

Are Biden’s Policy Think-Tanks Deeply Indebted to China?

'It is apparent that the Biden Center is beholden to China for its operations. This has an insidious effect on shaping the programs it produces...'

(Ben Sellers, Headline USA) It comes as no surprise that the Chinese government declined President Donald Trump’s call last October to investigate the Bidens.

After all, the communist country already was heavily investing in the Bidens.

But the sweetheart deal that then-Vice President Joe Biden helped his son Hunter to broker with Chinese state investors in the BHR Equity Investment firm might just be the tip of the iceberg, according to the National Legal and Policy Center.

On Wednesday, the conservative watchdog filed a complaint with the Department of Education requesting a probe into one of the presidential hopeful’s pet projects, a policy institute at the University of Pennsylvania called the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

“It is apparent that the Biden Center is beholden to China for its operations,” said NLPC Chair Peter Flaherty. “This has an insidious [e]ffect on shaping the programs it produces.”

The Penn Biden Center is one of three such Biden-backed entities that have refused to disclose their funding sources, reported the Washington Free Beacon.

Spokesman Stephen MacCarthy declined to respond to the newspaper’s requests for more details about the center’s funding, deferring to his “colleagues at [the] main university.”

But the Free Beacon reported that UPenn saw a threefold spike overall in foreign donations—with China being the largest source—ever since the center’s soft opening in March 2017.

“These multi-million dollar donations from China are bad enough,” said NLPC counsel Paul Kamenar, “but the flagrant reporting violations over the years are simply outrageous.”

The Ivy League school relied in large part on anonymous donors—which policy analysts say is a common Chinese practice for deceptively covering their tracks.

“Anonymous giving to universities is an easy tactic the Chinese Communist Party can use to further its pernicious influence in American universities,” Michael Sobolik, an Indo-Pacific studies fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, told the Free Beacon.

At other times, however, these foreign investors appear to be hiding in plain sight. Such was the case with a Jan. 31 forum, the 2020 Penn China Research Symposium, which featured opening remarks from Chinese consul general Huang Ping.

Coincidentally, it occurred on the same day that Trump banned most travel to and from China as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

It was later revealed that China had covered up the scale of the pandemic, which it was aware of at the time, and it continues to defy calls for transparency surrounding the virus’s origin, as well as its realistic infection rates.

Biden has nominally tried to spin Trump’s earlier signing of a trade agreement as a liability, claiming the president had “rolled over for the Chinese” while attempting to hammer him for his coronavirus response.

But the reality is that the presumptive Democrat nominee is deep in China’s back pocket, said NLPC’s analysts.

“Joe Biden’s affiliation with the Penn Biden Center further raises concerns of foreign influence not unlike those raised when the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars in donations while Hillary Clinton was running for president,” their complaint said.

Meanwhile, Biden, characteristically, has flip–flopped on his public attitudes toward China, modifying his stance based on whoever is in the room at the time.

“China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man…  They’re not bad folks, folks … They’re not competition for us,” he said in a May 2019 speech, according to Axios.

But a month later, Biden’s outlook became markedly more dire.

“You bet I’m worried about China,” he said at a June 2019 campaign stop in Iowa. “… While Trump is attacking our friends, China is pressing its advantage all over the world.”

Trump has continued to stand firm on holding China accountable for everything from its predatory trade practices to its espionage and human-rights violations to the recent health crisis.

He issued a scathing letter to the World Health Organization this week calling on a full and independent investigation of the virus outbreak.

And on Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services signed a $354 million contract with a Virginia pharmaceutical startup to begin a reduction of U.S. dependency on Chinese drug manufacturers.

But it may have been Huang, during his opening remarks at the Penn China symposium in January, who best articulated where Biden’s true north stands on the oriental superpower.

“Considering China’s advantages in cost, market and supply chain, and its growing edge in innovation, to decouple from China is to decouple from opportunities,” he threatened.

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