The world is undergoing great changes unseen in a century, but time and momentum are on our side. This is where our force and vigor reside, and it is also where our determination and confidence reside. —President Xi Jinping, January 2021
“The capitalists will sell us the rope with which to hang them.”
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There is little evidence that Vladimir Lenin uttered those exact words. What he did say, however, was more precise, if less catchy: “They [capitalists] will furnish credits which will serve us for the support of the Communist Party in their countries and, by supplying us materials and technical equipment which we lack, will restore our military industry necessary for our future attacks against our suppliers. To put it in other words, they will work on the preparation of their own suicide.”
On another occasion, a Soviet source reports him having written: “The whole world’s capitalists and their governments, as they pant to win the Soviet market, will close their eyes to the above-mentioned reality and will thus transform themselves into men who are deaf, dumb and blind. They will give us credits . . . they will toil to prepare their own suicide.”
While Lenin’s Soviet Union receded into the pages of history, the Leninist mentality is still a current event. And today on Wall Street, in Silicon Valley, and in Washington, too many play “deaf, dumb, and blind” while selling rope. And the buyer is Beijing.
Throughout this book, I will refer to the challenges we face from Beijing. By “Beijing,” I mean the dictatorial regime of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which controls the People’s Republic of China. The threat we face is from political Beijing, not the Chinese people. Indeed, it would be accurate to say that the Chinese people are the biggest victims of the CCP.
By “rope,” I am talking very specifically about technology, money, intelligence, or even political support given to the communist regime. This rope enhances the military or strategic capabilities of Beijing, anything that advances their position in competition with the United States. I am not talking simply about general commerce with China.
For decades, the proverbial wisdom has been that China was going to liberalize. We were told by political figures and members of the business class that China would become more open. China was not a threat; it was a Western wannabe. Give them free trade, access to technology, and American capital, and they would become more like us. This attitude has proliferated into a new establishment consensus, one that conveniently enriches many American elites. Beijing is happy to encourage this false assumption to advance their own very different political agenda.
Of course, China has not liberalized. It has become more aggressive and repressive. Yet those elites who advised us on such a course of action got fabulously wealthy along the way.
Should we let lobbyists represent Chinese companies in the corridors of American power? Should we be investing our 401(k)s in Chinese companies? Should we keep thinking—against all evidence—that we can “engage” with China and make it a positive force on the planet?
Twenty-five years ago, it might have been reasonable for America’s elite to believe they could make Beijing more America-friendly by cultivating relationships with certain Chinese officials, but the exact opposite has happened. Beijing forged ties and gave money and deals to certain American elites, who became more friendly to the Beijing regime.
The culpability of those elites in what we are experiencing today—an increasingly powerful and aggressive China—cannot be overestimated.
Members of this special class either seek or are approached with lucrative deals, market access, and accolades. In return, naïvely or not, strategic, and economic benefits flow to the Beijing regime. This has been a vital approach pursued by the communist government, a strategy first proposed by Mao in 1956: yang wei Zhong yong, or “make the foreign serve China.” More than sixty years later, the strategy has only become more aggressive. Beijing offers deals, inducements, praise, and access to seduce foreign elites into serving their interests. 4 As Professor Anne-Marie Brady, a premier specialist in Chinese influence operations, puts it, “Beijing forges close partnerships of mutual advantage with highly prominent foreign figures who can bring commercial or political advantages to China.”
In the world of espionage, practitioners use the term “elite capture” to describe successful efforts to essentially buy off members of a country’s leadership. Opportunities to get wealthy are a key motivator. Beijing hopes that at a minimum this approach will neutralize members of the elite by making them less critical or resistant to their policies, or at a maximum turn them into actual advocates for Beijing’s position. But for some, there are other motives beyond just money.
As we will see, too many of America’s political, tech, and finance elites share an infatuation with dictatorship. They seem quite content with— indeed, even endorse—the notion that we should trust people to pick their breakfast cereal but not their government leaders. They believe the Beijing dictatorship is more efficient—even a better system overall—than representative democracy. Their endorsements are often quoted by Chinese government media. In short, American elites are granting legitimacy to the Chinese government and are rewarded with large financial deals.
Some prominent figures will point to a negative statement they have made about the Beijing regime as evidence that they are tough on China. But this is largely a diversion. To be clear, Beijing does not require American collaborators to toe the party line. Beijing pragmatically accepts some level of public criticism from the elites with whom it is working. The idea is known as “big help with a little badmouth.” Tolerating some dissent and criticism from its foreign partners is wise because it maintains their partners’ cloak of credibility in the eyes of the American public. As long as these elites deliver on key policies and actions that benefit the regime, some criticism is acceptable.
So, who exactly are these American elites who, in deed if not in word, wittingly or unwittingly, promote the dictatorial Beijing regime? Some of the most prominent names in Big Tech, Wall Street, and American politics figure into this story.
This book will bring into focus what many of us have known, anecdotally, for decades: leading Americans have collaborated extensively with a brutal regime for personal gain.
We will continue to consider the case, with new evidence, of arguably the most powerful man in the world making excuses for Beijing while his family secured multiple deals with Beijing worth tens of millions of dollars. This, through the courtesy of individuals with direct ties to Chinese intelligence.
We will bring to light another presidential family that has benefited through two generations from deals with Beijing—a family whose members now appear on Chinese state television touting the regime’s accomplishments.
We will turn to Capitol Hill and draw the curtain back on the U.S. Speaker of the House, whose family has enjoyed profitable, decades-long dealings with Beijing, allowing it to influence their positions on the most important issues of the day.
We will meet a powerful U.S. senator, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has excused Beijing’s actions while her family secured a string of deals with China.
We will be introduced to former U.S. senators and members of Congress who are now on the payroll of Beijing and military-linked firms, lobbying on their behalf in the corridors of Washington.
We will be introduced to several former U.S. ambassadors to China who are now getting rich working for Chinese entities in the United States.
We will learn about a former U.S. senator and U.S. secretary of defense now helping Chinese state-owned enterprises compete against U.S. companies.
We will expose the former high-ranking U.S. intelligence and security officials now helping Beijing more easily acquire U.S. technologies.
From Silicon Valley, we will meet some of the richest tech entrepreneurs in the world and their troubling bonds with Beijing, as well as their defense of its virtues in government media outlets.
We will show how the head of the largest financial firm on Wall Street praises the regime and even helped the Communist Party solidify its hold over foreign corporations. We will also reveal how and why one of the most powerful men on Wall Street invested $100 million into a Chinese Communist Party propaganda project.
Too many of America’s rich and powerful turn a blind eye to the nature of their business partners. This is not exactly a win-win scenario.
We do not have to go into a full history of the Chinese Communist Party regime to see Beijing’s true colors—and ultimate motives.
They are currently on display in Nanjing province, where they are violently repressing millions. President Xi Jinping’s regime has set up reeducation camps, or “free hospital treatment for the masses with sick thinking,” as Beijing calls them. 7 The CCP justified the camps because of a series of violent attacks by extremists in the region. Xi ordered his security apparatus to carry out a “smashing, obliterating offensive,” according to leaked documents. “Round up everyone who should be rounded up. . . . Even grandparents and family members who seemed too old to carry out violence could not be spared.” 8 The result is “the largest mass incarceration of an ethnic-religious minority since the second world war.”
Beijing also sanctions the forceable harvesting of the body organs of detained political and religious prisoners. An international tribunal in London, headed by Sir Geoffrey Nice, who led the prosecution of war criminal Slobodan Milošević, has laid out volumes of evidence, including the testimony of doctors who have been forced to perform these procedures.
Beijing’s suppression of COVID-19 warnings has impacted human lives and economies worldwide. On December 30, 2019, a Chinese medical doctor named Li Wenliang commented to colleagues about a new and aggressive virus. When he did so on a chat app, he was detained by the Public Security Bureau, who charged that he had “severely disturbed the social order.”
By the end of January 2020, after becoming increasingly ill from the virus, he posted the letter he had been forced to sign on Weibo, a massive Chinese public messaging website. This is how his nation and the world learned about the true danger of the COVID virus. 12 Other brave Chinese doctors and journalists who tried to alert the world about the virus disappeared at the hands of the Beijing regime, which was more concerned about its political viability than the health of its people—or for that matter, the health of people around the world.
Beijing continues to take a position of non-cooperation in global efforts to find out the true origins of the virus.
You can add to this list the practice of crimes against Christians, the Falun Gong, citizens of Hong Kong, the people of Tibet, and others. By now, the Chinese military is openly talking about using new kinds of biological warfare, including “specific ethnic genetic attacks,” which should come as no surprise.
Constant surveillance and censorship, detention without trial, torture and forced confessions, other forms of physical and psychological abuse, and excessive use of the death penalty are all a standard part of life for the mainland Chinese people under the CCP.
As Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
This is the regime with whom the American elites addressed in this book are in bed.
The brutal nature of the regime is only the beginning of the problem. Beijing aspires to replace the United States as the most powerful nation on the globe. Do not take my word for it: the Chinese leadership itself speaks openly about that ambition. China’s state news agency, Xinhua, boosts the party line, “By 2050, two centuries after the Opium Wars, which plunged the ‘Middle Kingdom’ into a period of hurt and shame, China is set to regain its might and re-ascend to the top of the world.” China’s President Xi has a specific 2049 plan to accomplish that goal.
Xinhua elsewhere declares the superiority of the communist dictatorship over the representative democracy of the United States. “After several hundred years, the Western model is showing its age. It is high time for profound reflection on the ills of a doddering democracy which has precipitated so many of the world’s ills and solved so few.”
President Xi commonly uses the expression that he is seeking for China a “strong nation dream.” The phrase comes from a 2009 book published in China called The China Dream. The author, Colonel Liu Mingfu of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), is quite explicit about what that means. “China’s grand goal in the 21st century is to become the world’s No. 1 power,” he says bluntly. “The competition between China and the United States will not be like a ‘shooting duel’ or a ‘boxing match’ but more like a ‘track and field’ competition. It will be a protracted ‘Marathon.’”
But this “China dream,” as expressed by President Xi, is a nightmare for the rest of the world. The American elites featured in this book are in various ways feeding the beast that would make this nightmare a reality. And they get paid well doing it.
Throughout American history, there have been concerns about powerful American leaders aligning themselves with our foreign adversaries. Nothing comes close in magnitude to the problem of the buying off of these elites. It represents the direst national security threat our country faces today. As Professor Walter Russell Mead wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “America’s greatest risk isn’t the vulnerability of its voting machines to foreign hackers or the susceptibility of party apparatchiks to phishing scams. It is the erosion of ethical standards in the American political and business establishments that most exposes the U.S. to the kind of foreign interference against which [George] Washington warned.”
“You all heard that Trump said Biden’s son has securities companies all over the world,” the speaker said in a smooth, elegant Mandarin voice. “But who helped Biden’s son build his global companies?”
The question came from a slender Chinese academic named Di Dongsheng as he stood in front of a large audience in Shanghai. It was November 28, 2020, just weeks after the U.S. presidential election. Beyond the hundreds who had gathered in the auditorium, many more watched the streamed version online, courtesy of Guan Video, an influential Chinese nationalist website. Di is more than a random academic: as an associate dean at Renmin University, an elite institute in Beijing that boasts prominent alumni high in the Communist Party and government, including politburo members and ambassadors, he sits near the center of power. Di has also worked with the Chinese government’s official propaganda organs to spread pro-Beijing material in the United States, including Washington, D.C.
The speech was part of a prestigious forum that featured talks by Chinese luminaries such as the former directors general of the Asian Development Bank and of the International Department of China’s Central Bank.
Di’s remarks struck a nerve. The crowd, no doubt including high-ranking Communist Party officials, was actively engaged. They smiled, laughed, and applauded as he discussed the global stage and China’s influence in the United States. Di noted that Beijing had “old friends . . . inside America’s core circle of power,” mentioning Wall Street in particular as a strong ally. He reassured the audience that Beijing could settle issues with “people at the top” in the United States. When he asked that question—rhetorically—about Biden’s son’s deals, the audience laughed knowingly. “There are indeed buy-and-sell transactions involved in here,” Di added. “So I think at this particular time, it is of strategic and tactical value for us to show good will.” Di’s comments about Chinese influence among elites in the United States were unusually candid for a Chinese official in public—direct and on the nose. The fact that he referenced Chinese commercial dealings with the Biden family—which I was the first to expose in 2018—was particularly surprising. Apparently, they surprised Beijing too, which promptly removed the speech from the country’s social media platforms after it started to go viral.
The answer to Di’s question is that financiers with close ties to the highest levels of Chinese intelligence helped Hunter Biden build or join several global companies. There are important reasons for Beijing to want their commercial ties with the Biden family to remain obscured.
The greater puzzle is, why would the Biden family want commercial ties to China? Could Hunter Biden not trade on his last name to open doors in less authoritarian countries?
Chinese officials have cultivated these commercial ties for more than a decade. Other Biden family members have happily pursued financial relationships, too, eager to cash in with lucrative deals. Since I first broke the story about these ties in 2018, I have gained access to an abundance of new documentary evidence.
In short, the new evidence makes clear that the Biden family received some $31 million from Chinese businessmen with very close ties to the highest levels of Chinese intelligence during and after Joe Biden’s tenure as vice president. Indeed, as of this writing, some of those financial relationships remain intact. One is struck by the extraordinary concentration of intelligence ties by the businesspeople making these deals with the Bidens. These ties reach the highest levels of Chinese intelligence, including the former head of the Ministry of State Security, the head of foreign intelligence recruitment for Chinese intelligence, and a cluster of United Front organizations used for intelligence operations in the West. (We will later learn of the significance of these United Front organizations—something Xi and other communist officials consider a “magic weapon” in their struggle against the West.)
The new sources of information also provide even more evidence that this is a story about not just Hunter Biden, but Joe Biden himself. To some degree, for the period our research covers, Hunter Biden and Joe Biden had intertwined finances. Hunter Biden privately complained to family members about paying his father’s bills. “I love all of you,” he wrote to his daughter Naomi on January 3, 2019. “But I don’t receive any respect and that’s fine I guess -works for you apparently. I Hope you all can do what I did and pay for everything for this entire family for 30 years. It’s really hard. But don’t worry unlike Pop I won’t make you give me half your salary.”
Other correspondence confirms that the vice president of the United States, signified by the initials “JRB” for Joseph Robinette Biden, was mentioned in emails discussing payments or financial opportunities.
The idea that his father might be participating in Hunter Biden’s dealings was potentially realized when Hunter Biden or his business partner, Eric Schwerin, arranged for private phone lines for the vice president, at a cost ranging from $190 to several hundred dollars a month. This would allow for a non-official channel of communication. It is neither legal for the vice president of the United States to accept gifts from a company, nor clear why the vice president of the United States needs an undisclosed means of communication. According to Hunter, he (or Rosemont Seneca Partners) had been paying for multiple phone lines for his father for eleven years—all while he was in office as a senator or vice president. Using the lowest number of payments for “JRB,” we found that for the cost of Joe’s phone line(s) ($190), that amounts to over $25,000. Interestingly, in February 2017, Hunter moved to put at least one phone number back under Joe Biden’s name after he left office because, “he wants to start paying it.”
There are myriad other examples of communications between Hunter Biden and his partners at Rosemont about paying the bills of then Vice President Joe Biden. These included paying for contractors making renovations on Joe Biden’s Delaware home. Schwerin wrote to Hunter in June 2010, asking him which ones “should get paid out of ‘my’ account and which should be put on hold or paid out of the ‘Wilmington Trust Social Security Check Account.’” In addition, Schwerin explains, “There is about $2,000 extra in ‘my’ account beyond what is used for monthly expenses.” In a follow-up email on June 8, Schwerin told Hunter that “Mike Christopher,” one of the contractors who worked on Joe Biden’s Delaware home, “is hassling” him. He said that he was “paying a couple of the smaller things since I haven’t heard from your Dad.” In yet another instance, Hunter made reimbursements to Joe Biden for a Ford Raptor truck, in an email marked “payment to JRB from RHB – autopay owasco acct.”
The new sources of information presented here include:
- The Hunter Biden Secret Service Travel Logs
The Secret Service keeps travel logs on the family members of the president and vice president when they travel with them. Hunter Biden’s Secret Service travel logs, covering the years from 2009 to 2014, were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and by the U.S. Senate Oversight Committee.
This collection of more than twenty-five thousand emails contains the correspondence of Hunter Biden business associate Bevan Cooney between 2010 and 2016. Cooney’s emails show communication to and from Hunter Biden and include an abundance of attachments and documents. Cooney granted us access to his complete email collection.
- The United States Senate Oversight Committee Report
Issued in September 2020, the U.S. Senate committee report on Hunter Biden’s activities included dozens of U.S. Treasury Department Suspicious Activity Reports (SARS), which detailed some financial transactions of Hunter Biden and his firms. (Note: a supplement to the report was released in November 2020.)
- The Tony Bobulinski emails and messages
Bobulinski, a successful financier and businessman, was brought into the Biden orbit in 2017 to help put together and run an investment fund that the Chinese would finance. Bobulinski shared those records with the U.S. Senate Oversight Committee.
We were given access to materials involving Hunter Biden business partner Jason Galanis.
- The Hunter Biden emails from his laptop
These emails number close to twenty-five thousand and include emails and messages sent to colleagues, partners, and family members. Hunter Biden has never denied that the emails are genuine, even admitting that they could be his. Were the emails false, we could assume that he would vigorously challenge their authenticity. He has not.
As we first reported in Secret Empires, in 2009, Hunter Biden joined forces with his close friends and fellow Yale students Devon Archer and Christopher Heinz to set up a series of businesses. They first established Rosemont Capital and, soon after, Rosemont Seneca Partners. They also set up Rosemont Realty and Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners. Rather than locate the shop in Manhattan, the world’s financial capital, Rosemont Seneca leased space in Washington, D.C. “They occupied an all-brick building on Wisconsin Avenue . . . just two miles from both Joe Biden’s office in the White House and his residence at the Naval Observatory.”
Hunter Biden and his partners constructed a remarkable constellation of limited liability companies, many of which served as pass-throughs, to manage the flow of foreign money. These included Oldaker, Biden, and Belair, LLP; Seneca Global Advisors; Rosemont Seneca Advisors; RSP Investments; Eudora; RSTP I; RSTP II Alpha and Bravo, Owasco, and Skaneateles. Numerous emails—including corporate documents—between the two clearly indicate that the management of those LLCs and Hunter Biden’s finances were handled by his colleague Eric Schwerin, a former Clinton administration official.
Hunter Biden’s defenders present a wholly benign narrative: he had a small role in medium-sized deals with profit-driven Chinese investors drawn in only by his business acumen. The facts add up to something else entirely.
As you have seen, there are indications that Hunter and Joe Biden’s financial fortunes have been fused. Barely a year and a half into the Obama administration, Hunter Biden and his business partners in Rosemont Seneca began drawing up a memo called “JRB Future Memo” about commercial opportunities for Joe Biden after he left the Obama administration. “Mike has a pretty good draft of this done,” Schwerin wrote to Hunter Biden. “Does it make sense to see if your Dad has some time in the next couple of weeks while you are in DC to talk about it? Your Dad just called me (about his mortgage) and mentioned he’d be out a lot soon and not really back until Labor Day so it dawned on me it might be a good time (also he could use some news about his future earnings potential!).”
What “future earnings” the vice president would be discussing with Schwerin, the manager of Hunter Biden’s LLCs, is unclear, as is why the vice president would be talking about his mortgage with the same manager.
The Bidens—father and son together—apparently followed a business model offering access to the highest levels of power in Washington in exchange for big-money international deals.
Locating Rosemont Seneca Partners in Washington, D.C., fits with this model, because access to the White House, particularly for foreign elites, represented a central selling point in securing private deals.
This setup is what Hunter clearly had in mind when dealing with foreign elites and is best demonstrated by an email Hunter sent to a prospective partner in Mexico, Miguel Aleman. In a February 2016 email, Hunter, who was arriving in Mexico City aboard Air Force Two with his father, was furious because he had granted Aleman access to the highest reaches in Washington, but the deals he wanted in return had yet to materialize.
- “We are arriving late tonight on Air Force 2 to MX City. We will be there for Thursday – I’m attending meeting w/ President N [of Mexico] w/ Dad. Jeff is with me on [p]lane and [he] will be with us all day. Would love to see [you] but you never respond. I am really upset by it. You respond when it’s something you need. You are the most generous person I know but WTF. We have so many great things to do together and I want you at the plane when the VP lands with your Mom and Dad and you completely ignore me. I’ve looked at what your family has done and want to follow in that tradition and you always say you will help but I haven’t heard from you since I got you a mtg for Carlos and your Dad. We have been talking about business deals and partnerships for 7 years. And I really appreciate you letting me stay at your resort villa . . . but I have brought every single person you have ever asked me to bring to the F’ing White House and the Vice President’s house and the inauguration and then you go completely silent – I don’t hear from you for months. I don’t know what it is that I did but I’d like to know why I’ve delivered on every single thing you’ve ever asked – and you make me feel like I’ve done something to of end you. “ (Emphasis added)
In the case of the Aleman family, access to the White House did not land Hunter a profitable accord. China, however, was a completely different story.
Hunter’s Rosemont Seneca quickly set its sights on “Zhongguo—the Middle Kingdom.” As we will see, a number of Chinese officials, several with intelligence connections, were all too happy to go into business with the son of the vice president. It is likely this is because they have different goals than just making money.
Doing business in China often entails having the right political contacts and relationships; having a powerful family name can be of enormous benefit.
In one case, to do business in China, as I first reported in Secret Empires, Hunter Biden and his partners at Rosemont joined forces with another politically connected consultancy called the Thornton Group. James Bulger, the nephew of the infamous mob hit man James “Whitey” Bulger, heads the Massachusetts-based firm. Whitey was the doyen of the Winter Hill Gang of the South Boston mafia. On the hook for nineteen murders, he took off. He was later found, arrested, tried, and convicted. Whitey’s younger brother Billy Bulger is James Bulger’s father, and Billy served on the Thornton Group board of directors. He was formerly a leader in the Massachusetts State Senate. Bulger’s partners in the venture included Michael Lin (also known as Lin Junliang), a cofounder of the group. He had considerable connections in Beijing. Originally from Taiwan, Lin moved to Beijing in 2005 and worked as the head of investments for Peking University Founder, a powerful investment vehicle that “has strong connections among the top leaders of the Chinese Communist Party.” (As we will see, Founder also has deep commercial ties with Chinese intelligence.) Lin helped give Hunter Biden entrée into the highest levels of Chinese leadership.
Fewer than twelve months after opening Rosemont Seneca, Hunter Biden and Devon Archer were in China with access to those of great financial (and political) influence. The Thornton Group’s account of the encounter on their Chinese-language website at the time was revealing: Chinese executives “extended their warm welcome” to the “Thornton Group, with its U.S. partner Rosemont Seneca chairman Hunter Biden (second son of the now Vice President Joe Biden).” The meeting’s purpose was to “explore the possibility of commercial cooperation and opportunity.”
The meetings were with the largest and most powerful government-backed financial institutions in the country. In April 2010, they met with high-ranking senior Chinese officials, including the head of private equity for the Chinese government’s China Investment Corporation.
The timing is important. Hunter’s meeting in China occurred just before Vice President Biden met with Chinese President Hu Jintao during the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.
Joe Biden would emerge as the point person on Obama administration policy on China, so he would be a clear focus of Chinese attention.
Hunter Biden was a centerpiece of these initial meetings—not necessarily for what he brought to the meeting but simply for his participation. The first trip in April was a success. James Bulger wrote to Hunter after, “your presence was a huge boon to us all.”
In January 2011, Devon Archer met again with Chinese officials at the highest levels and apparently planned to underscore the partners’ exclusive access to the vice president by bringing signed copies of Joe Biden’s book, presumably Promises to Keep (2007), to hand out. “Any chance I can get 3 Biden books to leave with cic [China Investment Corporation], citic [China International Trust and Investment Corporation] and chairman zong of wahaha [one of China’s richest men]?” Devon Archer wrote to Hunter and Eric Schwerin before the trip.
For Beijing, a commercial relationship with the Bidens would offer an opportunity for “elite capture.” Joe Biden had already painted a relatively favorable view of the Beijing regime in public statements. Hunter Biden and his team did get meetings with these dominant financial institutions. CITIC reports directly to the PRC State Council, the most powerful governing body in the country, and the China Investment Corporation is one of the government’s sovereign wealth funds.
In April 2011, Hunter Biden and his partners returned to Asia, visiting both Taiwan and mainland China. According to internal Rosemont emails, Hunter does not appear to have had a heavy lift in any Rosemont business. “What is the first meeting I HAVE to attend?” he asked Devon Archer in an email. His figurehead presence relative to Rosemont seemed to be enough.
When they returned to Washington, D.C., Hunter’s associates emphasized the importance of the vice president’s son sending personal notes to Chinese officials. His partners ensured that there should be “a thank you email from Hunter to every meeting contact we met.”
And when it came to motivating Chinese nationals to work with Rosemont, Bulger knew to pull the Biden card. “I have [Michael] lin [one of the Chinese partners] all over this he knows he cannot disappoint HB [Hunter Biden].”
On this trip, Hunter and his partners met with someone they dubbed “The Super Chairman,” who would play a central role in securing a large deal. The Super Chairman is Che Feng, a Chinese tycoon with close ties to Chinese intelligence. The son of a PLA soldier, Che was a successful businessman and controlled numerous companies. He would become a major player in the relationship between Hunter and Beijing. Described in the Western press as a “shadowy and discreet investor,” Che perhaps needed to remain in the shadows and demonstrate extreme discretion because of his very powerful friends and family members. His father-in-law was the governor of the People’s Bank of China and was the president of the National Council for Social Security Fund, the government retirement fund in China. The National Council later became an investor in Hunter’s private equity deal. But even more important, Che had other disturbing ties: he was business partners with Ma Jian, the vice minister of State Security, essentially China’s KGB, at the time. (Ma Jian also had financial ties with Peking Founder, where Michael Lin had worked.) Reportedly, Ma was the director of the ministry’s No. 8 Bureau, which targeted foreigners with its counterintelligence apparatus—“Mainly diplomats, businessmen and reporters.” French intelligence scholar Roger Faligot said that Ma Jian “oversaw operations in North America.”
Ma was a very busy man. Beyond his intelligence work, he reportedly had six mistresses.
The hazard of a Chinese businessman with close ties to the top ranks of Beijing’s spy agency conducting financial transactions with the son of the U.S. vice president cannot be overstated. How this did not set off national security or ethics alarm bells in Washington is a wonder in itself.
According to email correspondence, Hunter Biden’s relationship with the Super Chairman was warm, and in October 2011, Hunter and his partners returned to Hong Kong as Che’s guests. The Super Chairman put them up at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong for more discussions about business opportunities.
Hunter Biden was traveling with Secret Service protection, so for the meeting, a Chinese partner instructed Hunter to send the Secret Service detail to him to check things out. “When secret service wish to call to check things as they always do, pls make them call Jonathan or me.”
The plan was to fuse Chinese financial might to those with access to the highest levels of power in the Western world. Together, they formed an entity called Bohai Harvest RST (BHR) to create a pecuniary powerhouse funded by China’s biggest government-backed financial institutions. Biden and his partners were enthusiastic about what the Super Chairman was bringing them: an opportunity to work with the largest state-owned financial conglomerates, “or that kind of high power companies.” One of Hunter’s Chinese partners wrote him in September 2011, “Imagine we will be sitting on the same board with CIC or the other Chinese HUGE investment or fund house(s)!!!”
One of those big “fund houses” was Harvest Fund Management, which was headed by another key figure in the Biden family’s deals in China. Zhao Xuejun (aka Henry Zhao) was the chairman of Harvest, and also the company’s Chinese Communist Party general secretary. “The mission of our Party is to bring happiness to people,” he proclaimed, “and to revive the nation for people.” Zhao, another figure who would steer money to Hunter Biden, also had ties to the very top of Chinese intelligence. One of Zhao’s companies, Harvest Global Investments, was cofounded by Jia Liqing, the daughter of Jia Chunwang, who was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee at the time. Her father is the former minister of state security, which meant he was in “charge of secret service, espionage, and domestic and overseas intelligence work.” There is no one more powerful in the world of Chinese intelligence. Beginning in 1985, he ran the foreign espionage section for the Ministry of State Security. He eventually ran the entire intelligence service until 1998, when he became head of public security, which put him in charge of other intelligence operations, the national police, and even the Chinese gulag. He was, in short, the man who ran China’s spy apparatus for thirteen years. Jia helped develop China’s “deep water fish” (Chendi yü) strategy of developing thousands of special agents “hidden in the deepest strata of society . . . of the enemy” to work with the intelligence services.
Jia Liqing’s in-laws were also deeply connected to the Communist Party: her father-in-law, Liu Yunshan, was the head of the Chinese Communist Party’s Propaganda Department during early negotiations and up until a year before Harvest secured its deal with Hunter.
The seductive and lucrative deal that Hunter was now putting into place, creating BHR, involved two financiers with ties to the highest levels of Chinese intelligence, a billion-dollar private equity deal that we first exposed in Secret Empires. What we now know are the roles played by the spyconnected “Super Chairman” and Zhao.
The deal was negotiated quietly and Hunter’s partners wanted to keep his involvement in the agreement private at least until the deal was sealed. “Please remember that I have not informed anyone in my office about the reason for my trip to Hong Kong last week,” Jim Bulger wrote to Hunter Biden and others after he returned from Asia. “So no one knows that Hunter was with me last week. . . . I want to keep this effort quiet until we have a contract in place.”
“What happens in Hong Kong stays in Hong Kong,” replied Eric Schwerin.
According to Michael Lin, another Chinese partner, Hunter’s role in the venture was pretty straightforward: “Open as many doors as possible in the western world for this very famous Bohai professional team.” There was also the expectation that Hunter and his partners would “join some of the meetings in HK and China they arrange” when communicating with possible financial partners.
Although he would later claim publicly that this private equity deal was not really that lucrative, Hunter’s private correspondence shows otherwise. Regarding the “super chairman fund,” he wrote in an email in September 2011, “Things are moving rapidly and the percentage he is offering me is much larger than I at first thought.” Archer thought the deal made sense—“Not only on it’s own merits from an economics standpoint but from the leverage in access it provides with the big boys here in the west who all need China.”
Hunter saw dollar signs. “I don’t believe in lottery tickets anymore,” he wrote to Archer, “but I do believe in the super chairman . . . I think the sky’s the limit.”
The Bohai negotiations continued over several months. The email correspondence suggests that the Chinese partners did not expect Hunter Biden and the other Americans to be actively involved in the fund; they would do most of the heavy lifting. As Bulger explained to Hunter and Archer, “if all Jonathan needs from us is to sit on the investment committee then it might not be a bad deal. . . . If our involvement is simply to sit on the sidelines and be the ‘white face’ then I’m personally close to [a] 15% [stake].”
By spring 2013, the Bohai deal was in the final negotiation stage. In June, the principals met in Beijing to go over the terms. Although Biden lawyers have claimed that Hunter was not involved in these final discussions, according to Secret Service travel records, Hunter was in Beijing between June 13 and June 15.
In December 2013, Hunter returned to Beijing, this time arriving on Air Force Two with his father. Vice President Biden was grappling with a multitude of issues between the United States and China. He held high-level meetings with Chinese officials. What Hunter spent his time doing is less clear. However, Hunter later admitted that he had introduced his dad to his business partner Jonathan Li in the lobby of their hotel.
Ten days later, the BHR company was registered in Beijing. Hunter was later offered a 10 percent equity stake in the business and a board seat. The equity stake required him to put in capital, but he apparently did not have enough. Chinese executives gave him a loan, guaranteeing him a stake in the billion-dollar-plus investment firm.
In January 2014, just one month after the finalized BHR deal, Hunter and Devon made plans to meet with the Chinese ambassador in Washington. The purpose of the meeting is unclear.
BHR released a prospectus for investors, noting that Hunter Biden served on the board. They never mentioned Joe Biden per se, but Hunter was listed as “Honorary Co-Chair of the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee of the United States.” BHR noted that Rosemont brought “extensive political and business networks in America and Europe.”
Hunter Biden figured prominently in BHR materials sent to Chinese investors. BHR, in their 2016 annual report, had a graphic titled “Global Network,” which included a world map and a photo of Hunter Biden and other BHR partners with an arrow pointing to New York City.
The Super Chairman would fade from the deal after both he and Ma were arrested and charged with money laundering and bribery, respectively. But the partnership between Hunter and Chinese officials was off and running. And Zhao would arrange other deals with Hunter Biden.
Bohai Harvest was not simply an investment fund engaged in ordinary commercial arrangements. Given the intelligence and political ties of those involved in setting up BHR, it should not come as a surprise that Hunter’s fund began buying or investing in strategically important companies in China and the United States. One of their early investments was in China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), where Hunter’s firm was an “anchor investor.” The FBI would later expose that firm as a conduit for nuclear espionage in the West. In April 2016, CGN and a CGN engineer named Allen Ho were charged by the Obama Justice Department with stealing nuclear secrets from the United States—actions prosecutors said could cause “significant damage to our national security.”
Hunter’s BHR was also contributing to the undermining of our national defense—buying companies in the United States that had clear military application that would benefit Beijing in its strategic competition with the United States. BHR bought an American company called Henniges Automotive, a firm known for anti-vibration technologies with military and civilian applications. The Chinese military interest in the company was obvious, especially given that BHR partnered with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to close the deal. AVIC is one of China’s largest military contractors. U.S. officials have identified AVIC as a major culprit in the theft of U.S. defense technologies.
How much has, and will, Hunter Biden ultimately make on just this one China deal? It is impossible to say. Team Biden has absurdly claimed that his stake in the firm is only $420,000. 64 But recall Hunter Biden’s enthusiastic email comparing the deal to winning the lottery. Professor Steven Kaplan from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business said, “It is difficult to imagine, if not incomprehensible, that a 10% stake in those economics is worth only $420K.” Using other similar investment funds as a guide, he estimates Hunter’s take on the BHR deal would be closer to $20 million.
The mystery surrounding Hunter Biden’s financial ties with Chinese intelligence–connected businessmen is only compounded by a decision he made shortly after those ties began. In July 2014, Hunter Biden took the unusual step of declining Secret Service travel on his future overseas trips. The Secret Service communicated this fact to the Senate Homeland Security and Governance Affairs Committee, but gave no explanation as to why Biden made this move. In 2015, he reportedly requested Secret Service protection on a trip to Europe, but not on any related to China.
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How much did the Chinese participants make on these deals? Most likely, they do not care. Chinese elites and Communist Party officials who were prospective partners or clients of Hunter were granted off-the-books meetings with Vice President Joe Biden.
On November 5, 2011, Devon Archer forwarded an email from one of his business contacts hinting at a chance to gain “potentially outstanding new clients” by helping to arrange White House meetings for a group of Chinese executives and government officials. The group was the China Entrepreneur Club (CEC) and included Chinese billionaires, Chinese Communist Party loyalists, and at least one “respected diplomat” from Beijing. Despite its seemingly harmless name, CEC has been referred to as “a second foreign ministry” for the People’s Republic of China—a communist regime that tightly controls the people and businesses in its country. CEC was founded in 2006 by several Chinese businessmen and diplomats.
“This is China Inc.,” the forwarded email claimed, referring to the delegation. This is not only a powerful and prestigious group; it is also fused to the Chinese government. The CEC has been described in U.S. congressional testimony as “the most significant and elite, China government led, cybereconomic command and control entity.” CEC’s membership includes some senior members of the Chinese Communist Party, including Wang Zhongyu (“vice chairman of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the deputy secretary of the Party Leadership Group”), Ma Weihua (director of several Chinese Communist Party offices), Jiang Xipei (member of the 16th National Congress), and others.
“I know it is political season and people are hesitant but a group like this does not come along every day,” the email stated. “A tour of the white house and a meeting with a member of the chief of staff’s office and John Kerry would be great.” There was a caveat: “Not sure if one has to be registered to [do] this.” The reference here was to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires registration with the Justice Department when interacting with the federal government on behalf of a foreign entity. No one responded to the query, and no one bothered to register with the Justice Department.
Securing some important meetings in Washington promised Biden and his partners “good access to [the Chinese] for any deal in the future.” The email emphasized that the “biggest priority for the CEC group is to see the White House, and have a senior U.S. politician, or senior member of Obama’s administration, give them a tour.”
Almost a week later, Archer got a follow-up email inquiring how the meeting went with the CEC representatives. It finished, “Do me a favor and ask Hunter [Biden] to call me—I’ve tried reaching him a couple of times.” Archer replied, “Hunter is traveling in the UAE for the week with royalty so probably next week before he will be back in pocket. . . . The meeting with [CEC representative] was good. Seems like there is a lot to do together down the line.”
A minute later, Archer followed up after deleting Hunter from his reply, “Couldn’t confirm this with Hunter on the line but we got him his meeting at the WH Monday for the Chinese folks.” One wonders if Archer was being careful to cloak Hunter’s role in acquiring that “WH” access.
Meeting archives from the Obama-Biden administration show that on November 14, 2011, this Chinese delegation visited the White House, and was afforded high-level access. According to White House visitor logs, there were approximately thirty members in the delegation.
Curiously, the White House visitor logs do not mention what would have been the prize ring for the Chinese delegation: meeting Vice President Joe Biden. But the vice president may well have had such an off-the-books meeting, as one of the core founders of the Chinese group has revealed. In a listing of the CEC members’ biographies, CEC secretary-general Maggie Cheng claims that she arranged the CEC delegation meetings in Washington in 2011 and brags of the Washington elites with which the CEC met. The showcase name was Vice President Joe Biden.
Hunter Biden would also personally signal to Chinese officials that a deal he wanted was important to his father when he became involved in another financial venture called Burnham Asset Management. The venture included his friend Devon Archer and a businessman named Jason Galanis. They were in active communication with Henry Zhao, who had helped launch BHR. Zhao was eager to use his company, Harvest Global, in which he was partners with the daughter of the former head of Chinese intelligence, to strike more deals with Hunter.
“Henry we believe, is still interested in doing the JV deal if a fair evaluation of Burnham can be agreed to and if YOU as a deal maker are inside Burnham,” wrote James Bulger to Hunter and Schwerin in October 2014. He added, “Henry holds you in very high regard.” But even outside of the Burnham deal, Zhao seemed eager to cut deals with the son of the vice president. “Henry remains committed to also making something work with myself and Hunter outside of this Burnham matter as mentioned before,” Bulger later wrote to them. “He has a few interesting ideas.”
On a previous occasion, Zhao apparently suggested ways to structure a deal “thereby putting money directly into our pockets.”
“I look forward to seeing you soon—in Beijing or in U.S.,” Zhao wrote to Hunter. “And thank you very much for the picture frame you sent over! I will put our photo in it.”
Hunter Biden was all in, happy to be working with Harvest. “I know that we all look forward to participating in the building of Harvest’s global platform,” he wrote Zhao in April 2016. “Burnham can have no greater partner than Harvest and I am honored that you chose to partner with us on this.”
It does appear clear that Hunter solicited a $15 million investment from Zhao, saying as an inducement that the investment was “important to his family,” a likely reference to his father.
It is not possible to know the full extent of Hunter Biden’s financial ties to Harvest, but court documents indicate that Zhao’s firm sent $5 million to Burnham. “Harvest finance has instructed bank to wire the fund to you today,” a Harvest executive wrote to Hunter in early 2016. “You should receive it in a day or two.” As we will see, several other partners corroborate Hunter’s paternal name-dropping in other arrangements involving Chinese firms.
Between these two deals, Hunter had received some $25 million from Chinese businessmen who were tied to the highest levels of Chinese intelligence. There would be more.
Joe Biden regularly met with his son’s foreign clients, particularly those from China and Ukraine. Several of these meetings were held “off the books,” meaning they do not show up on White House visitor logs. Beyond the gathering in 2011 with Chinese executives in the White House, the email record suggests that Joe Biden also met with Burisma “fixer” Vadym Pozharskyi. (Burisma was paying Hunter $1 million a year at the time.) “Dear Hunter,” he wrote to Biden in April 2015, “thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together. It’s realty an honor and pleasure.” Biden’s spokespeople have not denied that Biden may have met Pozharskyi, instead claiming that any such meeting would have been “informal” and “cursory.”
Hunter Biden’s business associates spoke candidly in emails about Hunter Biden’s unique role in the business, tied to his high-level access to the White House. This was particularly the case when it came to Chinese deals. In an email on November 4, 2014, Jason Galanis discussed a draft pitch he was preparing for possible investors. “I wanted to focus on the ‘other currency’ we are bringing to the table. . . . direct [Obama] administration pipeline.”
One important part of that political network was Max Baucus, who served as U.S. ambassador to China. Baucus, as you recall, served in the U.S. Senate alongside Joe Biden for many years. We will learn more about Ambassador Baucus and his financial arrangements with Beijing in chapter 6. As Hunter wrote to his business partners, “On Baucus- we have a very very good relationship and I can ask anything we need.”
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Hunter’s new connections at the highest levels of power in Beijing became a calling card for prospective clients and investors for his firm. John DeLoche, who ran the Hunter-linked firm Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners, wrote the following in a May 2014 email to a prospective client, copying Hunter. “We have deep relationships in China and could introduce you to a number of potential partners including China Investment Corporation (CIC), a $400bn sovereign wealth fund as well as several other potential investors/partners. Hunter and Devon spend a lot of time in the region and will come back to us with a full list of potential intros for your thoughts next week.”
Stateside, Chinese state-owned conglomerates were soon coming to Hunter’s small firm looking for help. Another Chinese sovereign wealth fund (CITIC) approached Rosemont and asked Hunter Biden for introductions to U.S. companies, some involving strategic industries where Beijing was looking to expand. In one instance, Chinese investors wanted to get into the aviation business. “She [the CITIC executive] kept emphasizing how much money they have and are willing to commit to these ventures, Schwerin wrote to Hunter in May 2014.
Vice President Joe Biden continued to emphasize in his discussions that China was not a rival or a threat to the United States and that a rising China was good for America. As he said in May 2011, “a rising China is a positive, positive development, not only for China but for America and the world writ large.”
Meanwhile, Hunter was becoming involved in an increasing number of Chinese deals that served the national goals of Beijing in its competition with the United States. One deal involved a plan to buy the Greek national railway (TrainOSE), which was being privatized. Hunter Biden and his business partners were planning to do so with Chinese money. Beijing would finance the deal, and he and his partners would make it happen. It would be a strategically important move for the Chinese government, and the involvement of Hunter’s firm would probably make the deal more palatable for Western governments who were increasingly concerned about the growing influence of Beijing in Europe.
Who was Hunter’s Chinese partner? It was the China Ocean Shipping Corporation (COSCO), a state-controlled firm with deep ties to the Chinese military. Some military strategists call the company the “fifth arm of the Chinese Navy.”
China’s President Xi was particularly proud of the role COSCO was playing in Europe. “COSCO is the dragon’s head for China in Greece,” he proclaimed.
COSCO already owned most of a Greek port in Piraeus, and part of their geostrategic plan was to invest in infrastructure projects from the western Balkans leading to the port. The United States had major concerns that Chinese state-linked firms were making inroads in central Europe in a way that would provide Beijing with a strategic advantage. (Harvard’s Philippe Le Corre testified before the U.S. Congress that the COSCO-owned port in Greece is a regional “hub” of China’s New Silk Road.) Analysts also note that China’s “string of pearls” strategy was designed to use ports across the region to “mount a challenge” to the U.S. Navy.
Buying the Greek railroad system would help Beijing even further. The “new route of Chinese products via Piraeus port is 8 days faster than any other route to central Europe,” assured Paris Kokorotsikos in an email to Hunter and his business partners. The arrangement was simple: COSCO would pay for everything and finance 100 percent of the purchase price of the rail passenger business. As a result, Hunter Biden and his partners would be able to “make money without any investment.” COSCO did not object.
Hunter’s Greek partner was an old family friend: Michael Karloutsos, the son of Father Alex Karloutsos, a senior official in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The Karloutsoses and the Bidens had a strong friendship going back decades. They first met in 1980. Father Alex’s wife serves on the board of directors of the Beau Biden Foundation. When Biden was elected president in 2020, Father Alex had to dispel rumors that he would join the incoming administration.
The deal with COSCO to buy the Greek railroad fell through. The Italian National Railway outbid the Chinese–Hunter Biden partners for the assets. 105 But Hunter’s willingness to participate in deals that would benefit Beijing geostrategically was becoming a pattern. And there were other deals with COSCO that would be secured.
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Hunter cofounded a real estate company with Devon Archer and other partners called Rosemont Realty. They held commercial real estate properties throughout the United States. Hunter had tried to find investors on his 2011 trip to China and Taiwan, explaining that “some of the United State’s wealthiest families have entrusted Rosemont Realty to manage real estate investments for years.” But he apparently got little or no interest.
In 2014, as the deals with Beijing were beginning to bear fruit, Hunter and his partners received an “unsolicited offer” from a Hong Kong–based firm called Gemini Investments to buy the real estate business. According to internal emails, “It’s a unique conduit for Chinese investors as well looking to deploy capital in the U.S. in real estate.”
Gemini’s pedigree was similar to the other companies Hunter was dealing with: they had deep intelligence or military connections. In the case of Gemini, the parent company was then called Sino-Ocean Land (now Sino-Ocean Group), and was “one of the largest real estate companies in Beijing.” The chairman of Sino-Ocean Land was also the chairman of COSCO. It is a state-owned entity. According to several governments, including Japan, “Chinese intelligence services are closely linked” to COSCO. This would be yet another large deal that Hunter and his partners secured with Chinese espionage-linked firms.
How much the Chinese firm paid for Rosemont is hard to know. Gemini bought a 75 percent stake in the company. The terms included a $3 billion commitment from the Chinese to inject capital into the company. According to Hunter Biden’s emails, he retained his stake in Rosemont even with the new Chinese ownership. It is not clear how much money he made in the deal.
In 2015, Hunter Biden received a $188,616.56 payment from Rosemont Realty. It is not known what other monies might have come his way or whether he still holds a stake in the company.
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In December 2015, Hunter Biden was approached by Vuk Jeremic, who served as Serbian foreign minister and had worked with Vice President Joe Biden. Jeremic later became head of the UN General Assembly. He wanted to set up a private meeting with one of China’s wealthiest and most connected businessmen. “On Sunday, December 6, I will have a private dinner in DC with an old friend from China – Ye Jiemaing [Jianming] – one of the 10 wealthiest Chinese businessmen. He is the Chairman and majority owner of CEFC China Energy, a second-largest privately owned company on Shanghai stock exchange,” Jeremic wrote to Eric Schwerin. “He’s very young and dynamic (39), with the top-level connections in his country.” This was not the only attempt to connect Ye and Hunter.
Schwerin responded: “It is interesting that you raised the CEFC Chairman. We actually were approached by an acquaintance of Hunter’s about setting up a meeting for Hunter with the same gentleman for next week as well. We weren’t sure if it was worthwhile but the fact that he is friend’s with you makes us feel better about this.”
Ye is thin, handsome, and is usually found in a well-tailored suit. Even in Chinese circles, he is an enigma, where there are wild speculations about how he became one of China’s biggest financial players at such a young age. As we will see, his “top-level connections” include the Chinese intelligence service and the military.
Hunter Biden developed a close working relationship with Ye on a number of fronts. As Hunter explained to his business partner Tony Bobulinski in text messages, he spoke with Ye on a “regular basis” because “we have a standing once a week call as I am also his personal counsel (we signed an attorney client engagement letter) in the U.S.” Hunter also said he was advising Ye “on a number of his personal issues (staff visas and some more sensitive things).”
Hunter also worked with Ye and his associates with the hopes of developing CEFC into a global energy company with vast energy holdings in countries like Oman, Romania, Colombia, and Luxembourg. Hunter was central to this effort and was responsible for “writing to all parties and organizing meetings to continue CEFC promote [sic], as well as approving step-by-step strategic and operational elements.”
Like Che Feng, Henry Zhao, and companies like COSCO, Ye’s strong ties to Chinese intelligence are worth noting.
CEFC was housed in a complex in Shanghai’s French Concession section, an area “primarily controlled by China’s military.” One of Ye’s early business partners was the granddaughter of “one of the founders of China’s military,” Marshal Ye Jianying.
The corporate logo of the company Hunter Biden was now advising, and which would pay him millions, features a star. According to company records on its English website, it represents “civil rights.” However, on the company’s Chinese-language site, the star signifies that “this organization will play a strong and powerful role for the interests of the Chinese state and nation.”
Ye built his business by acquiring assets from Lai Changxing, a former PLA officer closely linked with Chinese military intelligence. Lai reportedly drove a bulletproof Mercedes around Beijing with a license plate adorned with a distinctive Chinese character in red—an indication that his car was owned by the PLA General Staff.
Ye has other connections to the Chinese government’s military, intelligence, and political apparatus. He was the deputy secretary-general of either the China Association for International Friendly Contact (CAIFC) or CAIFC’s Shanghai branch from 2003 to 2005. CAIFC is funded by Chinese PLA intelligence. Finally, there are Chinese military officers affiliated with Ye’s company who are also tied to the PLA National Defense University. 125 Beyond the military and intelligence ties, CEFC has also cosponsored events with neo-Maoist and hardline nationalists in China who want to radically expand Beijing’s global reach. 126 The CEFC funded a related nonprofit think tank called the China Energy Fund Committee. 127 While the Fund Committee sponsored events and research advocating China’s territorial claims, another subsidiary, the China Institute of Culture, pledged support for Taiwan’s reunification with mainland China. 128 One China Energy Fund Committee analyst, Long Tao, wrote a piece for the government-linked Global Times in 2011 titled The present is a golden opportunity to use force in the South China Sea. The piece was blunt and is worth quoting at length:
- “One should not be afraid of small-scale wars, for they are a good way to release fighting potential. By fighting several small wars one can avoid a large war. . . . The South China Sea region has more than 1,000 oil and gas wells, but none of them belong to China. There are four airports in the Spratly Islands, but Mainland China does not have one. China has no other important economic installations. Leaving aside the issue of winning and losing, as soon as war commences the South China Sea will inevitably become a sea of fire. When those towering oil drilling platforms become flaming torches, who will be hurt the most? As soon as the fighting begins, all those Western oil and gas companies will inevitably withdraw, so who will lose the most? . . . As far as China is concerned, this is the best battleground.
In brief, Hunter Biden was now the U.S. representative for an intelligence- and military-linked Chinese company that was supporting voices calling for an aggressive military posture against the United States and its allies.
The red flashing lights blink on.
Ye’s companies and affiliates have conducted several joint programs with the People’s Liberation Army General Political Department Liaison Department advancing Beijing’s political interests around the globe.
Ye was at the center of Beijing’s economic strategy. His firm, CEFC, saw itself as playing an important and central role in advancing China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which was designed to expand Chinese economic and political influence worldwide. Accordingly, CEFC was also an oil supplier to the People’s Liberation Army.