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The George H.W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations agreed to accept $5 million from a group with ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China’s international propaganda efforts, according to a report Saturday.
The group, which was founded by Neil Bush, a brother to former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, goes by the name Bush China Foundation for short. Its goal, according to its website, is to build “a constructive relationship” between the U.S. and China.
But a written agreement published by Axios reveals that the Bush China Foundation agreed in 2019 to accept $5 million over five years from the China-United States Exchange Foundation, an organization that’s been criticized as a key part of China’s international propaganda efforts.
“We are proud of our partnership with CUSEF and deeply appreciative of CUSEF’s generous support,” Leslie Reagan, a spokesperson for the Bush China Foundation, said, according to Axios. “(T)he Bush China Foundation has staked out a very strong independent posture on virtually all of the major issues in the U.S.-China relationship; in the process, we have frequently leveled sharp criticism of Chinese policies and actions when we believe that has been merited.”
China’s President Xi Jinping speaks during a bilateral meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 7, 2017. Tensions between China and the U.S. escalated during the Trump administration and have only intensified during the Biden administration.
The written agreement published by Axios notably stipulates that the grant does not obligate the Bush China Foundation to take any positions on any issues and that all Bush China Foundation decisions will be made “at its sole discretion.”
CUSEF presents itself as an independent nonprofit. But according to the right-leaning, hawkish Jamestown Foundation, it functions essentially as a front group for the Chinese Communist Party.
CUSEF’s chairman is also the vice-chairman of another group that is “a patriotic united front organization of the Chinese people, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.” Other top officials are CUSEF are also tied closely with the CCP, according writings last year by the think tank the Jamestown Foundation.
Therefore, the Jamestown Foundation said, CUSEF “in actuality functions as a de facto front organization for the PRC government.”
The revelation comes amid growing tensions between the United States and China over issues ranging from cyberattacks to Taiwan to human rights. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Trump-era predecessor Mike Pompeo both say that China is committing genocide against the Uyghur Muslims.
The Bush China Foundation did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News, which included a question about whether it agrees that China is guilty of genocide.
The Bush China foundation is far from the only target of China’s propaganda efforts in America. Confucius Institutes in U.S. colleges and even high schools are one of the most high-profile examples of China aiming to shape Americans’ thought.
This screenshot purportedly shows hundreds of prisoners shackled and blindfolded who are believed to be from China’s minority Uighur Muslims, reports claim.
(War on Fear/ Twitter)
And China has been aggressive in both propaganda and economic diplomacy with American allies, especially as it looks to stake a larger claim in the Arctic region.
But the fact a well-respected organization connected with a family that’s considered an American political dynasty is accepting money from a “de facto” Chinese “front organization” underscores the aggressiveness of China’s foreign influence programs as the two countries are locked in a major power struggle.
Corporations in the United States that do business with China, from Disney to the National Basketball Association to Beijing Olympics sponsors Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola, are also coming under increasing scrutiny.
Rep. Mike Walz, R-Fla., recently introduced a bill to ban American companies from sponsoring the 2022 Olympics in China.
“By financially supporting the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, both American and other global corporations are complicit in whitewashing the ongoing genocide against Chinese ethnic and religious minorities in the Xinjiang region, repression against their own people, the attempted coverup of the COVID-19 pandemic, media censorship, the repression of democratic rights in Hong Kong and Tibet, and threats against the free democracy in Taiwan,” he said.
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