Congressman calls out Georgetown University over China-linked funding

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher is calling out Georgetown University over funding the college has received from a foreign company with ties to China‘s Communist Party.

In a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Nov. 30, Gallagher questioned a $10 million donation given to Georgetown from China’s Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group in January 2016, which was meant to establish the Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues, an institution for the “cultivation of shared approaches to questions…around the globe.” 

An October report by the Education Department noted that the CP Group “has ties to the Chinese government through multibillion dollar agreements.” However, Gallagher argues that the report does not adequately explain how CP group officials are directly tied to the Chinese Communist Party’s “international influence apparatus.”

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According to Gallagher, the former head of the CP group, Dhanin Chearavanont, is “one of the CCP’s oldest and most important friends in the diaspora,” citing a diaspora work conference organized by the United Front Work Department in which he was recognized for his “contributions to China’s rise.” 

“At the conference — which was headlined by addresses by Xi Jinping and other senior CCP officials — the head of the UFWD made Cheravanont a senior officer in the China Overseas Friendship Association, one of the most important front organization front organizations used by the UFWD to extend and consolidate its control over the diaspora,” Gallagher said.

He also noted that the head of CP Group’s real estate and investment businesses, vice-chairman Yang Xiaoping, is a member of the standing committee of the Chinese Association for International Understanding (CAIFU), which he claims is run directly by the CCP’s International Liaison Department and is “a vehicle for “people-to-people” diplomacy, allowing the CCP to engage political parties, prominent figures, and governments around the world without revealing the Party’s guiding role.”

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As a result of the ties, Gallagher is demanding the Department of Education give “close scrutiny” to the CP group’s “potentially risky” gift to Georgetown. 

“This gift is of particular concern because the Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues employs in senior roles former senior U.S. officials who held key roles relating to U.S. policy towards China,” he said. “Some may again hold key positions in the future, raising concerns that the CCP may be using proxies to weaponize the “revolving door” between the public and private sector to elevate individuals more inclined to advocate that the U.S. prioritize cooperation with a brutal dictatorship over taking determined action to check its excesses.”

He also is asking the Department to “further investigate the impacts of this eight-figure gift with respect to personnel decision making, work programs, and contacts between employees of the Center and CCP members.”

“I believe this should also prompt a review of the foreign gift and contract disclosure requirements imposed by the Higher Education Act of 1965 to ensure, especially when a gift or contract involves the CCP or its proxies and agents, the most transparent possible disclosure requirements are involved and this information is promptly shared across the U.S. national security enterprise,” he concluded.

The two-term congressman also took note of the position of  U.S.universities which “are on the front line of this fight. I know you agree no federal agency can remain on the sidelines in the face of this campaign, and I trust the Department of Education’s determination to remain vigilant against the CCP’s insidious tools.”

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Both Georgetown University and the Education Department did not immediately return FOX News’ requests for comment.