The Case of Hunter Biden
The definition of free trade with People’s Republic of China (PRC) has consistently been that US markets are wide-open to China, while their markets are restricted. Since China entered the WTO, a move supported by former Vice President Joe Biden, the US has lost 3.7 million jobs. Additionally, it was Joe Biden who pushed to allowed Chinese firms to list on US exchanges, enabling Chinese companies, including state-owned and state-controlled actors, to access trillions of dollars of funding. This includes money used to finance China’s People Liberation Army (PLA). In other words, this money is funding Communist China.
Joe Biden supported the North American Free Trade Agreement and Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deals while opposing President Donald Trump’s China tariffs. Over the past three decades, Mr. Biden has repeatedly stated that he interprets the rise of China as an opportunity for everyone to get rich. He seems to ignore the fact that this wealth comes at the expense of national security.
China and Hunter Profited from Joe Biden’s Position
As a direct result of his father’s policy decisions, Hunter Biden was able to increase his own wealth by forging close ties to China’s state-owned banks when his father was the Obama administration’s policy-leader, regarding both China and Ukraine. In 2015, a Chinese state-backed real-estate conglomerate purchased a controlling stake in Rosemont Realty, an affiliate of the company where Hunter was an advisor, Rosemont Seneca. The Chinese put up $3 billion to purchase commercial office property in the US. Foreign entities are not permitted to purchase land in China, but the US had no restrictions against a company, working at the behest of the Communist Party of China, purchasing $3 billion worth of US property. This in turn was providing funding directly to Communist China.
Many countries consider land to be a defense critical asset which they protect from foreign governments. It is this author’s opinion that the US should consider restricting land purchases by foreign governments, particularly belligerent states. Additionally, US citizens should not be permitted to facilitate these purchases which increase their personal wealth, while damaging the security of the country.
In 2013, Hunter Biden accompanied his father, then Vice President, on an official visit to China, aboard Air Force Two. At that time, he was already working on starting his private Chinese equity firm. During that trip, paid for by US taxpayers, Hunter met with Chinese banker, Jonathan Li, who was his partner in the fund. Shanghai authorities issued a Chinese business license for the fund 10 days later. Hunter was listed as a member of the board of directors. Both the South China Morning Post and the New York Times described the private equity fund as being state-backed. The company, Bohai Harvest RST (BHR Partners) is “80 percent mandated by shareholders in the Chinese government.” On its website, the company claimed to have “the support of the Bank of China, China Development Bank Capital, and other major Chinese financial institutions.” The New York Post described the company as a joint venture between Biden’s American firm Rosemont Seneca and China’s central bank, The Bank of China (BOC) thus making another connection to this arrangement bringing funding to Communist China.
More Democratic Political Connections
Having the participation of the Chinese government helped the firm obtain investment opportunities, while “Funds were backed by the Chinese government….The Chinese government was literally funding a business that it co-owned along with the sons of two of America’s most powerful decision makers.” This refers to Hunter Biden’s other business partner Chris Heinz who is the natural son of Senator John Heinz (D) of Pennsylvania and step-son of former Senator John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts.
After his father left office, in 2017, Hunter Biden bought a 10% stake in the company for $420,000. Over the past six years, the firm has invested about $2.5 billion in various automotive, technology, energy, and mining companies. In addition to enriching Hunter, this was also funding China.
The Military and Human Rights Threats
It is of great significance that Hunter Biden is in business with The Bank of China, as BOC plays a central role in the PRC’s development strategy, including funding its global and military expansion. Consequently, BHR has participated in furthering the objectives of the Communist Party of China. In 2015, together with Chinese state-owned military aviation contractor Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) BHR bought American “dual-use” parts manufacturer Henniges, a maker of components which had both civilian and military applications. A major Chinese military contractor, AVIC operates “under the direct control of the State Council” producing “fighter and bomber aircraft, transports, and drones — primarily designed to compete with the United States.” Previously, AVIC, had been accused of stealing a US drone system, as we well as stealing technologies related to the US F-35 stealth fighter to be used in their own aircraft, the J-31.
Another of the firms investments was in Megvii Technology Inc, a maker of facial recognition technology which Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported was being used for surveillance of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region. Megyi was briefly blacklisted by the US government, but then reinstated after the company provided additional evidence. Another BHR investment was in China General Nuclear Power Company (CGN), which was charged by the US Department of Justice with “conspiracy to unlawfully engage and participate in the production and development of special nuclear material outside the United States, without the required authorization from the US Department of Energy.” The US government also accused the company and three of its subsidiaries of attempting to steal US military technology. In August, 2019, the US Department of Commerce added China General Nuclear Power Group to the “entity list,” meaning American companies are now prohibited from selling products to CGN.
Serious Questions Need Answered
Hunter Biden stepped down from the company in late 2019, but questions remain: How close was Hunter Biden to the Chinese government? And, how much potential damage has he done to US security? Did the Chinese give Hunter preferential treatment in order to influence Joe Biden? How influential is/was Hunter in steering his father’s decision-making toward a pro-Beijing stance?
Much broader questions that need to be asked include: 1. Should it be legal for a private US citizen to enter into partnership with an entity controlled by a foreign government? 2. Should it be considered treason for a US company or person to partner with a foreign military and invest in the manufacture of that foreign country’s military and nuclear equipment? 3. Should engaging in this behavior preclude one from holding public office? And 4. Should Hunter Biden have been allowed to do this while receiving transportation, protection, and funding from the US government?
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