Election 2020: Joe Biden’s China Policy

This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Joe Biden and China

Some critics have called Donald Trump’s China trade deals a fail because it has not increased US exports to China and China has not made structural changes to its system. The reality is that Donald Trump negotiated good deals for the American people. China agreed to comply, but then reneged. The fact that China did not follow through should be proof that the deals were better for the US and worse for China than previous trade deals, like the ones under the Obama administration. Joe Biden claims he could do better; if the measure of better is compliance, then yes. If Biden negotiated a deal which was better for China, China would agree. And this is what Biden has done in the past.

In 2001, Biden supported China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Later, he helped China obtain Most Favored Nation trading status with the US. Since that time, the US has lost 60,000 factories and permanently lost 4 million jobs. When asked about his China policy,  Biden stated that he would reverse Trump’s tariffs on China. Later, a Biden aide took the podium and explained that the boss had misspoken. If Biden is planning to repeal the China tariffs, it would be disastrous for the US. It would mean returning to the Obama era when Chinese tariffs and restrictions on US exports were a multitude of US tariffs and restrictions on Chinese imports. It would also mean no return of manufacturing in the US and continued dependence on China for global supply chains.

Hunter Biden and the China Connection

When Biden was one of Obama’s policy chiefs regarding China, his son, Hunter Biden, was able to increase his own wealth by forging close ties to China’s state-owned banks. Hunter Biden accompanied Vice President Joe Biden on an official visit to China in 2013, aboard Air Force Two. In China, Hunter met with his business partner, Chinese banker Jonathan Li. Their state-backed private equity fund was issued a business license in Shanghai and Hunter Biden became a member of the board of directors. Eighty-percent of the shareholders of their company, Bohai Harvest RST (BHR Partners) were members of the Chinese government. Additionally, the company’s website claimed they were supported by the Bank of China, China Development Bank Capital, and other major Chinese financial institutions. Effectively, the company was a joint venture between Biden’s American firm Rosemont Seneca and China’s central bank, The Bank of China (BOC).

A Chinese state-backed real-estate conglomerate purchased a controling stake in Rosemont Realty, an affiliate of Rosemont Seneca – the company where Hunter was an advisor – in 2015. Working at the behest of the Communist Party of China, Hunter Biden’s company facilitated a Chinese purchase of $3 billion worth of US property. An example of Trump’s complaints about unfair trade, US entities are not allowed to buy property in China, but Hunter Biden is allowed to help a state-backed Chinese company purchase land in the US.

In 2017, Hunter Biden paid $420,000 to buy a 10% stake in the company. The past six years have seen the company invest about $2.5 billion in a variety of automotive, technology, energy, and mining companies. As part of China’s goal of military expansion, Chinese financial institutions are often tasked with investing in overseas military hardware and technology manufacturers. To this end, in 2015, Hunter’s firm partnered with Chinese state-owned military aviation contractor Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to purchase Henniges, an American “dual-use” parts manufacturer, which manufactured components with both civilian and military applications. The firm also entered funding arrangements with a major state-controlled Chinese military contractor, AVIC, producing fighter and bomber aircraft. AVIC had previously been accused of stealing a US drone system, as we well as technologies related to the US F-35 stealth fighter to be used in the Chinese J-31 aircraft.

Hunter and Co. invested in Megvii Technology Inc, a Chinese maker of facial recognition technology. The firm has been accused of human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR), which lead to the firm being blacklisted in the US. One of the most alarming investments of BHR and Hunter Biden was in China General Nuclear Power Company (CGN), which U.S. Department of Justice charged was engaged in unlawful development of special nuclear material outside the United States. CGN and three of its subsidiaries were also accused of attempting to steal US military technology. The firm was blacklisted by the US Department of Commerce in 2019; being added to Commerce Department’s “entity list” means American companies are now prohibited from selling products to CGN.