The University of Pennsylvania received over $500,000 from a company that serves as an investment arm of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after it opened Joe Biden’s think tank in 2018, according to the university’s foreign gift reporting records.
Between 2018 and 2020, China Everbright Group, a “state-owned financial conglomerate,” donated $523,840 to the University of Pennsylvania following the February 2018 launch of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, according to UPenn’s foreign gift reporting records. China Everbright Group was founded in 1983 with the backing of the State Council, which is composed by the heads of each Chinese government ministry and is China’s “supreme organ of state power,” according to the Chinese government.
Moreover, China Everbright Group also appears to have ties to Hunter Biden’s Chinese business ventures, according to multiple financial disclosures.
At the time of the UPenn donations, state-owned Central Huijin Investment Ltd. held a majority of China Everbright Group’s shares, according to Chinese state-owned bank records for 2018, 2019 and 2020.
The State Council appoints the board of directors and supervisors for Central Huijin Investment, which invests “in accordance with authorization by the State Council,” Huijin’s website states.
In October 2018, China Everbright Group donated $18,140 to UPenn, according to foreign gift reporting records released by Fox News Tuesday, which were obtained by Americans for Public Trust.
Two months later, China Everbright Group made another $314,110 donation to UPenn in December 2018, foreign gift reporting records show.
The following year, China Everbright Group made a third donation of $191,590 to UPenn in September 2019, according to the records.
China Everbright Group also has links to Hunter Biden’s business dealings, according to financial disclosures.
China Everbright Group was listed as “parent company” of China Everbright Bank in 2014, according to multiple reports. In turn, 2014 SEC filings show that China Everbright Bank was a “major investor” for Bohai Harvest RST, where Hunter Biden served as “board member” at the time.
Meanwhile, China Everbright Bank’s former “international business department” head, Hua Zhixiang, has been listed as an “investment partner” on Bohai Harvest’s website since 2015 and remains currently listed as such.
In addition to China Everbright Group’s donations to UPenn, on May 16, Fox News identified over $7 million that UPenn received from Chinese sources linked to Hunter Biden after the Penn Biden Center was established.
Based in Washington, D.C., the Penn Biden Center aims to “develop and advance smart policy and strengthen the national debate for continued American global leadership in the 21st century,” according to its website.
Last week, the House Oversight Committee released a report detailing how foreign money flowed through a web of companies to Biden family members’ bank accounts as part of an alleged “influence peddling” scheme. Among other things, the House report alleges that, in 2017, “Chinese nationals and companies with significant ties to Chinese intelligence” attempted to conceal the source of a $100,000 wire transfer to Hunter Biden’s “professional corporation” called Owasco P.C.
In the past, the U.S. government has alleged that China Everbright Group harbors ties to Chinese intelligence and influence operations.
For example, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) identified China Everbright Group’s vice-chairman and president, Gao Yunlong, as one of 26 Chinese government officials affiliated with the CCP’s “United Front” in 2018.
The CCP uses so-called “United Front” work to “co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling CCP,” according to USCC, and its activities “are coordinated by the CCP’s United Front Work Department.”
The FBI recently described the United Front Work Department as “an entity that reports directly to the Central Committee of the CCP and works to further the CCP’s goals,” in a May 2023 press release.
UPenn’s spokesperson told the DCNF by email that the university “reported all foreign contributions as required and they have been publicly available on the Department of Education website for some time.”
“No foreign funds were contributed anonymously and no foreign funds were directed to the Penn Biden Center,” the spokesperson wrote.
However, UPenn’s spokesperson declined to explain the university’s policy for accepting donations from the Chinese government.
China Everbright Group also came under scrutiny for its alleged ties to influence peddling and CCP influence operations in the 1990s, according to multiple reports.
In 1998, Republican congressional investigators alleged that China Everbright Group directed at least $30,000 of illegal funds into the Democratic National Committee’s 1996 campaign coffers through President Bill Clinton’s fundraiser, Charlie Trie, The Washington Post reported.
Although China Everbright Group’s culpability in the 1996 DNC campaign financing scandal remains unclear, Trie ultimately pled guilty to violating federal election laws in 1999 related to his role in funneling more than $600,000 to the DNC from China, according to The Washington Post.
The White House did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s request for comment.
Hunter Biden could not be reached for comment.
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