In CongressIn The News

Dem Rep Listed As ‘Co-Chair’ Of Yet Another Nonprofit With Ties To Chinese Communist Party

California Democratic Rep. Judy Chu is listed as the “co-chair” of an organization that includes several members with ties to alleged Chinese Communist Party (CCP) overseas influence operations, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found.

In 2014, Chu, who the DCNF previously discovered was listed as a member of two other nonprofits with apparent ties to Chinese intelligence, joined the “International Federation of Chamber of Commerce [sic]” (IFCC), an organization that shares a website and personnel with the California-based 501(c)(6) nonprofit U.S.-Chinese General Chamber of Commerce (UCCC), according to UCCC’s website and images from IFCC’s launch. Chu is currently listed as “co-chair” on UCCC’s website. By its own admission, UCCC and IFCC have cooperated with Chinese government agencies and CCP bureaus that the U.S. government has identified as influence operations, and since 2014, at least six of their leaders have variously served as members of the CCP, the Chinese government and/or alleged Chinese intelligence front groups.

The DCNF located Chu’s Chinese name, Zhao Meixin, within a New York Times article and matched it with photos and records on UCCC’s website in order to determine the congresswoman’s affiliation with IFCC. Chu, UCCC and IFCC did not respond to multiple requests for comment over the course of ten days.

The DCNF previously revealed Rep. Chu accepted honorary positions at both the All America Chinese Youth Federation and the Forums for Peaceful Reunification of China, two California-based organizations with CCP ties. Despite photographic evidence of the congresswoman accepting letters of appointment from the groups’ leaders, in a Feb. 14 statement, Chu denied any affiliation, and suggested that the groups used her name without permission. Chu repeated the denial in a Feb. 24 Washington Post article, where she and other House Democrats blamed “anti-Asian racism” for the reporting.

In much the same way, photos found on UCCC’s website show Rep. Chu accepting a framed “Letter Of Appointment” from the group while on stage during the launch of its IFCC subchapter on December 18, 2014 at the Pacific Palms Conference Resort in California’s City of Industry.

IFCC was established as an international alliance for Chinese chambers of commerce in order to promote cooperation and facilitate the expansion of Chinese businesses around the globe, according to UCCC’s website.

Since 2015, Chu has been listed as IFCC’s “co-chair,” according to a DCNF translation of UCCC’s website. Likewise, a 2019 promotional video from UCCC shows a framed photo of Chu hanging alongside the nonprofit’s leaders on a wall at UCCC’s California headquarters.

UCCC claims its purpose is to support the “sacred mission of helping” some 1,000 Chinese brands enter the U.S. market, according to its promotional video. UCCC markets itself as possessing the global network to accomplish its mission, boasting six branches across China in addition to its California headquarters.

Although it remains unclear what specific duties IFCC’s “co-chairs” perform, since joining, Chu has participated in multiple events hosted by the nonprofit, including events in 2016 and 2017. Chu reportedly either delivered speeches and/or handed out certificates of congressional recognition during those events, the DCNF found.

One such event featured a Chinese government “propaganda film” that, in part, promoted local police, according to Chinese government and news reports.

UCCC has also hosted events featuring Chinese agencies accused by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission and others of conducting foreign intelligence work for the CCP. These agencies include the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and the United Front Work Department (UFWD). The non-profit’s website features several photographs of these events.

‘Should Set Off Alarm Bells’

Chinese government officials have apparently been interacting with IFCC from its inception, a record of the non-profit’s December 2014 launch ceremony shows.

For example, Wang Lei, the deputy consul general from the Los Angeles Chinese Consulate, delivered a speech on stage during IFCC’s 2014 launch ceremony after Rep. Chu spoke, according to footage from the event.

In recent years, China’s embassies and consulates have come under fire for allegedly supporting CCP espionage efforts. The State Department even ordered the Chinese Consulate in Houston shuttered back in July 2020 to “protect American intellectual property and America’s private information.”

In addition to Chinese Consulate personnel, a sub-provincial United Front Work Department deputy director named Yang Zhihong also attended IFCC’s 2014 launch ceremony, according to UCCC’s website.

UCCC has also hosted at least one event in conjunction with China’s Ministry of Public Security, a photo on the nonprofit’s website as well as UCCC’s 2019 promotional video shows.

The Ministry of Public Security’s “core functions” include “counterintelligence and political security,” according to a 2022 paper written by Alex Joske, former Australian Strategic Policy Institute expert on Chinese intelligence. Additionally, the agency plays a key role in the surveillance of political dissidents and persecuted minorities such as Tibetans and Uyghurs, according to the U.S. State Department.

Although it remains unclear when the meeting between the Ministry of Public Security and UCCC occurred, a DCNF translation of the caption to the photo showing the meeting in question on UCCC’s website states that a Ministry of Public Security director of customs led a “high-level investigation team” to meet with UCCC members.

Ina Mitchell, co-author of “Mosaic Effect,” told the DCNF that “UCCC is acting as a facilitator between American authorities and the CCP regime — this alone should set off alarm bells.”

Brandon Weichert, a U.S. Air Force consultant and the author of “Biohacked: China’s Race To Control Life,” told the DCNF that in addition to a “counterintelligence commitment,” the Ministry of Public Security is also tasked with keeping tabs on overseas Chinese to make sure that individuals “don’t step out of line.”

“Under the guise of returning corrupt Chinese nationals to China to face criminal charges,” the Ministry of Public Security actually sends officers abroad to hunt Chinese dissidents as part of the CCP’s “covert global operations,” Mitchell said.

The Ministry of Public Security is responsible for overseeing operations “Sky Net” and “Fox Hunt,” clandestine programs that allegedly aim to “repatriate corrupt officials” and “suspected financial fugitives,” according to the CCP State Council website.

However, experts cited recent Department of Justice cases where the Ministry of Public Security targeted Chinese dissidents in the U.S. under the guise of Sky Net and Fox Hunt.

‘Friends In Low Places’

Since Rep. Chu joined IFCC in 2014, several UCCC members have belonged to groups identified by experts as fronts for the United Front Work Department — a “Chinese intelligence service” tasked with overseeing CCP influence operations that uses “dual hatted officials working in more than one role” to advance China’s global political agenda, according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

UCCC’s website features multiple photos showing meetings between group president Jack Chen, whose Chinese name is Chen Jinjie, and two former “executive vice chairwomen” from the China Overseas Exchange Association (COEA), Qiu Yuanping and Li Haifeng. Both these women belong to the CCP, according to DCNF translations of Chinese government records.

Multiple experts recently told the DCNF that COEA is a United Front Work Department front group whose members are expected to perform influence work overseas to advance the objectives of the CCP. In 2019, COEA was subsumed by the China Overseas Friendship Association (COFA), which the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission characterized as “the UFWD China Overseas Friendship Association.”

Chen did not respond to multiple DCNF requests for comment.

Moreover, since Chu joined IFCC, two UCCC advisory committee members have belonged to the alleged United Front Work Department front groups, COEA and COFA.

Chester Chong, whose Chinese name is Zhuang Peiyuan, has served on UCCC’s advisory committee since 2013, archived versions of the nonprofit’s website show. Overlapping with his UCCC role, COEA’s membership records listed Chong as a “director” between 2013 and 2017, according to a DCNF translation of the alleged United Front Work Department front group’s website.

The DCNF matched Chong’s profession of “chairman” at the Los Angeles Luo Province Chamber of Commerce found on UCCC’s website with Chong’s Chinese name and profession listed on COEA’s roster. Additionally, footage released by Chinese state-run media outlet China News Service shows Chong attending COEA’s September 2017 meeting in Beijing.

Chong, who formerly served as reserve commander of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, is also currently listed as a “director” of COEA’s successor organization, COFA. However, it’s unclear what Chong’s level of involvement has been with either COEA or COFA.

Scott McGregor, a Chinese intelligence expert and co-author of “The Mosaic Effect,” told the DCNF that the United Front Work Department might direct a member of COEA or COFA to “control public opinion” and make sure that “illicit CCP activity in the region is less scrutinized.”

Once a United Front Work Department agent manages to join local government they would then pose an “internal threat,” McGregor said, and potentially “open the door” to allow additional “operatives into law enforcement agencies.”

“Our security services always think so big,” Weichert told the DCNF. “It would be very beneficial to have friends in low places.”

Neither the LAPD nor Chong responded to multiple requests for comment.

‘Communist Party Loyalists’

Similarly, in addition to belonging to UCCC’s advisory board between 2013 and 2015, John Cheng, whose Chinese name is Cheng Yuan, also served as “executive director” of COEA between 2009 and 2017, according to a DCNF translation of the alleged United Front Work Department front group’s website.

The DCNF matched Cheng’s profession of “chairman” at the Chinese American Federation found on UCCC’s website with his Chinese name and profession listed on COEA’s rosters.

Furthermore, photos on the American Chinese National Chamber of Commerce website, where Cheng also serves as chairman, show Cheng meeting with COEA’s former “vice chairmanTan Tianxing as well as top CCP leaders, including General Secretary Xi Jinping and former United Front Work Department head Liu Yandong.

Cheng’s profile on the American Chinese National Chamber of Commerce website also states he served as a COFA “adviser” across China and was previously a representative to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

The CPPCC is an institution “under the leadership” of the CCP which serves as a “key component” of China’s “national governance system,” according to the agency’s website.

The U.S.-China Economic Security and Review Commission characterized the CPPCC as the “highest-ranking entity overseeing the United Front system” in 2018.

Mitchell told the DCNF that the CPPCC is a “patriotic united front organization” composed of “communist party loyalists” which “functions as an advisory board to the leadership of the CCP.”

In addition to Cheng, Rep. Chu’s IFCC “co-chair” Wang Linpeng is also a CPPCC representative in Beijing, Chinese government records reveal.

Beyond his CPPCC role, Wang is also a CCP member, and, in that capacity, serves as the party secretary of his company, Beijing Easyhome Investment Holdings Group, Chinese state-run media reported.

Another of Rep. Chu’s IFCC “co-chairs,” Li Zhenhui, chairman of Frog Prince International Holdings, served as a member of the Fujian Provincial People’s Congress, a CCP government organization, according to DCNF translations of multiple Chinese-language news outlets.

Cheng, Wang and Li did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

‘Elite Capture’

Several experts told the DCNF that the CCP systematically creates or co-opts purported “chambers of commerce,” like UCCC, to covertly advance China’s policy objectives.

“While they once had a role in building economic and diplomatic ties, organizations like UCCC and other Sino-U.S. business organizations now also serve as legitimate fronts for ‘elite capture’ by the CCP,” McGregor said after reviewing the UCCC’s website.

Nearly 30 Chinese chambers of commerce in the U.S. were identified as being “reasonably considered part of united front activities,” according to a 2019 Hoover Institution report on Chinese influence operations. However, it remains unclear if UCCC was among the organizations identified due to discrepancies between the groups’ listed English and Chinese names.

The CCP uses chambers of commerce to interface with “interest groups” outside the party in order to eventually integrate those groups into the CCP’s “general political and surveillance system,” according to a 2018 report by The Jamestown Foundation, a Washington, D.C. think tank.

Weichert described the CCP’s weaponization of purported “chambers of commerce” as “piggybacking.”

“The CCP is basically taking our open model of government, taking our free market, and they’re weaponizing it against us,” said Weichert.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact

Support Conservative Daily News with a small donation via Paypal or credit card that will go towards supporting the news and commentary you've come to appreciate.

Related Articles

Back to top button