Chinese nationals with government ties reportedly donated to Trump’s reelection

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  • Shortly after Donald Trump became president, Chinese nationals linked to the Chinese government donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to reelect Donald Trump in an attempt to get closer to the president, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
  • The Journal identified four Chinese nationals with ties to the Chinese government who met President Trump and other Republican lawmakers. Two of the men donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Trump fundraising campaign, The Journal said.
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Chinese nationals linked to the Chinese government have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trump's reelection campaign in an attempt to get closer to the president, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The efforts to gain political access came shortly after Trump took office, but have "stalled," The Journal reported, given the trade war between the US and China and then the coronavirus.

The Journal conducted interviews, looked at campaign-finance records, Chinese government websites, and US corporate filings in its reporting. The report said it was unclear if any contributions or activities conducted by the Chinese nationals violated US laws, though federal law prohibits political donations by foreign entities.

According to The Journal, several of the Chinese nationals mentioned in the report worked closely with the Chinese government and briefed high-ranking Chinese officials about their activities. It added that most of the political donations it identified were provided to a fundraising committee called Trump Victory and were among the largest donations made in 2017.

The Journal identified a man named David Tian Wang as "a pro-Trump organiser" who was a Chinese citizen with a US green card. Wang founded a group called Chinese Americans for Trump and was well-connected to people and groups supported by the Chinese government, the outlet said.

Sources told The Journal that Wang was approached by officials from China's consulate in Los Angeles after the 2016 election and was asked to help with Chinese lobbying efforts. He also donated $150,000 (R2 million) to Trump Victory, The Journal said, citing Federal Election Commission disclosures.

"He became a frequent presence in Republican circles," The Journal said.

In May 2017, Wang attended a Republican National Committee leadership meeting in San Diego along with three men linked to China's government, according to the report. At the meeting, GOP leaders "discussed campaign strategies and other issues," The Journal said.

One of the men, Zhao Gang, was identified by The Journal as a researcher for China's Ministry of Science and Technology.

Another man, identified in the report as Tang Ben, is a Chinese-born US citizen who served as an executive member at the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association, a Beijing-based think tank led by a retired Chinese military general. According to The Journal, Tang and his wife donated $300,000 (R5 million) to Trump Victory, which allowed him to attend a fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel in Washington in June 2017.

The third man, Wu Guangsheng, was identified by The Journal as "the chairman of a state-backed Chinese producer of military communications and satellite equipment."

The Chinese government and China's Embassy in Washington did not respond to The Journal for comment. The Federal Election Commission declined to comment on the men's attendance at the Republican meeting.

The White House did not immediately respond to Business Insider with information on whether Trump was aware of the political contributions or if Trump knew of the donors' ties to the Chinese government.

China has been accused of political espionage in other countries, including Australia, which passed laws against foreign interference in 2018. China has denied Australia's claims.

China is not the first country accused of meddling in US politics as of late. Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers in February that Russia was working to get Trump reelected. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have also been accused of attempting to buy influence over Trump's policies.

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