An Indiana congressman alleges that the California Public Employee Pension Plan (Cal-PERS) is investing billions of U.S. dollars into the Chinese military and he’s calling for its manager to be fired over it.
Worse, Republican Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana says that the chief investment officer of Cal-PERS, Yu Ben Meng, “was actually recruited to the position by the CCP [Chinese Communist Party], through something called the Thousand Talents Program. Now he’s denied it…[but] we’ve found Chinese newspaper articles that take credit for him being in the position that he’s in currently.”
Congressman Banks claims that $3.1 billion of the California public employee retirement fund has gone into 172 Chinese companies, some of which are “blacklisted” by the U.S. government. Those dollars have funded Chinese warships, Chinese naval bases, and a company that builds surveillance technology used to track the Uighur Muslims.
Banks says “the more we’ve dug into this the more troubling it’s become.”
He said he’s afraid this kind of investment is happening all over the country but it’s the only case of a person who has actually “graduated from the Thousand Talents Program which makes it so clear and egregious and it’s happening right under [Governor] Gavin Newsom’s nose. If he doesn’t do something we have to ask the question ‘which side is he on?'”
The Thousand Talents Program is known as a Chinese “espionage operation.”
California has $300 billion in assets under management. It’s the largest state pension fund in the U.S.
The Trump administration has been leveling a multi-front offense against China.
Recently, a Harvard chemistry professor, Charles Lieber, was indicted for working with the same program. According to the indictment against him, Lieber was being paid $50,000 per month for his expertise in nanotechnology and was paid nearly $2 million to set up a lab in Wuhan. Harvard says it was a surprise to them.
Recently, Attorney General William Barr sounded the alarm on getting behind China in 5-G technology.
To our private sector friends, I would say that appeasing the PRC may come with short-term benefits, but I urge you to question the longstanding assumption that promises of market access are worth the steep costs. The PRC’s ultimate goal is to replace you with a Chinese company.
University and think-tank colleagues, do not allow the theft of technology under the guise of academic freedom. Do not allow the PRC to dictate your research or pressure you into ignoring diverse voices on controversial topics. Consider whether any sacrifice of academic integrity or freedom is worth the tradeoff.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned the National Governor’s Association that the Chinese government has assessed each governor on their attitude toward China and designated each one as “friendly, hard-line or ambiguous.” He also singled out the Florida retirement pension system for its investment in the company that makes the surveillance equipment that tracks Uighur Muslims.
President Trump recently announced Phase One of a deal with China.
You can watch Banks’ interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson here.