EXC: Harvard China Conference Collaborates With TikTok Parent Company & Chinese Military Proxies


Harvard University’s annual China Forum – which advocates for a closer U.S.-China relationship despite the national security and the economic threat it poses – collaborates with a host of Chinese Communist Party linked entities including TikTok parent company ByteDance and Tencent alongside Chinese military proxies Huawei and China Telecom.

Established in 1997, the conference brings together Chinese Communist Party (CCP) apparatchiks, Chinese and American business leaders, alongside academics and think-tankers at the forefront of the lobbying the U.S. to adopt a pro-China stance.

Speakers at the conference have insisted that “China continues to lead by example” and called the Trump administration’s crackdown on CCP infiltration and economic exploitation of American industry a “vituperative campaign” and “self-destructive American protectionism and xenophobia.”

In addition to the prestigious university, which has taken millions from the Chinese government and state-owned enterprises, U.S. entities collaborating on the venture include Microsoft, CNN, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Mitt Romney-linked Bain Capital.


A wide array of CCP-controlled companies are similarly listed as partners and sponsors including state-owned China Telecom, which has been identified as a Chinese military collaborator by the Department of Defense (DOD) since 1999, and state-run media outlets China Central Television Network, China Daily, and Xinhua News.

Tencent, whose WeChat app is set to be banned by the Trump administration and has been identified by the U.S. State Department as lacking the “ability to tell the Chinese Communist Party no if officials decide to ask for their assistance,” is also a partner. And the parent company of TikTok ByteDance – faced with a ban tantamount to Tencent – has volunteered its Senior Vice President Liu Zhen as a speaker.

Huawei, banned by the Trump administration for providing the CCP backdoor access to its devices and user data, has also sponsored the event and even sent company executives to speak. Akin to China Telecom, Huawei has been designated a Chinese military proxy per the DOD.

What’s more, the daughter of Huawei’s founder and the company’s Chief Financial Officer, who’s awaiting extradition to the U.S. for alleged violation of sanctions, appeared in the forum’s 20-year anniversary video to praise the initiative.

Huawei’s Sabrina “Meng” Wanzhou, indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice, extended her support for the program on its 20 year anniversary
Huawei sponsoring 2018 China Forum

Past speakers at the China Forum include high-level CCP apparatchiks such as Former Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, and CCP-funding Hillhouse Capital founder Zhang Lei.

Former U.S. diplomats including George W. Bush-era Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson have also spoken.

Presidents from the foremost pro-China lobby organizations – Asia Society and The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations – have also addressed the conference.

Advisors to the initiative include Tony Saich, who oversees Harvard’s Ash Center for Innovation and Diplomacy which the National Pulse recently exposed for taking millions from the CCP and training party officials from Chinese paramilitary organizations sanctioned by the Trump administration for human rights abuses.

Alongside Saich, Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post sits on the board and has also spoken at the forum.

Huffington sharing her participation in Harvard’s China Forum on Instagram

The event euphemistically bills itself as hosting “a constructive dialogue on the challenges, trends, and issues affecting China” and forging business connections between Harvard students and Chinese companies.

For example, the winner of the forum’s 2016 start-up competition, went on to receive $5 million from CCP-linked Tencent, a development proudly displayed on Harvard China Forum’s website.

In reality, the initiative only grants CCP-linked entities greater access, and therefore the ability, to infiltrate American institutions and corporates.

Natalie Winters

Natalie Winters is freelance reporter.

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