Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and her appointees have repeatedly met with and hosted leaders from a leading organization in the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front.
The United Front functions as China’s premier influence and propaganda organization, raising flags with the U.S. government’s Economic and Security Review Commission.
It seeks to “co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party” and coerce American leaders “to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing’s preferred policies.”
What’s more, the State Department has described the group as seeking to “directly and malignly influence” U.S. state and local leaders.
Despite these warnings, Bowser and her appointees repeatedly met with the United Front’s Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC). The group, led by the daughter of a former Chinese Communist Party paramount leader, is the “public face” of the United Front and “avowedly an arm of the party-state.”
Bowser visited with the group’s Vice President in 2015.
And per the CPAFFC’s summary, Bowser “said that China and the U.S. should work hand in hand to promote common development and strengthen exchanges and cooperation in areas of commerce, trade, education and so on.”
“She hoped that she could visit China more often,” it adds.
Also in 2015, Bowser’s pick for Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner met with the CPAFFC. They discussed “issues including enhancing local government exchanges and sister-city relationship, as well as promoting China-US cooperation on city planning, clean energy, public transportation” despite China’s well-documented theft of intellectual property.
Kenner, who now serves as a co-chair of Bowser’s Re-Open Dc Committee, visited the CPAFFC in Beijing again in 2018, vowing to undercut President Trump’s trade war with the country:
Deputy Mayor Kenner said, in spite of the national trade issues, DC will continue to develop relations with not only Beijing, but also other Chinese cities.
Washington, District of China.
Beyond visiting the CPAFFC in Beijing, Bowser also liaised with the group in Washington, D.C.
In 2016, a CPAFFC delegation visited the beltway to celebrate the “sister city” relationship between Washington, D.C. and Beijing.
“Mayor Bowser said in his speech that friendship and cooperation will benefit more ordinary people. Washington has 14 sister cities. Among them, it became a sister city with Beijing in 1984. This friendly relationship is extremely important […] Washington will continue to carry out pragmatic cooperation with Beijing in the fields of commerce and education,” Bowser noted.
The CPAFFC delegation also met with Bowser’s then-Secretary of State Lauren Vaughan.
Per a CPAFFC summary, Bowser’s government “jointly held a celebration reception” also featuring Obama-era officials such as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan.
Bowser’s ties to the CPAFFC follow exclusive National Pulse reporting revealing the mayor’s ties to Confucius Institutes.