A delegation from a Chinese Communist Party-run think tank identified by the U.S. government as carrying out “undercover intelligence gathering” operations and seeking to coerce foreign actors into backing the Chinese Communist Party’s “preferred policies” met with Hillary Clinton and a host of high-level military leaders during the Obama-Biden administration, The National Pulse can reveal.
The exchange with the controversial group – China Association for International Friendly Contact (CAIFC) – occurred in October of 2009, while Clinton was serving as Secretary of State. The CAIFC delegation, composed of China’s former top military leaders, visited Clinton after stopping in Hawaii to meet with American generals.
“The leader of the Delegation of the CAIFC was [the] previous chief of the general staff of People’s Liberation Army Xiong Guangkai, the Secretary General was Vice Chairman of the CAIFC Li Xiaohua, and the main members include previous commander of air force Yu Zhenwu, previous commander in Lanzhou military region Li Qianyuan and previous president of National Defense University Pei Huailiang and previous commander of East China Sea Fleet Zhao Guojun,” CAIFC’s summary of the event notes.
In addition to meeting with the aforementioned Chinese military leaders, the U.S. government also identifies the CAIFC as an integral component of China’s United Work Front, which aims “to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party.”
“The United Front strategy uses a range of methods to influence overseas Chinese communities, foreign governments, and other actors to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing’s preferred policies,” the U.S.-China Security and Economic Review commission’s report cautions.
The report singled out CAIFC, noting it is a “front” for the Chinese military:
“CAIFC is a front for the former PLA GPD which may now report directly to the PLA Central Military Commission’s Political Work Department.”
“CAIFC has additional ties to the Ministries of State Security, Civil Affairs, and Foreign Affairs, and it is a platform for deploying undercover intelligence gatherers,” the commission adds.
While in Hawaii, the Chinese Communist Party delegation met with a group of several senior, retired American military officials led by Admiral William Owens. Owens was appointed by former President Bill Clinton to serve as the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the second-ranking military office in the United States, in 1994.
“The senior generals of China and the United States had a frank and extensive discuss on furthering the relations between arms of China and the United States and exchanged their ideas on the issues of common interests,” CAIFC’s summary of the group’s exchanges described.
After departing Hawaii, CAIFC recounts how the delegations “headed toward and paid a visit to Washington and New York” where “Secretary of State Hilary and Assistant Secretary [Kurt] Campbell met with and entertained the delegation in the State Council respectively.”
A timeline of the trip describes how Clinton met with the “delegation in the presence chamber of the State Council” on October 21st, 2009.
The delegation later met with Obama-era Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn and then-Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright.
CAIFC’s report on the visit also reveals that among the bodies funding the exchange were China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) and the U.S.-based establishment think tank, Center for Strategic and International Studies. CUSEF, however, is a Chinese Communist Party-funded propaganda initiative chaired by Tung Chee Hwa, the vice-chairman of CCP advisory body the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and a former head of Hong Kong.
The foundation is a registered Chinese foreign agent that often targets American universities with offers to fund policy research, high-level dialogues, and exchange programs. While U.S. government officials were willing to accept their donations, many schools, including the University of Texas at Austin, have divested from CUSEF in light of these compromising ties.
The CAIFC delegation’s visit to the U.S. was not the only time Clinton family had interacted with the group, however.
According to Politico, a CAIFC-sponsored business aviation event was one of many “red flags from [the] State [Department] for proposals for paid speeches” from Chinese Communist Party-linked groups for former President Bill Clinton. Reportedly, the State Department blocked Bill Clinton from participating in the speech, which was declined on the basis of alleged scheduling conflicts.
This unearthed connection follows The National Pulse linking an Obama-era Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) board member and Brookings Institute Fellow to CAIFC, as Michael O’Hanlon visited the think tank in 2012.