CNN Host Fareed Zakaria and an adviser to Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign attended the recent Understanding China Conference, which counted Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping and high-level apparatchiks in attendance.
The conference, themed “Huge Shake-up, Big Test, Great Cooperation: China’s New Journey toward Modernization and Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind,” argued for increased cooperation between the Chinese Communist Party and the broader world.
Featuring nearly 20 Chinese speakers – all boasting high-level involvement with the Chinese Communist Party – the conference depends on Western figures to grant legitimacy to the event.
Summers, a former Obama-era National Economic Council Director, has also been identified as “advising Joe Biden’s presidential campaign,” according to Reuters.
Among the Chinese government officials in attendance were Zheng Bijian, who directed a state-run think tank’s Research Institute for Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, and Ye Xiaowen, who served as Vice President of the Central Institute of Socialism and directed the United Front Work Department which has been identified by the U.S. government as “neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party” through “influence operations targeting foreign actors and states.”
Among the Western-based personalities in attendance were former Labour Party leader and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Wolfgang Schäuble, a former German Minister of Finance and sitting president of the Bundestag – the country’s federal parliament. Nicholas Berggruen, the founder of the Berggruen Institute, has also repeatedly attended the event.
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The Berggruen Institute is linked to the Joe Biden-backing Transition Integrity Project, as the group’s co-founder, Nils Gilman, serves as Vice President of Programs and editor of the Berggruen Institute’s magazine. Gilman notoriously threatened former Trump administration official Michael Anton with execution.
For years, Xi has offered his support to the conference, meeting with attendees in 2019 and routinely sending letters praising the event. At the most recent conference, he penned a letter that was read aloud at the conference. Per a Chinese state-run media outlet’s synopsis of his speech, he argued “close to achieving the goals of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and eradicating poverty, and it will embark on a new journey to fully build a modern socialist country next year.”
Documents from the conference reveal that its opening ceremony featured a host of party apparatchiks in addition to primers on China’s 14th- Five-Year Plan.