EXCLUSIVE: Earlier this year, the White House disclosed that classified documents were discovered last fall in the Washington, D.C., office of President Biden’s think tank, the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
The Biden Center subsequently found itself in a firestorm, and questions stirred regarding anonymous Chinese donations to the University of Pennsylvania, which harbors Biden’s think tank. What was known is foreign donations from China totaled in the tens of millions since 2017, but the identities of many of those patrons remained obscured. Until now.
Fox News Digital can reveal the identities of many previously unreported Chinese contributors who gave six figures to the university from records obtained by Americans for Public Trust. The logs show money originating in China far exceeds what was previously known or reported. Furthermore, some of the Chinese donors have ties to previous Hunter Biden business deals, and others are linked to the Chinese Communist Party.
“On the heels of learning that the Biden family received millions of dollars from foreign entities, this latest revelation raises further questions about the scope of President Biden’s ties to China,” Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of Americans for Public Trust, told Fox News Digital.
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“We now know that the University of Pennsylvania—home to Joe Biden’s namesake think tank—received a massive increase in contributions from China and Hong Kong as he was ramping up his presidential campaign, and has raked in millions from CCP-tied donors since he took office,” Sutherland added. “The President owes the American people answers about the depth of his financial connections to foreign nationals who are undercutting our nation’s security and prosperity.”
Chinese donations to UPenn totaled at least $105 million from mid-2018 to mid-2022, or nearly double what was previously known, according to the records. UPenn also experienced skyrocketing Chinese cash as Biden ran for president, with almost $75 million coming from China and Hong Kong sources. The contributions, which Americans for Public Trust obtained in Pennsylvania, show foreign donations of $100,000 or more.
Among its Chinese donors are a company and individual linked to past Hunter Biden business deals, including a lead investor and a board member of a company that landed an arrangement facilitated by a Hunter-tied investment company.
Cathay Fortune, a private equity company that had a controlling interest in China Molybdenum – now called CMOC Group Limited – gave $1 million in gift donations to UPenn in 2019. China Molybdenum purchased a cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2016 with the help of Bohai Harvest RTS (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company, or BHR.
Hunter Biden, two other Americans, and Chinese partners formed BHR in 2013, the New York Times previously reported. Hunter and the other Americans owned 30 percent of the company and sat on its board.
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As recently as 2020, Hunter possessed 10 percent of BHR, according to the Wall Street Journal, but his lawyer claimed in 2021 that he had dumped his shares. President Biden, meanwhile, previously wrote a college recommendation letter for the son of BHR chief executive officer Jonathan Little, Fox News Digital previously reported.
The records further show that CMOC board member Gerry Wang delivered $100,000 to the university in 2020. Wang is a Canadian citizen living in Hong Kong and a member of UPenn’s Asia Campaign Leadership committee, according to CMOC’s website.
Others who have previously met with President Biden at the White House have also pushed millions to the university. In 2011, a group of Chinese business executives called the China Entrepreneur Club reportedly met with then-Vice President Biden in a meeting facilitated by Devon Archer, a Hunter Biden business partner, Breitbart previously reported.
When the meeting occurred, the China Entrepreneur Club counted Ma Weihua, the chief executive officer of China Merchant Bank, as a member.
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In 2018 and 2019, China Merchant Bank donated over $5.5 million to UPenn, the records show. According to the bank, UPenn’s Wharton School of Business is a “strategic partner.” The vice dean of Wharton’s Global Initiative has also called the bank a “long-standing partner,” according to China Daily.
China Entrepreneur Club membership lists later show that Feng Deng, the managing director of Northern Light Venture Capital, and Charles Chao, the chief executive officer of chairman of SINA Corporation, were involved with the group. Deng gave $630,000 to UPenn in 2019, while the E-House, which Chao co-chaired, funneled over $6.2 million to UPenn between 2012 and 2016.
“No foreign funds were contributed anonymously, and no foreign funds were directed to the Penn Biden Center,” Stephen MacCarthy, UPenn’s vice president for university communications, told Fox News Digital. “Penn reported all foreign contributions as required, and they have been publicly available on the Department of Education website for some time.”
But the Department of Education stopped publishing the identities of foreign university donors in late 2020. Before that, the gifts included individuals who gave $250,000 or more, meaning the new records also show donors previously not in the database.
The donor list also shows several individuals with ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
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Between 2019 and 2020, when then-candidate Joe Biden was campaigning for President, Hopson Education Charitable Funds Limited (HECFL) donated at least $14.5 million to the University of Pennsylvania. Chinese real estate tycoon Chu Mang Yee, who had 100% ownership of HECFL at the time, is a multibillionaire with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
In the 2013 annual report for Hopson Development Holdings Limited annual report, Yee was listed as a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which Fox News Digital previously reported as the “key mechanism for multi-party cooperation and political consultation” under the leadership of the CCP, according to the CPPCC website.
Yee also owns 13.06% of a subsidiary of China’s state-owned healthcare company, China General Technology (Group) Holding Co., Ltd, which is “directly supervised by the central government,” according to their website.
Another donor was Tao Zhang, the former co-chairman and co-CEO of Chinese tech giant Meituan-Dianping, who donated more than $3 million to UPenn between 2020 to 2022, according to donation records. Meituan-Dianping, which was formally renamed Meituan in late 2020, has deep ties to the Chinese Communist Party and has multiple controversial CCP-linked shareholders, including Tencent and Alibaba.
China Daily, a state-owned media outlet, revealed in 2017 that then-Meituan-Dianping adopted the CCP’s party-building apparatus a year earlier and that the company developed a smartphone application that carries several party-building courses. Xu Weixin, who previously served as the vice-president of the Party School of the Central Committee of the CCP, told China Daily that party building was an important tool at private companies in China and that “Private companies which are active in Party building activities usually come up with better operational results.”
Ma Jianrong, a Chinese billionaire and CEO of Shenzhou International, donated at least $500,000 to UPenn in 2022. According to a 2017 New York Times article, Jianrong is a “member of the Chinese Communist Party” and “an official in the Zhejiang Provincial People’s Congress.” A nonprofit group called KnowTheChain previously ranked Shenzhou International poorly for disclosing “significantly less information on its forced labor policies and practices than its peers.”
During a 2020 interview with China’s state-run Global Times, Jianrong said, “We respect cultural and social customs. Only by uniting local workers can foreign expansion be successful… Our foreign employees have been well treated and no strike or other conflict has occurred since we began investing overseas 15 years ago.”
“When we introduce to the foreign partners the economic development in China, we pay attention to details,” he added.
Ge Li, a Chinese multibillionaire and founder of the Chinese pharma company WuXi AppTec, is another major donor, contributing at least $2 million to UPenn in 2020. WuXi AppTec, which also goes by Yaoming Kangde, reportedly staffs hundreds of CCP members due to the influence of the CCP on the company. Li has also personally voiced support for the party’s influence at his company.
Wu Xueliang, who made five donations between November 2021 and May 2022 totaling over $100K, is also involved with CPPCC. Last year, he was appointed the director of the Social Legal System and Ethnic Religion Committee of the 13th Zhongshan Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
Within weeks of leaving the vice presidency under former President Barack Obama in January 2017, Biden became the “Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor” at the University of Pennsylvania, an honorary position, and the “Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement” was launched in Washington, D.C., the following year.
However, discussions about the elder Biden’s future involvement with Penn long predated the end of the Obama presidency, according to emails from Hunter Biden’s infamous abandoned laptop, which Fox News Digital has verified.
On April 25, 2016, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) agent Craig Gering emailed Hunter with “confidential notes from our meeting,” in which Gering listed apparent plans that were discussed for the vice president upon leaving office.
One of those plans included “wealth creation,” with no further explanation, and another had an apparent reference to the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C., with a possible job opportunity for Hunter.
Joe Biden left the vice presidency on Jan. 20, 2017, and was hired as a professor at Penn less four weeks after that, where he was paid a total of $776,527 in 2017 and 2018, which was nearly double what full-time Penn professors made during the same time, Philadelphia magazine reported in 2019.
The Penn Biden Center was formed on “the principle that a democratic, open, secure, tolerant, and interconnected world benefits all Americans” and works to continue Biden’s fight “to secure American global leadership by defending and advancing a liberal international order,” according to its mission statement.
Fox News Digital previously reported that the Biden administration hired at least ten senior Biden administration officials to their current or former positions after stints at the Penn Biden Center, including current Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl and White House counselor Steven Richetti. Blinken and Richetti served as managing directors, while Kahl was a strategic consultant at the center.