Reuters is reporting that China has been secretly lobbying US companies and business groups to fight China-related bills in the US Congress. According to the Reuters investigation:
November 12, 2021 China has been pushing U.S. executives, companies and business groups in recent weeks to fight against China-related bills in the U.S. Congress, four sources familiar with the initiative told Reuters, in letters to and meetings with a wide range of actors in the business community. China’s embassy in Washington had sent letters pressing executives to urge members of Congress to alter or drop specific bills that seek to enhance U.S. competitiveness, according to the sources and the text of a letter sent by the embassy’s economic and commercial office seen by Reuters. Chinese officials warned companies they would risk losing market share or revenue in China if the legislation becomes law, according to the text of the letter. The sources said China’s request also left some individuals who received a letter concerned that they could be seen as violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) if they lobbied lawmakers on similar issues in the future.
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The Reuters investigation reveals that the letters sent by the Chinese embassy explicitly asked US companies to oppose both the US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and the EAGLE Act, two bills that seek to boost competition with China and fund much-needed semiconductor production.
The US lobbying attempts are the latest example of how China uses its embassies to threaten Western companies, academics, or decision-makers to either support pro-Chinese policies or risk losing market share, funding, or entry permits. We have extensively covered influence efforts by Chinese embassies, including:
- How they influence expert discourse through co-opting local academics
- How they issue direct threats against Western politicians and attack political leaders for their alleged anti-China bias
- How they make up non-existing scientists to support China’s narratives about the origins of Covid-19