by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Chinese-American nonprofit that branded a Republican congresswoman’s tough-on-China campaign ads “racist” has extensive ties to Chinese Communist Party influence groups and Beijing-backed companies through its members, staff, and former leaders, a Washington Free Beacon investigation found.
In late October, with the 2022 midterms just two weeks away, the Committee of 100—a nonprofit that works to “advance U.S.-China relations”—issued a statement condemning China-related campaign ads from California Republican Michelle Steel. Those ads, which the committee said included “racist attacks” that encouraged “anti-Asian hate and violence,” criticized Democrat challenger Jay Chen’s past support for the Confucius Classroom program, a CCP-run initiative that provides American K-12 schools with Beijing-backed teachers and curriculum materials.
The committee’s decision to wade into the race—a rare one, given that the nonprofit usually avoids electoral politics in favor of commenting on academic research, legislative developments, and federal appointments—sparked attention from mainstream media outlets and liberal groups. Within days of its release, NPR, the Losa Angeles Times, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee used the statement to declare that the Asian-American community had turned on Steel, with the Times and NPR innocuously describing the Committee of 100 as “a New York-based nonprofit led by prominent Chinese Americans” and a group that “represents Chinese Americans.” Those descriptions, however, ignore the fact that many of the nonprofit’s members, staff, and former leaders have extensive ties to CCP-controlled groups and Chinese state-backed companies—ties that have led some China experts to assert that the committee is a crucial target for the CCP’s foreign influence efforts.
Committee member Ronnie Chan, for example, serves on the governing board of the China-United States Exchange Foundation, a CCP-funded Chinese foreign agent whose founder, billionaire Chinese national Tung Chee-hwa, is the vice chairman of a CCP advisory body.