President Joe Biden’s nominee for ambassador to the U.N. is facing controversy after a recent news report revealed that she praised communist China’s success in Africa at an event that was hosted by a Chinese Communist Party-funded organization.
Washington Post reporter Josh Rogin wrote this week that Linda Thomas-Greenfield “praised China’s success in Africa and got paid $1,500” during an October 2019 speech for “Georgia’s Savannah State University in honor of the fifth anniversary of its Confucius Institute,” Politico reported.
The Post reported that Senate aides indicated that Thomas-Greenfield’s speech “was too optimistic and soft regarding China’s policies and intentions in Africa at a time when the U.S. government was trying to shed light on China’s many abuses there.” In the speech, Thomas-Greenfield “touted” China’s Belt and Road Initiative, criticized the Trump administration’s confrontation of China in Africa, and “seemed to excuse Beijing’s debt-trap diplomacy in Africa,” the Post added.
One top Senate aide told the Post that they were concerned that she was “praising the genius of the Chinese Communist Party while denigrating American diplomacy at the Confucius Institute.”
The Post added:
Multiple senators are planning to raise this speech with Thomas-Greenfield at her confirmation hearing, including asking her whether she was paid by the Confucius Institute, which is fully funded by the Chinese government. Sources told me she received a $1,500 honorarium, which was paid by the university. Savannah State University closed its Confucius Institute last year, one of several dozen U.S. academic institutions to do so as concerns rose about Chinese Communist Party influence on U.S. campuses.
A spokesperson for Biden claimed that Thomas-Greenfield was “repulsed” by what she learned at the event and that she “regrets accepting the invitation and endorses Congress’s work to crack down on Confucius Institutes.” The Post noted that Thomas-Greenfield has been critical of China during other speaking engagements.
“I came away from the experience frankly alarmed at the way the Confucius Institute were engaging with the Black community in Georgia,” she said at her confirmation hearing on Wednesday. “It reminded me of what I’d seen in Africa, the Chinese government going after those in need with fewer resources.”
She added, “I truly regret having accepted that invitation and having had my name associated with the Confucius Institute.”
Politico noted that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) pressed Thomas-Greenfield about why she “didn’t return the [$1,500] honorarium she received for the speech.”
Relations between the U.S. and China have deteriorated significantly over the last 12 months as the world continues to deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China.
The Daily Wire reported:
U.S. officials have indicated that they believe that China “intentionally” underreported their true [coronavirus] numbers “by at least a factor of 50.” British officials reportedly told Prime Minister Boris Johnson early in the pandemic that China could have underreported their numbers “by a factor of 15 to 40 times.” The Washington Post reported in April that “evidence” coming out of Wuhan suggested that the real death count was over 40,000, which comes as China still claims that it only has a little over 4,600 deaths total nationwide. A conservative estimate in April from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)—which gave China every benefit of the doubt when coming up with their calculations, and then some—suggested that China severely and “deliberately” underreported their numbers and that China’s true numbers at the time had to be at least 2.9 million infections with well over 100,000 deaths.
In a CNN interview last month, Biden suggested that he was not interested in “punishing [China] for the COVID virus.”
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