Blinken Chooses to Unveil Biden’s China Policy at China-Friendly Event

Following months of buildup, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the Biden administration’s China strategy on Thursday, at an event hosted by a group friendly to the Chinese Communist Party.

Blinken gave his speech at George Washington University, hosted by the Asia Society, which is a U.S. based nonprofit that aims “to build bridges of understanding between Americans and Asians.”

The secretary of state’s speech comes as the Biden administration ponders whether to relax tariffs imposed on China by the Trump administration, and preparations begin for diplomatic discussions in Asia.

Prior to the speech, many were concerned that it would undermine the Biden administration’s attempt to talk tough on China, because of the ties between the Chinese Communist Party and the group hosting the event.

The Asia Society’s global corporate network — which helps members engage with “corporate leaders, policymakers, and influencers” — includes several Chinese state-owned companies, such as the China Investment Corporation and State Grid Corporation of China. Alongside those concerns, one of the Asia Society’s trustees — Ning Gaoning, a Chinese Communist Party official — is the Chairman of the Sinochem Group, a company that has been blacklisted by the U.S. government over its ties to the Chinese military.

The Asia Society is also connected to the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda machine, as it has helped to establish dozens of Confucius Institute classrooms across the country. The Chinese government uses “Confucius Institutes” to spread pro-China propaganda within American universities and even high schools.

“It’s unclear why Blinken chose Asia Society as a host,” said Anders Corr, an intelligence analyst and publisher of the Journal of Political Risk.

Corr went on to say that the Asia Society’s “soft-on-China reputation” and the group’s financial ties to Chinese state-controlled companies means that it “should be avoided by U.S. government officials at any cost.”

The Asia Society and many of the group’s corporate sponsors support a rollback of Trump-era tariffs on China. Anna Ashton, an official from the Asia Society Policy Institute, recently stated that China’s government had exercised “a great deal of patience” in hoping that American policymakers “would come to their senses” about the economic relationship between the United States and China.