A former Chinese official has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a prominent D.C.-based think tank over the last decade, influencing its research on at least one occasion.
Hong Kong-based billionaire Ronnie Chan sits on the board of directors of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, an influential think tank. He is also one of its most prolific supporters, donating between $350,000 to $575,000 to the think tank since 2010. And while the think tank insists that donors exert almost no influence on its publications, a 2013 report on U.S.-China relations credited Chan, noting that the report "has benefited from discussions with and the comments of" Chan and a litany of other donors.
Chan is an ex-government official in Hong Kong who mobilized his resources to support the election of Carrie Lam, the city's chief executive who cracked down on pro-democracy protesters at the behest of Beijing in recent years. Chan is also a governor of the China-United States Exchange Foundation, a nonprofit organization widely considered to be a front group for the Chinese Communist Party to exercise influence in academia. The foundation has also cut a check to PIIE, sending between $50,000 to $75,000 to the think tank in 2012.
The article says that another billionaire with close ties to China, Min Zhu, a former deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, sits of PIIE's board. It also notes that PIIE's board of directors page does not mention Chan's or Zhu's past stints in government, even though it does so for other members.
Chan, according to the article, has appeared on a panel discussion hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and has served on the governing boards of the East-West Center and Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation.
Update: Here is a new Washington Free Beacon piece entitled "Huawei-Funded Think Tank Takes Aim at Top China Hawk," saying that PIIE works with Chinese government officials to rebut China criticism. Among other things, it outlines PIIE's ties to Huawei.