America’s elites are selling out their country to the Chinese Communist Party. Politicians, athletes, filmmakers, and others from the highest echelons of American society have apparently decided it is more profitable to kowtow to Beijing than it is to support their own country.
So says Peter Schweizer, author of the new book “Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win,” which exposes how even President Joe Biden’s family is implicated.
As Schweizer explains, “In the case of the Bidens, these commercial ties really began when Joe Biden was vice president of the United States. [His son] Hunter Biden went to Beijing looking for financial deals and what we found is that the Bidens have received some $31 million from four Chinese businessmen.
“The story takes an even more dramatic turn when you realize that those four Chinese businessmen all have links to the highest levels of Chinese intelligence.”
Schweizer joins the show to discuss how and why these elites are “helping China win.”
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- Voters recall and oust three members of the San Francisco Board of Education over the city’s slow reopening of schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the board’s plan to rename 44 of the city’s schools because of the alleged racism of the people they are named after.
Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript.
Douglas Blair: My guest today is Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute and author of the new book “Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win,” available now wherever books are sold. Peter, welcome to the show.
Peter Schweizer: Great to be with you, Doug. Thanks so much for having me.
Blair: Seems like an obvious first question to this would be, how do American elites get rich helping China win?
Schweizer: Well, for one thing, they provide them political cover. That’s something that China craves. So, you get people in Silicon Valley, Wall Street, or in Washington, D.C., who minimize the threat that China poses or they dismiss concerns about human rights, but there’s other support they provide as well.
They provide in some cases investment or tech support in ways that actually enhance the Chinese military, and of course, that military’s directing its firepower at the United States. So, it’s political help, but it’s also real material help in terms of helping build up their military.
Blair: Why do American elites do this? Is this an ideological thing or is this more for financial gain?
Schweizer: Good question. It’s always hard to know individual motives.
I think for some people, certainly the motivation is financial. When you look at some of the political figures highlighted in the book, [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, for example, [Sen.] Dianne Feinstein, the Bidens, I would say that the financial motive is important because they always could use more money, and they don’t have scruples about these kinds of arrangements.
In other instances, when you’re talking about Bill Gates, who’s worth $100 billion, it’s hard to think that financial motivations are key. So, I think in a lot of cases of instances like Bill Gates there’s this, in a sense, almost admiration for the efficiency, as they call it, of the Chinese dictatorship.
They admire the fact that the government gets things done so quickly, because of course there’s no checks and balances. So, it’s a combination of financial, but also admiration for the Chinese dictatorial system.
Blair: You mentioned the Bidens, and I thought that that was just so fascinating that the president’s family was involved in this as well. Can you maybe elaborate a little more about how the Bidens play into the story?
Schweizer: Sure. China has this strategy called the “elite capture,” and the idea is, they want to capture, as it were, the elites of the United States to, in effect, neutralize the United States from challenging some of the things that they are pursuing.
In the case of the Bidens, these commercial ties really began when Joe Biden was vice president of the United States. [His son] Hunter Biden went to Beijing looking for financial deals, and what we found is that the Bidens have received some $31 million from four Chinese businessmen.
The story takes an even more dramatic turn when you realize that those four Chinese businessmen all have links to the highest levels of Chinese intelligence. So, clearly, this is an example of “elite capture,” a strategy that the Chinese government has employed to create a financial bond or connection with the Bidens, this very powerful political family, in the hopes of gaining leverage over them.
I think there’s pretty compelling evidence that not only did these deals go through, but they have actually achieved some semblance of leverage over the Bidens, and it’s affecting America’s policy toward China in the Biden administration.
Blair: You mentioned that you have evidence of this. Would you be able to share some of that evidence?
Schweizer: Sure. The evidence of the flow of money is pretty straightforward. It comes from two primary sources. One is the Hunter Biden laptop. The second one is a collection of emails, the email accounts of one of Hunter Biden’s business partners, a guy named Bevan Cooney, who gave us access to his Gmail account.
That lays out the deals that they secured and who are the people that actually made those deals happen. As I said, we named the four individuals, and we show their links to Chinese intelligence. That’s all very straightforward. When you consider the Biden approach to China, it fits in perfectly with what China is expecting from those that they have “captured,” as it were.
The strategy, translated to the English, is “big help with a little badmouth.” What that basically means is they don’t expect those politicians or political figures with which they have commercial ties to toe to some party line. They expect there’s going to be a little badmouth.
So, the Biden administration may say something about the Uyghurs, or it may say something about human rights. Those are not of concern to Beijing. What Beijing is looking for from political elites that they’ve captured in the United States is help on the really big matters.
For China, those big matters are basically unfettered access to Western capital markets, which means Wall Street investments going to China and China being able to invest in the United States. The second thing they want is basically unfettered access to American technology. They are getting both of those.
There’s really no effort by the Biden administration to pursue policies in any of those areas. Those policies were begun under the Trump administration, but Joe Biden has essentially reversed them. It’s pretty clear that Beijing is getting exactly what it wants from the Joe Biden administration.
Blair: The Daily Signal has done some coverage on some private firms that have done business with China as well. One in particular, BlackRock, consistently pops up over and over and over again. The thing that we always got was that they were sort of doing this willingly. They were willingly engaging with the Chinese Communist Party in hopes of making money. Is there that tie there between the governments not doing anything, the Biden administration isn’t doing anything, and these companies are willingly engaging with the Chinese Communist Party?
Schweizer: No, I think it’s a good question. I think yes, a lot of firms take their signal from Washington, D.C., and if they feel that Washington, D.C., is not going to sort of rein in their behavior, they’re glad to engage in it. A lot of people are surprised when they realize that these capitalist firms, so to speak, like BlackRock are engaged in commerce with China, but look, they get sweetheart deals because the Chinese economy is so politicized, the government is so dominant.
If you get cozy with the government, they are going to ease you into very lucrative positions. BlackRock, really, I sort of think, laid down the gauntlet in 2017. There was a very crucial vote that came up involving companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The Chinese Communist Party said, “We want all the companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to write into their corporate governance rules that they will comply with the edicts of the Chinese Communist Party.” So, I mean this was a clear power grab by Beijing.
This, of course, required that the shareholders of these Hong Kong companies actually vote in favor of this. So, BlackRock, of course, is a massive fund manager. Vanguard is a massive fund manager. Vanguard said, “No, this is a terrible idea. We don’t support it.” They voted against it. BlackRock actually voted in favor of it.
So, you literally had the biggest firm on Wall Street vote in favor of giving the Chinese Communist Party veto authority over corporate decisions in Hong Kong. That to me is a stunning representation of where BlackRock is. They have decided in fact that they are happy being business partners with the Chinese Communist Party.
It’s not going to be bad for business, and even if it benefits Beijing and damages United States national security, they don’t really care.
Blair: What are the security implications of these close-knit relationships between both American elites in the government and American elites in the private sector?
Schweizer: Well, I think for American elites in government, it means you’re not going to get a robust policy that challenges China. Let’s be clear. China’s made clear that they expect to, and are planning to, supplant the United States as the world’s superpower. They want to remake China in their own image. So, you’re going to get policymakers that are not going to challenge them or take policy decisions that are going to challenge Beijing.
When it comes to private actors like corporations, you’ve got all kinds of investors and corporations in the United States that are literally financing China’s military buildup.
So, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, as I point out in the book, he and Warren Buffett are both early investors in a company called BYD. BYD is a Chinese tech firm, and among the things they do is develop missile guidance launch technologies for the Chinese military.
You have other instances where Blackstone, the big New York investment private equity firm, is a shareholder in JD Logistics, which is a company that does massive amounts of logistic work for the Chinese air force, helping the Chinese air force project power into the Pacific region. Of course, they’re projecting that power towards the United States. These are the kinds of very real problems that we run into.
Blair: Yet another industry that you call out in your book is Big Tech. Obviously, Big Tech has been a very large target for conservatives recently because of their censorious behavior, but in your book, you specifically talk about Facebook, Google, and Tesla. What exactly are these companies doing to engage themselves with the Chinese Communist Party?
Schweizer: In the case of Facebook, they work with Google to build a fiber cable that was supposed to link Hong Kong with San Francisco. That project was stopped by the FBI and the Department of Justice in 2019 because it would create unprecedented opportunities for Chinese spying on American citizens.
Now, Facebook had to know that. I just think they didn’t care, and there are numerous other examples where they have aided and abetted the Chinese in other ways.
When you look at Tesla, Elon Musk used to be very critical of Beijing. He has now taken a much more pro-CCP line. He’s said that the Chinese government is actually more responsive to the needs of people than America’s representative government, but you also have … the very real problem that Tesla now, of course, is joined at the hip with China.
They have a big manufacturing plant there, and the CCP is getting access to Tesla technology. That has a very real effect, because Tesla shares certain common software components with SpaceX, another one of Elon Musk’s companies, and that company of course launches American military and spy satellites.
So, there are very real national security concerns, and these large Big Tech firms minimize the threat that China poses while at the same time providing very real material support to their military.
Blair: Something that comes up to me as we’re talking about this is there seems to be just so much financial incentive behind this. Is there any data to indicate how much money we’re dealing with here with some of these people receiving funds from the Chinese?
Schweizer: It’s hard to know how much money they’re making, because of the way that it’s reported, but it’s clearly massive sums.
The big firms on Wall Street all point to their belief that China is the biggest growth market. They see the future in China. If you look at Tesla, for example, in their filings to shareholders, their growth trajectory is all pretty much predicated on its market share in China, and that’s the problem.
Look, I understand the need for businessmen to be mindful of building their companies, but if they’re doing it at the expense of national security of the United States, if they’re sharing critical technologies with our chief rival on the global stage, we have a massive problem.
During the Cold War, the notion that American technology firms would be doing massive business in the Soviet Union would not have been accepted, and I think, really unfortunately, the only reason it’s accepted in China is China is a bigger, more vibrant economy, and the profits are greater.
But we have to understand that we have our priorities wrong, that there are very real dangerous medium- and long-term consequences if we continue to subsidize China in its competition with the United States. They view the race in technology as a war. It’s a war that they intend to win, and if they win, President Xi [Jinping] of China has said that they will seize the commanding heights in the geopolitical competition with the United States, and that is not a good place for us to be.
Blair: Returning now to something we talked about a little bit earlier, which is the political angle to this, we have people in the highest levels of government who are in bed with the Chinese Communist Party.
Fascinatingly enough, your book explains that there’s people on both sides of the political spectrum, both conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans. How is that possible? It seems like those philosophies are so disparate. How would they both be involved with the Chinese?
Schweizer: Yeah, I think it’s ultimately not about philosophy. It’s about money. It’s not a red issue or a blue issue. It’s a green issue because, again, it’s very lucrative.
Oftentimes, these deals come through family members, through a spouse or through a spouse’s family. If you are friendly to Beijing, or they want to “capture” you, as it were, they will give you very, very lucrative deals that can make you enormously wealthy.
If you look at Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, you look at Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Republican of Kentucky, in both instances, their families, their extended families have received hundreds of millions of dollars in deals from Beijing.
These are deals that are directed by the [Chinese] government, and it creates very real leverage now that Beijing has over those family businesses; meaning, if those politicians, Sens. Feinstein or McConnell, did something that truly upset Beijing, they could literally destroy the family businesses overnight.
That’s the kind of leverage that Beijing wants over American politicians, and they have it too often in a way that is very, very dangerous and undermines the ability of those politicians in my mind to independently assess and make the tough decisions that need to be made to counter China.
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Blair: My final question for you is, do we have any data-driven evidence to suggest there is a way to counter this? Have we seen in the past that there are strategies that have been proven to work in sort of removing elites from this idea that prioritizing China over America is a good idea?
Schweizer: I think the first thing we need to do is, we need to publicize and provide the scrutiny that allows people to know that this is going on. A lot of people are stunned when they hear about this. It just has not been widely reported enough.
I think we then need to go from exposure to, in a sense, shaming, in a way, these political figures that are engaging in this behavior. I think there are good people on Capitol Hill who have a very clear-eyed, sober view of Beijing and the threat that it represents.
These are individuals that don’t have financial ties to China. We need to have our political class resist them. We need to eliminate the ties that exist because it does undermine the decision-making process.
I think we have to have a broader conversation about Wall Street and Big Tech. I mean, the idea that America’s best firms like Microsoft and Google would be subsidizing research in artificial intelligence in China in laboratories that are linked to the Chinese military, and when China has identified artificial intelligence as the key area where they need to win if they want to defeat the United States, we have to take aggressive action, because we’re running a race against China, and in effect, our best companies are providing a boost to China to help them run faster in this race.
If we allow that to continue, we will ultimately lose this race, and there will be massive consequences for all of us.
Blair: That was Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute and author of the new book “Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win,” available now wherever books are sold. Peter, very much appreciate your time.
Schweizer: Thanks so much for having me. Take care.
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