Other Group

China-U.S. Exchange Foundation (CUSEF)

Website:

www.cusef.org.hk/

Headquarters:

20/F, Yardley Commercial Building No. 3 Connaught Road West, Sheung Wan

Location:

Hong Kong

Status:

Foreign Non-Profit

Formation:

2008

Type:

Chinese Government-Backed Nonprofit

Executive Director:

Audie Wong

China-U.S. Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) seeks to build relations between the United States and China. [1] It is funded by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as part of its United Front strategy. [2]

History and Leadership

China-U.S. Exchange Foundation was founded in 2008 by Tung Chee-hwa. Tung was the first chief executive of the People’s Republic of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from 1997 until 2005 and a vice chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-linked Chinese People’s Consultative Conference. [3] [4]

Audie Wong is the executive director of CUSEF. [5] He served as a member of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese Communist Party-backed 12th Chinese People Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), [6] and the 8th Council of Beijing Overseas Chinese Friendship Association. [7] [8]

Activities and Funding

China-U.S. Exchange Foundation is a registered agent [9] of the Chinese government under the U.S. Foreign Agent Registration Act [10] and is funded by the Chinese Communist Party. [11] Since 2010, CUSEF has organized an annual dialogue between members of the Democratic Party, Republican Party, and leaders of the CCP. [12] In a 2022 Congressional hearing, Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns expressed concern about CUSEF’s covert influence activities in the U.S. [13]

CUSEF publishes research papers [14] and hosts high-level dialogues on U.S.-China relations with institutions such as the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Greater China Society. [15] CUSEF sponsors programs to “provide American journalists with the opportunities to meet with government officials and community leaders” in China as a part of the underpinning of the bilateral U.S.-China relationship. [16] CUSEF has taken at least 127 U.S. journalists from 40 outlets to China as a part of this program. [17]

Engagement with U.S. Organizations

China-U.S. Exchange Foundation engages directly with U.S.-based nonprofits, think tanks, and universities to advance its objectives. CUSEF has partnered with George H.W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations (the Bush China Foundation). [18] In September 2019, CUSEF signed an agreement to give the Bush China Foundation $1 million per year from 2019 through 2023. [19] [20] According to an Axios report: “Tax filings covering May through December of 2019 show the Bush China Foundation brought in a total of under $1.2 million in contributions, meaning CUSEF’s donations would likely comprise a substantial portion of its revenue.” [21]

In 2018, the University of Texas at Austin refused a $2 million offer from CUSEF for a China center at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs after U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) expressed concern about CUSEF’s ties to China’s ruling Communist Party. [22]

CUSEF has also cooperated on projects with other U.S. think tanks including the Brookings Institution, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Atlantic Council, Center for American Progress (CAP), EastWest Institute, The Carter Center, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. [23]

In 2016, CUSEF also hosted members of the liberal Center for American Progress (CAP) for a bilateral meeting in Beijing. Members of the CAP delegation included chair of the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign and White House Chief of Staff in the Clinton administration John Podesta. [24]

While she worked for CAP, Biden administration State Department official Nina Hachigian was a part of the 2013 CAP delegation that met with CUSEF and proposed exchanges of military personnel between the U.S. military and China’s People’s Liberation Army. [25] According to reports, both sides suggested closer military ties to build a “more mature relationship” that would involve “low-ranking officers and students” in order to “build trust as they move through their careers in their respective countries.” [26] [27] In a 2013 speech, John Podesta credited CUSEF with providing the American and Chinese governments with a set of recommendations to “bring our two nations closer together.” [28]

In 2017, CUSEF funded a new China professorship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in 2017. [29] CUSEF has also established educational relationships with Columbia University, the University of Chicago, [30] Harvard University, Georgetown University, [31] New York University, Morgan State University, University of Montana, and others. [32] CUSEF also has educational relationships with China-based Beijing Foreign Studies University and Peking University. [33]

CUSEF is partners with the America China Public Affairs Institute, United States Heartland China Association, U.S.-Asia Institute, Grandview Institution, The Carter Center, George H.W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations, among others. [34]

Engagement with Government Officials

China-U.S. Exchange Foundation also directly engages with former U.S. government officials. In 2021, CUSEF co-hosted the Hong Kong Forum on U.S.-China Relations whose participants included former Obama administration ambassador to China and Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT). [35] That same year, CUSEF promoted U.S.-China cooperation on China-related issues in a webinar that focused on China-U.S. cooperation on weather-dependent energy and climate change that included former Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR). [36] CUSEF supported a tour of China involving former members of Congress including Reps. L.F. Payne (D-VA), Gary Franks (R-CT), Brian Baird (D-WA), and Mike McIntyre (D-NC). [37]

CUSEF also hosts events with U.S. state- and local-level official delegations in China. [38] CUSEF has hosted a delegation of mayors from the U.S. heartland including the chairman and CEO of the U.S. Heartland China Association. [39]

Lobbying

China-U.S. Exchange Foundation also lobbies on China-related issues. In 2015, CUSEF reported $794,101 of lobbying expenditures, including a payment of $270,000 paid to the left-of-center Podesta Group. [40] In 2016, CUSEF paid the Podesta Group $320,000 in lobbying fees, which included hiring Democratic lobbyist and political operative Tony Podesta. [41] In 2017, CUSEF paid the Podesta Group $290,000 in lobbying fees. [42]

Funding

China-U.S. Exchange Foundation receives funding from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). [43]

In 2008, CUSEF received $397,180 via Give2Asia from the Starr Foundation. [44]

References

  1. [1] “Annual Report 2021.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. 2021. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/who-we-are/annual-reports?openPdfLink=%2Fresources%2Fannual_reports%2Fcusef-2021-annual-report-eng-1.pdf. ^
  2. [1] “Roles and functions of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.” The National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. August 26, 2022. Accessed October 19, 2022. http://en.cppcc.gov.cn/2021-08/26/c_470023.htm. ^
  3. “Mr. Audie Wong.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/who-we-are/our-leadership/mr-audie-wong. ^
  4. “The Hon. Tung Chee-hwa.” China-United States Exchange Foundation.” Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/who-we-are/our-leadership/the-hon-tung-chee-hwa. ^
  5. “Mr. Audie Wong.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/who-we-are/our-leadership/mr-audie-wong. ^
  6. “Roles and functions of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.” The National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. August 26, 2022. Accessed October 19, 2022. http://en.cppcc.gov.cn/2021-08/26/c_470023.htm. ^
  7. “Mr. Audie Wong.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/who-we-are/our-leadership/mr-audie-wong. ^
  8. Toshi Yoshihara and Jack Bianchi. “Uncovering China’s Influence in Europe: How Friendship Groups Coopt European Elites.” Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis. 2020. Pg. 9.  Accessed October 19, 2022. https://csbaonline.org/uploads/documents/CSBA8225_(Uncovering_Chinas_Influence_Report)_FINAL.pdf. ^
  9. Allen-Ebrahimian, Bethany. “This Beijing-Liked Billionaire Is Funding Policy Research at Washington’s Most Influential Institutions.” Foreign Policy. November 28, 2017. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/11/28/this-beijing-linked-billionaire-is-funding-policy-research-at-washingtons-most-influential-institutions-china-dc/. ^
  10. “China’s Overseas United Front Work.” U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. August 24, 2018. Accessed October 22, 2022. Pgs. 15. https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/Research/China%27s%20Overseas%20United%20Front%20Work%20-%20Background%20and%20Implications%20for%20US_final_0.pdf. ^
  11. Lamar Smith and Clay Higgins. “Scholars or Spies?” Inside Higher Ed. June 26, 2018. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2018/06/26/universities-must-take-steps-protect-american-rd-foreign-agents-opinion. ^
  12. “Annual Report 2021.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. 2021. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/who-we-are/annual-reports?openPdfLink=%2Fresources%2Fannual_reports%2Fcusef-2021-annual-report-eng-1.pdf. ^
  13. Ross, Chick. “’Embrace China’: Biden’s Latesat Diplomatic Hire Worked with CCP Front Groups.” Washington Free Beacon. October 6, 2022. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/biden-administration/embrace-china-bidens-latest-diplomatic-hire-worked-with-ccp-front-groups/. ^
  14. “Research.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/what-we-do/research/. ^
  15. “High-Level Dialogues.” China-United States Exchange. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/what-we-do/high-level-dialogues/2022-harvard-kennedy-school-china-conference. ^
  16. “In-Country Programs.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/what-we-do/in-country-programs/media-delegations/. ^
  17. Louisa Lim and Julia Bergin. “Inside China’s audacious global propaganda campaign.” The Guardian. December 7, 2018. Accessed October 23, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/dec/07/china-plan-for-global-media-dominance-propaganda-xi-jinping. ^
  18. “Annual Report 2021.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. 2021. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/who-we-are/annual-reports?openPdfLink=%2Fresources%2Fannual_reports%2Fcusef-2021-annual-report-eng-1.pdf. ^
  19. Lachlan Markay and Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian. “Scoop: Bush family nonprofit’s $5 million deal with China influence group.” Axios. June 5, 2021. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.axios.com/2021/06/05/scoop-bush-family-nonprofits-5-million-deal-with-china-influence-group. ^
  20. “Bush China Foundation-CUSEF grant agreement.” Lachlan Markay Document Cloud. September 19, 2019. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/20797641-bush-china-foundation-cusef-grant-agreement. ^
  21.  Michael Sobolik and Joshua Eisenman. “U.S. Institutions Must Get Smarter About Chinese Communist Money.” American Foreign Policy Council. August 31, 2021. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.afpc.org/publications/articles/u.s-institutions-must-get-smarter-about-chinese-communist-party-money ^
  22. Michael Sobolik and Joshua Eisenman. “U.S. Institutions Must Get Smarter About Chinese Communist Money.” American Foreign Policy Council. August 31, 2021. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.afpc.org/publications/articles/u.s-institutions-must-get-smarter-about-chinese-communist-party-money. ^
  23. Allen-Ebrahimian, Bethany. “This Beijing-Liked Billionaire Is Funding Policy Research at Washington’s Most Influential Institutions.” Foreign Policy. November 28, 2017. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/11/28/this-beijing-linked-billionaire-is-funding-policy-research-at-washingtons-most-influential-institutions-china-dc/. ^
  24. “Expert Delegations from Center For American Progress Visit Beijing.” In-Country Programs. China-United States Exchange Foundation. 2014-2016. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/what-we-do/in-country-programs/engaging-with-american-leaders/expert-delegations-from-center-for-american-progress-visit-beijing#article-header. ^
  25. Ross, Chick. “’Embrace China’: Biden’s Latest Diplomatic Hire Worked with CCP Front Groups.” Washington Free Beacon. October 6, 2022. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/biden-administration/embrace-china-bidens-latest-diplomatic-hire-worked-with-ccp-front-groups/. ^
  26. Ross, Chick. “’Embrace China’: Biden’s Latest Diplomatic Hire Worked with CCP Front Groups.” Washington Free Beacon. October 6, 2022. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/biden-administration/embrace-china-bidens-latest-diplomatic-hire-worked-with-ccp-front-groups/. ^
  27. Rudy deLeon and Yang Jiemian, eds. “U.S.-China Relations Toward a New Model of Major Power Relationship.” Center for American Progress and the China-United States Exchange Foundation. February 2014. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/resources/publications/us-china-relations-toward-a-new-model-of-major-power-relationship.pdf ^
  28. Anderson, Collin. “China Hawks Sound Alarm Over Podesta Appointment.” Washington Free Beacon. September 8, 2022. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/biden-administration/china-hawks-sound-alarm-over-podesta-appointment/. ^
  29. Allen-Ebrahimian, Bethany. “This Beijing-Liked Billionaire Is Funding Policy Research at Washington’s Most Influential Institutions.” Foreign Policy. November 28, 2017. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/11/28/this-beijing-linked-billionaire-is-funding-policy-research-at-washingtons-most-influential-institutions-china-dc/. ^
  30. “U.S.-China Forum on Nov. 16-18 will explore approaches to inequality, social welfare.” UChicago News. November 9, 2021. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://news.uchicago.edu/story/us-china-forum-nov-16-18-will-explore-approaches-inequality-social-welfare ^
  31. “In-Country Programs.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/what-we-do/in-country-programs/creating-relationships-through-education/us-china-students-joint-research-on-global-health. ^
  32. “Annual Report 2021.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. 2021. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/who-we-are/annual-reports?openPdfLink=%2Fresources%2Fannual_reports%2Fcusef-2021-annual-report-eng-1.pdf. ^
  33. “Annual Report 2021.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. 2021. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/who-we-are/annual-reports?openPdfLink=%2Fresources%2Fannual_reports%2Fcusef-2021-annual-report-eng-1.pdf. ^
  34. “Annual Report 2021.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. 2021. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/who-we-are/annual-reports?openPdfLink=%2Fresources%2Fannual_reports%2Fcusef-2021-annual-report-eng-1.pdf. ^
  35. “Annual Report 2021.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. 2021. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/who-we-are/annual-reports?openPdfLink=%2Fresources%2Fannual_reports%2Fcusef-2021-annual-report-eng-1.pdf. ^
  36.  “Annual Report 2021.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. 2021. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/who-we-are/annual-reports?openPdfLink=%2Fresources%2Fannual_reports%2Fcusef-2021-annual-report-eng-1.pdf. ^
  37. “Former Congressional Leaders Tour China.” China-United States Exchange Foundation In-Country Programs. 2019. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/what-we-do/in-country-programs/engaging-with-american-leaders/former-congressional-leaders-tour-china#article-header. ^
  38. “U.S. State and Local Officials Delegation.” In-Country Programs. China-United States Exchange Foundation. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/what-we-do/in-country-programs/engaging-with-american-leaders/us-state-and-local-officials-delegation#article-header. ^
  39. “The Inaugural U.S. Heartland Mayor Delegation Trip to China.” China-United States Exchange Foundation. 2019. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.cusef.org.hk/en/what-we-do/in-country-programs/engaging-with-american-leaders/the-inaugural-us-heartland-mayor-delegation-trip-to-china#article-header. ^
  40. [1] “Client Profile: China-US Exchange Foundation.” Open Secrets. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/clients/summary?cycle=2015&id=D000048641. ^
  41. “Client Profile: China-US Exchange Foundation.” Open Secrets. 2016 Report. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/clients/summary?cycle=2015&id=D000048641. ^
  42. “Client Profile: China-US Exchange Foundation.” Open Secrets. 2017 Lobbying Report. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/clients/lobbyists?cycle=2017&id=D000048641. ^
  43. Lamar Smith and Clay Higgins. “Scholars or Spies?” Inside Higher Ed. June 26, 2018. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2018/06/26/universities-must-take-steps-protect-american-rd-foreign-agents-opinion. ^
  44. The Starr Foundation. Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF). 2008. Schedule C. http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990pf_pdf_archive/136/136151545/136151545_200812_990PF.pdf. ^
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