China-Based Firm, Partnering with Ford on U.S. Plant, Linked to Front Group for Chinese Communist Party Spies

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China CPC C
Bill Pugliano/Li Xueren/Xinhua via Getty Images

A China-based company, partnering with Ford Motor Company to operate an electric vehicle battery plant in Marshall, Michigan, is linked to a group that the United States federal government considers a front for Chinese Communist Party (CCP) spies.

As Breitbart News reported, Ford and China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) are planning a $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Marshall — a deal celebrated by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

CATL is China’s premier electric vehicle battery supplier and enjoys immense support from subsidies overseen by the CCP.

Ford is hoping to score federal subsidies for the electric vehicle batteries produced at the Marshall plant despite CATL’s involvement. Ford executives said the batteries will qualify for half of the $7,500 federal tax credits that were authorized by the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act.

Since the announcement this week, a Fox News report reveals that CATL CEO Zeng Yuqun is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee — a high-ranking CCP advisory body that serves as a central component of the party’s “United Front” efforts.

China’s “United Front” efforts, as the federal government has detailed, are considered to be a front for CCP intelligence operations overseas.

“The United Front Work Department, which is the primary organization responsible for United Front work within China and United Front operations targeting Chinese communities abroad, is a high-level Party body that reports directly to the CCP’s Central Committee,” a federal commission report from 2018 states:

The United Front strategy uses a range of methods to influence overseas Chinese communities, foreign governments, and other actors to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing’s preferred policies. A number of official and quasi-official entities conduct overseas activities guided or funded by the United Front including Chinese government and military organizations, cultural and “friendship” associations, and overseas academic groups such as Chinese Students and Scholars Associations (CSSAs) and Confucius Institutes. [Emphasis added]

Chinese intelligence services have also specifically targeted ethnic minorities such as Uyghurs living overseas, threatening to send their families still in Xinjiang to internment camps, or keep them there, if the former do not agree to spy for China. According to Uyghurs who have been threatened in this way, this coercion is intended “not only to gather details about Uyghurs’ activities abroad, but also to sow discord within exile communities in the West and intimidate people in hopes of preventing them from speaking out against the Chinese state.” [Emphasis added]

A number of Republican lawmakers are slamming the initiative by Ford and CATL.

This month, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) defended his decision to pull the state out of consideration for the electric battery plant.

“This is an easy one where Virginia taxpayer money along with federal taxpayer money wasn’t going to go to the benefit of a CCP-influenced company and a workaround arrangement for what federal law is,” Youngkin told Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto.

Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), in whose district the plant would have been built if Virginia sought the project, backed up Youngkin’s concerns that American taxpayer money will be funneled to the CCP as a result of the venture.

“Governor Youngkin has been working tirelessly to bring jobs to our Commonwealth, but I share his concerns about offering any incentives that will benefit the Chinese Communist Party,” Good told The Hill.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here.


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