A new report revealed this week that the University of Pennsylvania accepted a $3 million donation from a Hong Kong shell company with ties to the Chinese government. The university had come under fire previously after it allegedly failed to disclose $70 million in gifts from China between 2017 and 2019.
According to a report by the Daily Mail, UPenn accepted a $3 million gift from Nice Famous Corporation Limited in 2019. The mysterious company is owned by Xu Xequing, who is alleged to have close ties to China’s Communist Party.
Ben Freeman, the director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy, argued that it is often difficult to separate Chinese businesses and the Chinese government.
“It is difficult to determine whether Chinese businesses are ‘truly independent of the government,” Freeman said. “Even some of the contributions that we’re seeing ostensibly coming from Chinese businesses or Chinese charitable institutions, to some degree or another they are still connected to the Chinese government.”
“Unequivocally they’re using the money they’re providing the universities to garner influence there. It’s not the sole motive, but it’s one of a variety of motives,” Freeman added.
The university claims that the money came from Xin Zhou, a Chinese citizen that has an extensive business relationship with the university. Zhou has participated in events at the university’s Wharton School of Business.
Breitbart News reported in May that the Biden Center at UPenn had allegedly failed to disclose $70 million in gifts from China since 2017. The largest donation, which came in at $22 million, was made by an anonymous donor. Under federal law, foreign gifts over $250,000 must be disclosed to the government alongside information on the donor.
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