This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
The Bush-China Foundation
Shipwreckedcrew 7/16/2021 9:02 AM
Figure 1Neil Bush, Image: Wikipedia
It seems that Hunter Biden is not the only ne’er-do-well offspring of a US President who trades on his daddy’s name to obtain favorable financial arrangements with representatives of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party.
According to Axios, Bush family black sheep Neil Bush formed a “non-profit” foundation in his father’s name back om 2019, the “Bush Foundation for U.S.—China Relations”, and launched the enterprise with a $5 million grant, payable $1 million a year over five years, from the “China—United States Exchange Foundation.”
The Hong Kong-based CUSEF is run by the city's former chief executive, Tung Chee-Hwa. It calls itself "an independent, non-profit and non-governmental foundation."
Tung is also the vice-chair of a Beijing-based advisory body that promotes the Chinese Communist Party's political aims, which is chaired by a Politburo official who plays a leading role in Beijing's "united front" global influence campaign.
The Axios story notes that the funding from the CUSEF is almost all the funds that the Bush-China Foundation has received.
Neil Bush is the youngest of the three Bush brothers and has grown up in the shadows of his internationally prominent father and brothers.
Neil Bush – much like Hunter Biden -- has longstanding business ties to Chinese interests – not surprising since both Presidents Bush 41 and 43 were committed to fostering the economic relationship between the United States and China during their times in office.
Neil Bush is no stranger when it comes to criticism of his close China ties and his willingness to parrot the views of the Chinese government to its critics in the United States.
A son of the late President George H.W. Bush with business ties to the Chinese government is under fire from experts and human rights activists for defending the Chinese Communist government from Western critics.
“He's a voice for a narrative that benefits the Chinese Communist Party,” Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, told the Washington Examiner.
Neil Bush, who has partnered with a former Chinese government official to form a consulting firm that touts relationships with multiple state-owned Chinese companies, attacked President Trump’s foreign policy while disputing that China is “a monolithic communist authoritarian system that has no regard for personal liberty or human rights.”
Digging a bit deeper into the Bush-China Foundation’s organizational structure, you find that the Foundation’s President is a gentleman named David Firestein. Before becoming the first President of the Foundation, Firestein was the Director of the China Public Policy Center at the University of Texas – hence his connection to the Bush family.
But Firestein has advocated an extremely “pro-China” viewpoint for quite a long time. In 2017 he proposed funding for the China Public Policy Center from the same organization that gave the $5 million grant to the Bush-China Foundation. The attempted pledge was rejected by the University because of the group’s connections to the CCP.
In addition to his post at the University of Texas, Firestein is one of the longest service members of the East-West Institute, where he led the Institute’s work in the area of US-China relations. Firestein was also a senior State Department Diplomat from 1992 to 2010, and specialized in US-China matters.
In May 2020 Firestein was featured in the Global Times, () a daily newspaper in China that is a mouthpiece for the CCP, on the question of the growing chorus blaming China for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given its evident effectiveness in terms of shifting American public opinion – and taking the heat off of US political leaders of both parties and in both the executive and legislative branches of the government – I think the current negativity we see toward China and the “blame China” messaging we now see proliferating across the US will continue indefinitely and certainly through the general election in early November.
Firestein said the idea of “decoupling” the US from China as a result of growing tension and hostility between the two sides is not possible.
I have always viewed with some skepticism the notion that it is feasible for the US and China to “decouple” from each other, relative to the current level of bilateral engagement, to any truly significant degree. Even after a two-year “trade war,” the US and China still have one of the most robust bilateral trade relationships, by volume, in the world and in the history of the world; and the two economies remain deeply intertwined.
But his final comments to the Communist Party’s publication was the real jaw dropper. Asked what impact the COVID-19 pandemic and U.S. reaction to it might have on the U.S.’s role as the “sole superpower” in the world, Firestein said:
I certainly don’t think this pandemic will end the US’ tenure as the world’s sole superpower, nor will it elevate China to superpower status – a status China doesn’t want, in any case (at least as such status is defined by the US). I do think both countries have suffered some reputational damage globally over the last several months; but I don’t think that damage is necessarily irreversible. Desisting from hurling accusations at each other and instead working together to bring the pandemic under control as quickly as possible will go a long way toward reversing the damage that has been done.
That interview was in May 2020 where rumors about the involvement of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s role in the development of the COVID-19 virus as a bioweapon was mostly rumor and innuendo.
But over the past 60 days the subject of Chinese bioweapon research being the culprit behind the creation of the virus and accidental release – allegedly – into the environment has to be debated on a much more factual basis.
In response, on June 24, 2021, another Chinese media outlet – this time CGTN, and English language cable TV service based in China -- turned to Firestein () to get the CCP point of view coming out of the mouth of a prominent American.
[Interviewer]: Mr. Firestein, probably you have noticed, to demonize and demoralize China has become the political norm in the United States politics, and then anything short of criticizing China is regarded as unacceptable in America.
David Firestein: Yeah, that's absolutely true. There's no question about it. Demonizing China is kind of the new national pastime in the United States of America. There's no question about it. It's seeped across the partisan aisle. It started out as mostly Republican. It's certainly now pretty bipartisan, although I think it's more Republican than Democratic… No matter what China does, it's wrong in the eyes of many Americans, and I think that approach, that mindset and reflexive response to China is not helping America.
[Interviewer]: And Mr. Firestein, what is more worrying is that it seems that Biden wants to use ideology as a wedge, because ideology has been now prioritized in dealing with China, because from the Chinese perspective, we never want to export our ideology to America….
David Firestein: I think your characterization is correct. There’s no question that President Biden has laid out a framework in which it is kind of a democracy versus autocracy framing, as you’ve rightly noted. I do think there is a pretty broad misunderstanding in the United States and in Washington as to what China’s aspirations are. I don’t think that China seeks to export its system to others, not to the United States, not to others. I think China wants to make the world safe, not for its system, but safe for itself. It wants to exist, and it wants to not take orders or directives from any other country in the world. That’s what China wants.
The video of the interview:
Sometimes you got to say what you got to say, to make sure that next grant payment from Beijing arrives on time.
Shipwreckedcrew spent more than 22 years as an Assistant United States Attorney working in two different offices in the Western United States, beginning in 1992 at the end of the Administration of the first President Bush, and departing in 2013 during the second term of Barack Obama. He is a veteran of more than 40 federal criminal jury trials taken to verdict -- as lead counsel in all but the very first one -- and has appeared more than 15 times before Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has been in private practice since 2013. He is a regular contributor to Human events, he has been a regular presence on Twitter since 2018, and was a contributor at Red State from May 2020 to July 2021. He writes primarily on legal issues and politics, and is a nationally recognized expert in conservative media in the areas of federal criminal matters and decisions from the Supreme Court. You can also find his work at Shipwreckedcrew@substack.com. follow him on Twitter: @shipwreckedcrew
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