90 Miles From Tyranny : Biden’s CIA pick, William Burns, leads a think tank with close ties to China

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Biden’s CIA pick, William Burns, leads a think tank with close ties to China

  • William J. Burns, the nominee for CIA director, is the president of a prominent think tank that has received as much as $2 million in recent years from a Chinese businessman and a think tank with links to the Chinese Communist Party.
  • As part of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s work with China, Burns invited a group of congressional staffers on a junket to China in 2019 where they met with a professor who works for the Chinese Communist Party’s central committee. They also met with the president of a prominent Chinese front group.
  • Zhang Yichen, a Carnegie board member and prominent donor, is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which advises the Chinese Communist Party on policy issues.

William J. Burns, who is President Joe Biden’s nominee for director of the CIA, is president of a think tank that has received up to $2 million from a Chinese businessman as well as from a think tank with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

As president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Burns also invited nearly a dozen congressional staffers to attend a junket to China, where they met with a communist party operative and a president of a Chinese front group.

Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao meets with William Burns 
Burns, who was paid $540,580 last year as president of Carnegie, will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a confirmation hearing likely to be held this month. He has been president of Carnegie since March 2015.

During Burns’ tenure at Carnegie, a businessman named Zhang Yichen joined the think tank’s board of trustees.

“We are very fortunate to have Zhang Yichen on our board,” Burns, a former deputy secretary of state, said in a statement in October 2016. “I look forward to working with him to make Carnegie an even finer institution.”

Zhang, the CEO of CITIC Consulting, a China-based investment firm, donated between $500,000 and $999,999 to Carnegie from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, according to Carnegie’s website. He gave between $250,000 and $549,999 in the 2020 fiscal year, according to Carnegie’s 2020 annual report.

Zhang is a member of two organizations linked to the Chinese Communist Party, according to his biography at CITIC Capital: the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the Center for China and Globalization.

CPPCC is an advisory group for the Chinese Communist Party that is affiliated with China’s united front system, which promotes Chinese government...




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