Monday, September 4, 2023

Michigan EV Plant's Chinese Backer Promotes Communist Propaganda

Michigan EV Plant's Chinese Backer Promotes Communist Propaganda

Visitors dressed in red army uniforms visiting a house where former Chinese leader Mao Zedong used to stay, during an educational tour in Jinggangshan, China, on Sept. 21, 2012. (PETER PARKS/AFP/GettyImages) 

A China-based company behind the U.S. taxpayer-funded electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in Michigan has published reports showing some employees raising their fists pledging loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) while others tour a museum wearing what look like Red Army uniforms.

Gotion High-Tech is the China-based parent company of Gotion Inc., which is developing an EV battery plant near Big Rapids, and it recently published reports and video footage showing its staffers participating in pro-communist activities at an apparent work retreat.

Gotion Inc. secured a $1 billion taxpayer support for its factory near Big Rapids, at an overall cost of $2.4 billion, according to reports. Concerns about the deal have been raised by Michigan residents, Republicans, and environmental groups.

'Fight For Communism'

Records first reported by the Daily Caller National Foundation (DCNF) show that during the summer of 2021, employees of Gotion High-Tech went on field trips to communist revolutionary memorials in China, donning Red Army outfits and pledging to "fight for communism to the end" of their lives.

“I volunteer to join the CCP, uphold the Party’s platform, observe the provisions of the Party’s by-laws, carry out a member’s duties, carry out the Party’s decisions, strictly observe the Party’s discipline, be loyal to the Party, work hard, to fight for communism as long as I live, be ready at all times to sacrifice everything for the Party and people and never betray the Party,” the employees chanted during a trip to China’s Revolutionary Memorial Hall in July 2021, according to footage translated by the DCNF.

A second trip took place a month later, per the report, when the company took staff to Dabie Mountain in Anhui Province, where they paid homage to the CCP's Long March, a retreat by communist forces in the 1930s that is celebrated by the CCP as a military victory. Employees during the second trip also wore Red Army uniforms and sang pro-communist songs.

While Gotion High-Tech didn't respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times, a company spokesperson from Gotion Inc. told Fox News that its parent company didn't fund the excursions.

"Gotion High-Tech employees in China are involved with many clubs, including biking and hiking clubs, and one politically affiliated club," the official told the outlet. "None of these clubs are financed by Gotion High-Tech, and some employees individually paid for field trips to historical sites in China out of their own pockets."

"Gotion Inc. is headquartered in Fremont, California, and is not supervised, directed, controlled or financed by any foreign government or foreign political party," the spokesperson said. "Gotion Inc. does observe all American holidays and wishes everyone a wonderful Labor Day holiday this weekend."

Gotion's North American manufacturing vice president, Chuck Thelen, has in the past dismissed concerns about its parent company's links to the CCP, saying that Gotion Inc. is “not Chinese-owned.”

"The rumors that you’ve heard about us bringing communism to North America are just flat-out fear-mongering and really have nothing based in reality," he said in August, according to Politico.

All companies in China, including foreign companies, are required by law to have within its structure a CCP office that supervises the company’s operations.

Visitors dressed in Red Army uniforms take part in a tour in Jinggangshan in central China, on Sept. 21, 2012. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors dressed in Red Army uniforms take part in a tour in Jinggangshan in central China, on Sept. 21, 2012. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

Gotion Inc. Registers as Foreign Entity

Gotion Inc. recently registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, according to the registration document it submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The document states that Gotion Inc., which is based in Fremont, California, is “wholly owned and controlled” by Gotion High-tech Co. Ltd., which is based near Hefei, a city in eastern China.

The document also states that Gotion Inc. is not “supervised,” “directed,” or “financed” by “a foreign government, foreign political party, or other foreign principal.”

Gotion Inc. is, however, "completely controlled" by China-based Gotion High-Tech.

The document also asks whether the “foreign principal,” meaning Gotion Inc., will engage in “political activities.” Gotion answered "Yes."

Efthymis Oraiopoulos contributed to this report.

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