[Beijing, China - May 9, 2018]
On May 7, an article published online in Foreign Policy referred to an incident concerning the recent US trip of CCG President Dr. Huiyao Wang, which included an invitation to the Wilson Center. The article mentions that a US senator questioned the Wilson Center about Dr. Wang’s ties to China’s United Front Work Department (UFWD).
The article portrays Dr. Wang’s role as the vice chairman of the Western Returned Scholars Association (WRSA), a 105-year old civil society organization under the UFWD’s jurisdiction, as evidence of the Chinese government’s influence abroad. We believe this is a misrepresentation of Dr.Wang’s work. Furthermore, given current US-China trade tensions, these claims could potentially disrupt bridge-building work being carried out by both Chinese and American experts.
CCG believes that the article does not accurately reflect how nonprofits work in China. Under current laws and regulations, all Chinese civil society organizations are required to be registered by various levels of the Chinese government. The Western Returned Scholars Association (WRSA) and the China Overseas Friendship Association (COFA) are both member-based organizations under the registrations of the United Front Work Department, just like all universities in China are under the supervision of Ministry of Education of the Chinese government. In the U.S. all non profit organizations are required to register with the U.S. Treasury Department, in particular the Internal Revenue Service, that does not mean that all U.S. non profit organizations are a member of the U.S. Treasury, nor are they representing the U.S. government.
The organizational structures and activities of the WRSA and COFA are disclosed on their respective websites and other public information platforms and news all the time. Dr. Wang’s social posts at these two nonprofit organizations are just part of many social organizations he is doing volunteer work, and have always been included in his biography on the website. This information can be easily found on the Internet through search engines. He has not been on the payroll of any state apparatus. No WRSA member or person familiar with WRSA or similar Chinese nonprofits would characterize Dr. Wang’s civil work as being done by someone employed by the UFWD.
To clarify CCG’s status, our think tank was founded in 2008 and is financed primarily by research grants and donations by private and corporate donors, which are annually disclosed to the CCG annual meeting. CCG is an independent think tank that has no affiliation with any government organizations or WRSA or COFA. CCG has public records and our partners at home and abroad can testify that CCG bears no fiscal support of government funding. For the last three years, CCG has been continuously ranked as a top independent think tank in China and one of the top 100 think tanks worldwide in 2017 by the well-known Think Tank and Civil Society Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
CCG is known for its expertise and advocacy to strengthen US-China economic relations. Dr. Wang is well respected in the U.S. intellectual community for his scholarship and insights, and his views have been particularly sought after amid the current context of US-China trade frictions. He has traveled to the US for academic exchanges. Upon invitation, Dr. Wang’s activities during this trip included speaking at the Committee of 100 annual conference in Santa Clara, presenting at a luncheon hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, and participating in a two-day conference organized by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to celebrate forty years of US-China relations.
Regarding the event mentioned in the recent Foreign Policy article, Dr. Wang did receive an invitation from the Wilson Center to speak on a panel that was to broadly include discussion of Chinese influence. However, he was not subsequently consulted on the program details and never gave final consent that he would participate. As with all Dr. Wang’s engagements in the US, his bio was widely distributed and readily available online. There is no issue to be had regarding the disclosure of his background or the organizations to which he is affiliated.
CCG believes that the article uses misleading information and draws on biased preconceptions in misrepresenting Dr.Wang’s work for Chinese civil society organizations and an independent think tank. We regret that this article may create confusion and misunderstandings about the contributions CCG is making to improve Sino-US relations.
Moving forward, CCG will continue its efforts to play a constructive role in fostering US-China cooperation and China’s globalization process, a role that we believe is beneficial for both countries and also the rest of the world. We sincerely hope that this line of media coverage will not divert public attention away from the real challenges facing the Sino-US relationship or dampen the positive collegial spirit among the community of experts working in both countries to overcome these challenges.
Center for China and Globalization(CCG)
CCG Statements Release
December 11, 2018
Dear Sir or Madam:
This letter is to inform you that in the report "Chinese Influence & American Interests: Promoting Constructive Vigilance," the content about Center for China and Globalization (CCG) is based on false information. In the Report, CCG is described as a Chinese think tank "professing to be independent from direct government control." Dr. Wang Huiyao, its founder and president, is portrayed as someone "actively solicits invitations to speak in US think tank settings" and his affiliation with China Overseas Friendship Association (COFA) is mentioned in negative light to insinuate that his activities in the United States have been orchestrated and rewarded by the Chinese government. This line of representation about CCG does not reflect truth. This letter is a written protest to the Report's oversight on fact checking.
First, CCG's independence from direct government control is evidenced by its funding sources, which are annually disclosed to the advisory council meeting. Founded in 2008, CCG has been financed primarily by research grants and donations by private and corporate donors. It is supported by an advisory council that consists of over 170 entrepreneurs. Many prominent Chinese private business leaders, such as Ronnie Chan, Wang Shi, Cao Dewang and Robin Li and others who are serving on the executive committee of CCG advisory council. CCG has public records and partners at home and abroad that can testify that CCG bears no fiscal support of the Chinese government. CCG has been ranked by the Think Tank and Civil Society Program (TTCSP) at University of Pennsylvania as one of the world's top 50 independent think tank and granted special consultative status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
When Dr. Wang's role as the vice chairman of the Western Returned Scholars Association (WRSA), a 105-year-old civil society organization under the United Front Work Department (UFWD)'s jurisdiction, was called into question by an American media report published earlier in May, CCG issued a statement explaining how nonprofts work in China. Under current laws and regulations, all Chinese civil society organizations are required to be registered by various levels of the Chinese government. The WRSA and the COFA are both member-based organizations under the registrations of the UFWD, just like all universities in China are under the supervision of Ministry of Education of the Chinese government.
The organizational structures and activities of the WRSA and COFA are disclosed on their respective websites and other public information platforms and news all the time. Dr. Wang's posts at these two nonprofit organizations are just part of many social organizations he is doing volunteer work. He has not been on the payroll of any state apparatus. No one familiar with Chinese nonprofits would characterize his civil work as being done by someone employed by the UFWD. The statement in protest to the media report's misinformation was released to the public and circulated within think tank circles in the U.S.
As a well-known expert and commentator on US-China economic relations, Dr. Wang has traveled to the U.S. many times for scholarly exchanges. Given the context of US-China trade frictions, his views have been particularly sought after by his American counterparts. Mr. Robert Daly (a member of the report's working group), for example, invited him to speak at Wilson Center twice this year. Dr. Wang declined to appear at his public event in May due to the controversial remarks by Mark Rubio but accepted the invitation by Scott Kennedy to speak at CSIS conference featuring 40 years of US-China relations instead. Kenneth Weinstein, president of Hudson Institute even invited Dr. Wang to speak at Hudson there in September this year. Last year, Liz Economy at Council on Foreign Relations hosted a breakfast featuring Dr. Wang's visit. All these well-respected think tank leaders can testify to the fact that they extended invitations to Dr. Wang to speak at these think tanks. To say that he himself actively solicited invitations to speak at US think tanks is not reflecting the fact at all.
This line of representing us is disturbing also for its disregard of CCG's role in promoting positive US-China relations. Following the bilateral trade frictions developed in the spring, we have since published two major research reports on the trade issues and submitted numerous policy papers to the Chinese government recommending measures to ease the tensions. Due to the wide-reaching public impact of the publications, a series of US officials and experts have visited CCG headquarters in Beijing to exchange views, including deputy assistant secretary of commerce Alan Turley, former undersecretary
of state Robert Hormats, former assistant secretary of state and vice president of Asia Society Daniel Russel, former USTR Michael Froman and Susan Schwab, former deputy USTR and vice president of ASPI Wendy Cutler, former deputy USTR and former WTO director-general Rufus Yerxa, Hudson Institute experts Mike Pillsbury and Richard Weitz, Heritage Foundation Ambassador Terry Miller, to name just a few. Most recently, US ambassador to China Terry Branstad joined CCG event promoting "Better Angels," a documentary about people-to-people ties between the U.S. and China. At the event, our positive contribution to US-China relations has been highly publicly praised by Mr. William Zarit, the Chairman of AmCham China.
This statement of facts serves to refute the false information that puts Dr. Wang's personal reputation and integrity of CCG in doubt. We demand that the Report remove the content not aligned with truth from the report. We understand that this report is part of a highly-charged debate in the U.S. about foreign interference. In the meantime, we deeply appreciate the dissenting submissions from the report's working group, such as Susan Shirk's. We are not deterred by the febrile environment in our bridge building effort. We hope the intellectual community in America would serve as the bulwark against the rise of “neo-McCarthyism,” a nefarious trend capable of plunging the world’s two largest economies into cold war.
We thank you for your true understanding on CCG and thank you for your support.