William J Burns, President Joe Biden's nominee for the position of CIA director, reportedly received millions of dollars from a Chinese businessman and a think tank that has close ties with the Chinese Communist Party. According to a report in the Daily Caller, Burns had also invited a group of congressional staff members on a junket to China.
During the junket, Burns, as the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, also met with a communist party operative. Besides, the president of a Chinese front group was also present in the meeting, the outlet reported.
Burns, till date, has reportedly received up to $2 million from Chinese businessmen, who have close ties with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In fact, in 2020 he was paid $540,580 as the president of Carnegie, which he has been heading since 2015. During these five years, Burns has met leaders of Chinese front groups on several occasions and suspicious businessmen with links to CCP members.
During one of the meetings he also spoke at length to a businessman named Zhang Yichen who 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."
Since then Yichen and Burns have shared close a close relationship. So much so that Yichen, as the CEO of CITIC Consulting, a China-based investment firm, also made donations between $500,000 and $999,999 to Carnegie between July 2017 and June 2018. The information is still available on Carnegie's website, according to the Daily Caller. Carnegie's annual report mentions that Yichen donated something between $250,000 and $549,999 again in 2020.
The revelations come just days before Burns appears before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a confirmation hearing. His links, especially with Yichen, will certainly raise a few eyebrows given that he is a member of two organizations linked to the Chinese Communist Party.
According to his biography available on his company's website, Yichen he is an active member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the Center for China and Globalization. CPPCC is an advisory wing of the Chinese Communist Party affiliated with China's united front system and helps in promoting initiatives of Chinese government in foreign countries.
Understandably, Burns' links with Yichen began during joint summits and meetings held by the Carnegie and CPPCC. Moreover, The Center for China and Globalization, where Zhang is the senior vice chairman, is a Beijing-based think tank that also has links with the Chinese Communist Party.
Yichen's hefty donations to Carnegie will definitely raise quite a few eyebrows given the souring relationships between the United States and China, more so because the transactions happened when Burns was at the helm of affairs. According to the Daily Caller, the donations to Carnegie were toward funding the Beijing-based Carnegie-Tsinghua Center, which was formed in 2010 in collaboration with Tsinghua University, one of China's top technological universities.