President Biden's latest climate appointee studied at a Chinese Communist Party-controlled university that conducts research for the People's Liberation Army.
Biden this week tapped Dr. Yue (Nina) Chen to serve as chief climate risk officer for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, where she will develop "climate risk management frameworks for the federal banking system." Chen earned her chemical engineering degree from Tsinghua University, which one think tank deems a "very high risk" because of its involvement in a "high level of defense research and alleged involvement in cyberattacks" on behalf of the Chinese military. Tsinghua conducts research on "artificial intelligence, air-to-air missiles, navigation technology, instrument science, and materials science," according to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Chen, who previously held a climate regulator position at the New York State Department of Financial Services, is a proponent of "environmental, social, and governance" guidelines, a socially progressive approach to investing known as ESG. Under ESG, investment managers and insurance companies gauge companies' risk based on their commitment to progressive goals in the areas of diversity and climate change. Chen spoke at a panel last year on the topic of pressuring industries to "finally leave fossil fuels behind" and redirect their investments "toward solving the climate crisis."
Chen is not the first Biden nominee for the bank regulator to have studied at a Communist-run university. Saule Omarova, whom Biden nominated last year to oversee the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, earned a "Lenin scholarship" at Moscow State University in the late 1980s. The White House pulled Omarova's nomination after Democratic senators said they would oppose her confirmation because of her support for ending the country's reliance on fossil fuels. Omarova has said she wants to "starve" companies of money to invest in the fossil fuel industry.
Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers' Research, expressed concerns over Chen, citing her education at "CCP training grounds." He said her appointment is part of Biden's effort to establish controversial "environmental, social, and governance" policies at federal agencies.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.