President Joe Biden's pick to represent the United States on a council that promotes free trade in Asia has a long history of cozying up to the Chinese Communist Party. He's also a top Biden donor.
Biden tapped Dominic Ng, the chairman of East West Bank, to represent the United States on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s Business Advisory Council, a group of business leaders that advises governments on issues in the Asia-Pacific region. Ng, who has led the East West Bank since 1992, contributed $100,000 to the Biden Victory Fund and $35,500 to the Democratic National Committee in October 2020, according to campaign finance disclosures.
Ng’s appointment means the United States will be represented by a consistent defender of some of Beijing’s most controversial policies. The role could also provide a boost for Ng’s bank, which lends heavily to businesses in Asia. Ng has endorsed China’s infrastructure program, the Belt and Road Initiative, and criticized the United States for refusing to join the program. He has sided with Beijing on other hot-button issues such as the origins of the coronavirus. Ng also criticized two Biden-backed bills to make the United States more competitive with China.
Ng is the latest Biden ally to land a prestigious administration appointment. Biden tapped his longtime friend, Chris Dodd, to serve as special envoy for the Summit of the Americas, a triennial meeting of government and business leaders from the Western hemisphere. Dodd signed an ethics agreement for the position, the Washington Free Beacon reported, because his lobbying firm represents several countries taking part in the summit. Biden also appointed his friend and campaign supporter Joe Kiani to serve on the Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Kiani has given $1 million to Biden’s family charity and bundled $1 million in donations for Biden’s campaign.
Ng served as chairman of the Committee of 100, a group of Chinese-American business and government leaders that one Hong Kong columnist has called "a pro-Beijing group, concerned almost exclusively with the interests aligned with those of the Chinese Communist Party."
Chinese president Xi Jinping praised the committee as one of the "friendly groups" that has championed positive U.S.-China relations. As chairman of the committee, Ng hosted Xi during a 2012 visit to Washington, D.C. The banker said Xi was "easy-going" and "attentive to his suggestions" to encourage Chinese businesses to invest in the United States.
The Committee of 100 has vehemently denied allegations that it is linked to the Chinese Communist Party. But officials inside CCP-controlled influence groups have worked closely with the Committee of 100. Ng gave a keynote speech at the committee’s 2019 gala, which was attended by the vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, a group the State Department cut ties with over its links to the Chinese Communist Party.
The Committee of 100 is also linked to the China-United States Exchange Foundation, a Hong Kong-based think tank suspected of working as a front group for the Chinese Communist Party. Tung Chee-hwa, the founder of the foundation, has been described as a "supporter" of the Committee of 100. Ronnie Chan, who serves on the governing board of the foundation, is also a member of the Committee of 100.
Ng has also served on the board of directors for the Asia Society, a U.S.-based nonprofit that receives funding from several Chinese state-owned companies. Asia Society has partnered with China’s Confucius Institutes, which allegedly promote pro-Beijing propaganda at American colleges and high schools.
Ng has espoused views on U.S.-China relations that seemingly put him in closer agreement with Beijing than with Biden.
Last month, Ng criticized the Make it in America Act and America COMPETES Act, two Biden-backed bills meant to make the United States more competitive with China. Ng said the measures would "inadvertently hurt" American competitiveness and innovation, citing a provision in one bill that requires American companies to report investments in certain Chinese industries. China’s National People’s Congress slammed the bills, saying they were "steeped in Cold War mentality" and designed to undercut China’s economy.
Ng has also praised China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic while dismissing the theory that the virus emerged from a lab accident in Wuhan. He wrote in June 2020 that Chinese authorities took "crucial first steps" to contain the virus. He also said President Donald Trump had pushed false theories that the virus sprung from a Chinese lab.
The banker has defended China’s Belt and Road Initiative, an infrastructure program that Beijing uses to expand its economic and military influence across the globe. Ng said the U.S. government’s opposition to the program was a "missed opportunity." He also said he had met with groups to discuss ways to get American companies involved in Belt and Road.
In 2018, Ng touted Chinese companies including Beijing Genomics Institute and Tencent. The U.S. government has since sanctioned Beijing Genomics Institute for collecting DNA from Uyghurs in western China. Tencent has come under scrutiny for censoring China’s Internet at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party.
The State Department referred the Free Beacon to the White House for comment. The White House and East West Bank did not respond to requests for comment.