Republican senators are demanding that the Biden administration investigate climate czar John Kerry’s overseas investments, in response to a Washington Free Beacon report that Kerry and his wife held at least a $1 million stake in a Chinese investment group that is a top shareholder of a Chinese tech company blacklisted by the United States for human-rights violations.
The scrutiny of Kerry’s investment portfolio comes after he has spent months downplaying China’s persecution and forced labor of the Uyghur people and as Republican lawmakers have raised concerns that the climate envoy is privately lobbying House Democrats against an anti-slave labor bill.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, said Kerry should lose his job over the investments.
"If John Kerry has more than $1 million invested in a Chinese fund linked to repression and mass detention of Uyghurs it explains why he is against my Uyghur Forced Labor Act and President Biden should fire him," Rubio said on Thursday.
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R., Tenn.) said Kerry "should immediately resign and the Biden Admin should look into whether any other officials own a stake in Chinese companies that partake in human rights violations."
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) called the report about Kerry’s investments "beyond disturbing."
"We need a full investigation into this administration and its ties to the Chinese Communist government," Blackburn said on Twitter.
Kerry disclosed "over $1,000,000" in investments in Hillhouse China Value Fund L.P., according to a financial disclosure report he filed at the beginning of the year. Hillhouse is a top shareholder in YITU Technology, which is involved in China's high-tech surveillance operation against the Uyghur people and helped develop a facial surveillance software for the Chinese government that sorts individuals by race and ethnicity, according to the New York Times.
Kerry has declined to bring up human-rights issues during his meetings with Chinese officials, saying he is focused on climate negotiations. "Life is always full of tough choices," said Kerry last month, when asked if it was necessary to trade human rights for climate concessions with China.