Sasse Calls on Kerry To Answer Questions About China Investments

Kerry disclosed $1 million investment in group that funds company linked to slave labor

John Kerry
John Kerry (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)
November 15, 2021

Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) is calling on Biden administration climate envoy John Kerry to answer questions about his family’s investments linked to companies implicated in Chinese labor and human rights abuses.

Sasse sent a letter to Kerry demanding to know whether he had knowledge of the human rights issues and whether the investment was reviewed by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, according to Fox News.

Kerry disclosed a $1 million stake in Hillhouse China Value Fund L.P., a Chinese investment group whose holdings include LONGi Green Energy, a solar panel manufacturer that reportedly sources its materials from companies engaged in slave labor of the Uyghur minority in China, the Washington Free Beacon first reported in October.

LONGi Green Energy had its imports seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection this month due to suspicions that the products were derived from forced labor.

Although Kerry divested from many of his energy-related holdings in March, the list of divestments did not include Hillhouse, according to a disclosure Kerry filed in March with the Office of Government Ethics.

Sasse said the investment "raises serious moral and ethical issues and may present a conflict between your personal financial interests and our efforts to address serious human rights abuses in China."

"It is not unreasonable to ask whether this potential conflict of interest could inadvertently signal to Beijing that you may be willing to trade progress toward a climate deal for silence on key human rights issues, at a moment when the Chinese government continues to commit genocide against Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang," wrote Sasse.

Sasse is not the only lawmaker to raise concerns about Kerry’s China-linked investment. Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) called on the climate envoy to resign over the issue and has also raised concerns that Kerry is stealthily lobbying against anti-slave labor legislation in Congress in order to protect the Chinese government and solar panel industry.