Gotion, Inc.’s “American” mask slipped Friday when the company’s Foreign Agent Registration Act filing was made public.
The company has attempted to argue its Chinese parent company, which has documented ties to the Chinese Communist Party, will not influence its American version.
But the FARA filing, which is required for companies attempting to influence politicians and regulators on behalf of a foreign government, read in part, “Gotion, Inc. is wholly owned and controlled by by (sic) Hefei Gotion High-Tech Power Energy Co., Ltd.”
According to the U.S. Justice Department, “FARA requires certain agents of foreign principals who are engaged in political activities or other activities specified under the statute to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities.”
As previously exclusively reported by The Midwesterner, Gotion High-Tech’s articles of association require the company to be affiliated with the CCP.
In July 2022, Gotion – which is attempting to purchase 700 acres of property near Big Rapids for the one sq.-mile battery components plant – published a 94-page document titled, “Articles of Association,” essentially the equivalent of an American company’s bylaws. The document, found on Gotion’s website, lays out the company’s governance structure and allegiance to the “Constitution of the Communist Party of China.”
It also states, “The Company shall set up a Party organization and carry out Party activities in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China.”
Chapter VI of the Articles of Association (page 47) establishes a “Party Committee,” whose sole purpose is to ensure the company is adhering to Communist Party doctrine and furthering CCP objectives.
“The Party Committee of the Company shall perform its duties in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China and other Party regulations,” including, “Ensure and supervise the implementation of the Party’s guidelines, principles and policies in the Company, and implement major strategic decisions of the CPC (Communist Party of China) Central Committee and the State Council as well as relevant important work arrangements of the Party organization at the higher level”.
The Gotion corporate document also states that the company’s Party Committee shall “Strengthen the construction of Party organization and Party members at the grass-roots level of the Company” and oversee growing the “Communist Youth League and other mass work of the Company”.
It should not come as a surprise that Gotion is intertwined with the Chinese Communist Party. Aside from that as a requirement for doing business in China, the company’s founder, Li Zhen, is a former government employee and participant in the local communist government leadership.
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According to Moomoo Technologies, he was “a researcher at the Economic Research Center of the Hefei Municipal Government,” and a “delegate to the 13th, 14th, and 15th sessions of the Hefei Municipal People’s Congress.”
A 1986 Central Intelligence Agency briefing on “Provincial Organizations” made public in 2011 “identifies individuals who hold positions on the provincial level in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), legislatures, government, and selected mass organizations.” It contained the names of that era’s leaders of the Hefei Municipal People’s Congress.
A video posted in 2015 by Gotion shed more light on Li Zhen’s access and influence in the CCP.
The Gotion founder says, “I used to work in the government and also have experience in government agencies.”
.@th_Midwesterner exposed a Michigan taxpayer-funded battery maker’s connections to the CCP & now they’re in panic mode. The company hid this video of their founder talking about working with Chinese dictator Xi Jinping. Why the secrecy? It would be a shame if this went viral… pic.twitter.com/q2Mwe81FVj
— Tudor Dixon (@TudorDixon) March 29, 2023
He recounted an interaction with communist dictator Xi Jinping while Li showed off the company’s electric bus technology, “When President Xi visited Hefei last time, I introduced to him about the battery we provided for JAC’s electric vehicle”, and touted the growth in battery capacity.
Gotion, which is headquartered in Hefei City in the Anhui Province of China, has hired a Big Rapids-area man named Chuck Thelen to serve as its American representative for the foothold in the state. He performs media interviews and interacts with government officials. Thelen signed the FARA filing on behalf of the foreign company.
The company’s corporate filing with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs calls Gotion a “foreign profit corporation” with an American beachhead established in Fremont, California.
The FARA filing undermines the notion that the company is an American “subsidiary” of the Chinese corporation as some have claimed. In other words, the mandates to promote and grow the communist party “at the grass-roots level of the Company” would likely be a requirement at the Big Rapids operation, which the company says could employ 2,350 people.
The company also disclosed it coordinated with both State Sen. Sarah Anthony (D) and then Whitmer chief-of-staff Curtis Hertel to “gather background on concerns raised during Senate Appropriations hearing.” Anthony is chairwoman of the committee, which approved $175 million in taxpayer cash for the CCP-linked company.
Hertel is now running for Congress, angling to replace U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who is opting to run for the U.S. Senate. The filing showed numerous other interactions between Whitmer officials and representatives of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.