An English translation of Gotion Inc.’s 2022 ESG report conclusively confirms that the company actively supports and engages in Chinese Communist Party activities.
The electric vehicle battery parts manufacturer and its American representative Chuck Thelen have repeatedly stated to the press as Michigan lawmakers that they have no affiliation with the CCP.
According to Gotion’s 2022 ESG report, however, the CCP affiliation runs deep within the company. A Google translation from the original Chinese reads: “In order to celebrate the 101st anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, welcome the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and further play the leading role in party building work, the company’s party committee will organize in 2022.”
The report continues: “Carried out thematic education activities such as the study of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, red theme education, and love for students” and “Carry out the theme education activities of ‘never forget the original heart, keep in mind the mission.’ Secretary of the company’s party committee and chairman Li Zhen led some party members and the company’s leadership team.”
Li Zhen is Chuck Thelen’s boss. Thelen was hired to represent Gotion in the United States.
Gotion is in the process of building a controversial 3-million square-foot facility in Mecosta County outside Big Rapids with the assistance of $175 million from the Michigan Strategic Outreach Attraction Reserve fund. Additionally, significant tax abatements from Mecosta County.
State and local incentives for the project are estimated to reach up to $1.14 billion.
“I opposed enriching the Chinese Communist Party at the expense of Michigan taxpayers,” Michigan Republican state Sen. Jonathan Lindsey (R) told The Midwesterner. “These wealth transfers are an insult to our citizens and a threat to our national security.”
In mid-July, as reported by The Midwesterner, a lawsuit was filed alleging that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s designation of a permanent Renaissance Zone in Mecosta is illegal.
The Gotion plant and the company’s connection to the CCP have long been a source of concern. Last April, former Michigan lawmaker and former U.S. Ambassador Pete Hoekstra and former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Cella wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, seeking an investigation of potential Gotion violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
“From the outset of this project, due diligence, strict scrutiny and transparency have been woefully lacking,” Cella and Hoekstra wrote. “Many legitimate questions from elected officials and citizens alike remain, particularly involving the national security threat presented by this company based in The People’s Republic of China (PRC) which maintains ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Unfortunately, to advance the proposed project, officials in the State of Michigan who are directly engaged with Gotion, Inc. are shielding themselves from these questions through the binding and punitive 5 year non-disclosure agreements, justifying the secrecy on account of ‘competition’ saying they are ‘commonplace’ with such economic developments.”
On Thursday, Hoekstra told The Midwesterner: “We’ve known from the beginning that Gotion is closely tied to the CCP. This further information just puts more meat on the bones in making that case. Governor Whitmer, the state legislature, and the Right Place are all willing to spend Michigan taxpayer dollars to further the goals of the Chinese Communist Party.”
As recently as Wednesday of this week, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer touted the Gotion facility in Mecosta County as a victory for the state’s economy, workforce, and battle against climate change.
Whitmer has not addressed any concerns about Gotion’s CCP connections, which increasingly appear to be a reality. The ESG report, for example, also addresses Gotion’s participation in the 20th National Representative of the Communist Part of China meeting held between Oct. 16 to Oct. 22, last fall:
“The meeting was successfully held. During the period, the company’s party committee organized party members and cadres and various branches…. Representatives of party members watched the opening and closing ceremonies and listened carefully to Xi Jinping,” and “The spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, research and deployment of grassroots party organizations at all levels to implement work.”
The Daily Caller initially reported on Gotion’s ESG publication, acknowledging that The Midwesterner broke the story that the company’s Articles of Association explicitly state: “The Company shall set up a Party organization and carry out Party activities in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China. The Company shall ensure necessary conditions for carrying out Party activities. The secretary of the Party committee shall be the chairman.”