Former U.S. ambassadors Peter Hoekstra and Joseph Cella aren’t taking Gotion Vice President of Manufacturing Chuck Thelen’s townhall comments this week lying down.

Thelen initiated the online Gotion townhall on Monday in order to, in his words, increase the company’s transparency and his own visibility.

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It wasn’t long into his Q&A session, however, before he took aim at local concerns in Western Michigan that the electric-vehicle battery manufacturing plant has significant ties to the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Republic of China. He depicted those who continue to raise questions even after repeated denials that Gotion Inc. is linked to the CCP as conspiracy theorists and claimed they were engaging in “xenophobia”.

“Chuck Thelen and those hired by PRC-based and CCP-tied companies like Gotion are expected to engage in disinformation and misinformation to achieve the results they demand from such ‘deals,'” the duo said in a text to The Midwesterner. “When doing this, they plead ignorance, deny, obfuscate, and counter attack with mocking, derision, and engage in phony charges of ‘xenophobia’ and ‘racism.’  This is the nature of things in such ‘deals,’ and this is exactly what Thelen did during his ‘Chat With Chuck’ forum.  He attempted to answer questions, but only generated more.”

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Cella and Hoekstra also countered Thelen’s claim that Gotion’s proposed plant in Green Charter Township in Mecosta County is “benign” because other PRC companies operated in Michigan.

Thelen cited one by name, but failed to disclose it is tied to the CCP, and is a subsidiary of a Chinese-state owned civil military company that produces military hardware for the People’s Liberation Army, and is subject to U.S. sanctions, Hoekstra and Cella wrote. “Another PRC-based and CCP-tied manufacturing company in Michigan was raided by the FBI apparently due to national security concerns,” they added. “Thelen is coming from an entirely uninformed point of view when it comes to understanding or discussing the national security threat our greatest adversary presents.”

The two former ambassadors also noted that the Pentagon ended procurement of lithium ion batteries from Gotion, CATL, and a few others, and required any of their technology present on military installations be uprooted, because of the national security threat they present.

“Governor Whitmer, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, The Right Place, and Ferris State University recklessly defied the warnings of our national security and intelligence agencies when it came to the PRC-based and CCP-tied Gotion ‘deal’ by refusing to exercise vigilance, conduct due diligence, and ensure transparency, integrity, build in accountability to prevent exploitation by the PRC and the CCP,” they wrote

Cella and Hoekstra concluded their comments sent exclusively to The Midwesterner by stating: “This deal is corrupted from head to tail and everyday citizens know it. Whether it comes about the questionable nearly $1 billion Michigan taxpayer subsidy for a PRC-based and CCP-tied company worth $40 billion, to the binding and punitive five- and 10-year nondisclosure agreements that shrouds the ‘deal,’ to the scaling national security threat presented by the PRC and the CCP that other states and countries around the world are seeking to counter. They are asking very important questions that remain unanswered.”

Watch the full event here: