Gotion Inc. North American Manufacturing Vice President Chuck Thelen continues to receive blowback after he hosted his first “Chat with Chuck” online town hall on Monday night.

First, he attacked opponents of the proposed electric vehicle battery plant in Mecosta County as “xenophobes“. But he also asserted that the CCP is the same as the Republican and Democratic parties in the U.S.

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“[B]y the way, the CCP is a it’s a political party like Republican or Democrat,” Thelen commented in the middle of a statement.

U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, a Midland native, is the incoming chairman of the House Select Committee on China.

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“Gotion has continually misled Michigan residents and claimed it is not affiliated with the CCP. Now one of its executives just attended CCP meetings in China,” Moolenaar told The Midwesterner in an email.

“The CCP is a threat to the American people and our way of life,” Moolenaar continued. “It is also the largest organized source of xenophobia and bigotry in the world. It is committing genocide against people of faith and denying freedom of speech to more than a billion people. For a Gotion executive to participate in its meetings is truly awful. State and local officials should end Gotion’s project in Michigan.”

Former U.S. Ambassadors Joseph Cella and Peter Hoekstra also weighed in on Thelen’s equating the PRC with U.S. political parties.

“For Chuck Thelen to support the brutal and genocidal CCP by equating it to the Republican and Democrat parties is appalling and outrageous,” they said in a statement.

“Thelen is beholden to the Chairman of the Board of Gotion, Zhen Li, and his son, Chen Li, who are both active members of the CCP. They annually pledge oaths of fealty to the Party and have incorporated the Constitution of the Communist Party of China into Gotion’s Articles of Association, requiring them to implement the Party’s guidelines, principles, and policies in the Company, which includes conducting espionage and engaging in intellectual property theft.”

The ambassadors continued: “Monday’s forum was an attempt to ‘humanize’ the people behind this project and the regime the company it is intertwined with, but it failed spectacularly and made worse with this horrific statement by Thelen, who has no clue the totalitarian CCP is responsible for the deaths of over 100,000,000 million people due to starvation, persecution, prison labor, and mass executions.”

Thelen made his remarks after stating it’s nobody’s business if Gotion Chief Technology Officer Steven Cai is a member of the Chinese Communist Party because he was photographed at CCP meetings as reported by The Midwesterner and The Daily Wire.

It is unclear which of the aforementioned publications he referred to when he stated: “Yeah I read that tabloid article. Ummm. Stephen Cai is our CTO, he’s our chief technical officer. He resides now in Europe.  His full time residence is listed as the United States because he is a U.S. resident. He’s a U.S. citizen but he’s been in China for the last roughly three years working for Gotion High Tech,” he said, referring to Gotion Inc.’s Chinese-owned parent company.

“He’s not in the U.S., number one,” Thelen continued, speaking about Cai. “Number two, I have had extensive travels within this gentleman. I’ve literally traveled around the world with him, had lots of conversations with him. He’s a very well-learned person in this,” he said, noting Tai received his doctorate from Wayne State University and worked at General Motors and Apple.

Regarding Tai’s political affiliations, Thelen said: “I have talked to him one time about political affiliations. His comment was, ‘Nobody in this company discusses that. OK? So, I know you have to ask the question, but the answer is that we won’t discuss the political affiliation because it does not belong in our company. Nobody discusses it nobody has any interface with any PRC … it’s the people that run the company, the country is the PRC, but who belongs to what political party I’m not going to speak about….”

“It’s not a people’s business because I don’t bring it to work,” Thelen said angrily. “It is unprofessional and inappropriate to bring that kind of thing to work and nobody has ever talked to in Gotion Inc. has ever had that conversation since I’ve been here four years ago January. So I understand there’s an article written about it.… I don’t know his political affiliation and neither should I.”

Cella and Hoekstra called on Thelen to retract his statement, and to condemn the atrocities committed by the CCP. They also said Thelen should “apologize to all of the living victims of Communism and the families of all who perished.”

They also called on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Economic Development Corporation Quentin Messer, “all members of the Michigan legislature, Randy Thelen, the CEO of the Right Place, and Dr. Bill Pink, president of Ferris State University, and all other backers of the Gotion ‘deal’ to call on Thelen to retract his statement equating the CCP to the Republican and Democrat parties, condemn the CCP, and apologize to all victims of Communism and their families.”

Watch the full event here: