U.S. climate envoy John Kerry has admitted that, at least in his role as the carbon-cutting evangelist to the world, he’s not terribly interested in China’s human rights abuses — including the oppression of the Uyghur people of Xinjiang province that some have called genocide.
According to Fox Business, when asked by an interviewer last month about “the process by which one trades off climate against human rights,” Kerry’s answer struck many as shockingly cold: “Well, life is always full of tough choices and the relationship between nations.”
That statement will come under additional scrutiny after financial records revealed Kerry and his wife have a stake in a controversial Chinese investment group that has funded work on facial recognition technology used by the Chinese Communist Party to identify Uyghurs.
The financial disclosure documents filed at the beginning of this year and reviewed by The Washington Free Beacon indicate that the climate czar holds “over $1,000,000” in an investment group called Hillhouse China Value Fund L.P.
“Kerry’s Hillhouse stake is through a trust in which his wife is the beneficiary,” the Free Beacon reported. “While Kerry’s wife is a beneficiary of the trust, he stated in the disclosure that they are not involved in managing the investments.”
Hillhouse, described by Bloomberg as “a $100 billion behemoth that’s made prescient bets on stocks, venture capital and private equity deals,” has made a big bet (prescient or not) on YITU Technology, a firm that is blacklisted by the U.S. because it helps President Xi Jinping’s regime track Uyghurs virtually anywhere.
“The facial recognition technology, which is integrated into China’s rapidly expanding networks of surveillance cameras, looks exclusively for Uighurs based on their appearance and keeps records of their comings and goings for search and review,” The New York Times reported in 2019.
“Chinese authorities already maintain a vast surveillance net, including tracking people’s DNA, in the western region of Xinjiang, which many Uighurs call home. But the scope of the new systems, previously unreported, extends that monitoring into many other corners of the country.”
What’s more, YITU reportedly has plans to expand overseas — meaning other oppressive governments looking to crack down on ethnic minorities could use the software as well.
The U.S. Department of Commerce placed YITU on its trade restriction blacklist in 2019, saying the company is “implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups.”
Intelligence analyst Anders Corr told the Free Beacon that Kerry’s investment in YITU is an “astonishing and disappointing revelation.”
“Kerry leads on the China issue, not just climate talks, and he and his family should be forbidden from investing in a manner that creates even the appearance of a conflict of interest,” Corr said.
Corr added that China’s AI industry is “one of a very few most important strategic sectors for its economic and military development,” and its growth would “enable the achievement of its goal to become globally hegemonic.”
“No American should invest in China’s AI capabilities, which only empower the country in its economic growth, and ultimately the military strength with which it will challenge the benign leadership of the United States,” he said.
By the by, there’s another person in the orbit of the Biden administration who owns a stake in a Chinese AI company implicated in human rights abuses. Want to take a guess at who it is? C’mon, just guess. You’re probably not wrong.
“The president’s son, Hunter Biden, continues to own a 10% stake in a Chinese private equity firm that invested in another Chinese facial recognition company, Megvii, that was also sanctioned by the U.S. government in 2019,” the Daily Caller reported Thursday.
“While White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in early February that Hunter Biden was in the process of divesting his ownership stake in the Chinese private equity firm BHR Partners, business records accessed Thursday shows he still owns his 10% stake in the firm through his personal company, Skaneateles LLC.”
Perhaps Megvii wants to buy some paintings from a certain up-and-coming artist before Hunter officially ends their business relationship. But I digress.
Hunter isn’t going to be doing much of great importance for the next few years, whereas Kerry is tasked with getting China — the world’s biggest polluter — to go along with carbon reduction plans. He’s also seemingly looking the other way as China commits genocide.
Yes, one assumes his money is being invested in something akin to a blind trust, but Kerry of all people should have made it clear to his financial planners that putting money into firms that invest in companies like YITU is strictly off-limits.
Does that narrow one’s range of investment options? Well, life is always full of tough choices.