A China-focused summit hosted by the University of Pennsylvania featured a host of speakers with controversial ties to the Chinese Communist Party, including the CEOs of TikTok and Chinese military proxies, and President Joe Biden.
The Penn Wharton China Summit has been described as “one of the most widely attended conferences focusing on China in American academia” and has also featured high-ranking members of the Chinese Communist Party as speakers.
The unearthed event â€“ which has seen its landing page erased from the internet â€“ follows the discovery of classified documents at the Washington, D.C. office of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. It also follows intense scrutiny over a lack of transparency into tens of millions of dollars flowing into the Ivy League university from China.
In what appears to be another conflict of interest, companies led by CEOs speaking at the event in 2019 â€“ such as TikTok and XiaoMi â€“ have received favorable treatment from the Biden White House.
Lei Jun, the CEO of XiaoMi, spoke at the event before the Trump administration placed the smartphone giant on a blacklist over its ties to the Peopleâ€™s Liberation Army. He also spoke at the 2016 summit.
The designation was inÂ response to the companyâ€™s involvement with Chinese Communist Party initiatives to topple U.S. technological supremacy and its CEO receiving the â€œOutstanding Builder of Socialism with Chinese Characteristicsâ€ award in 2019 from the Chinese regime.
In President Biden’s first few months, however, he reversed Trump’s decision to blacklist the company.
Similarly, ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming spoke at the summit. ByteDance is the parent company of the social media platform TikTok, which Zhang has pledged to use to “promote socialist core values.”
Biden has failed to ban the app in the U.S., revoking the Trump administration’s short-lived executive order which accomplished the feat.
Former Ambassador to China Max Baucus has also addressed the event as a prominently featured speaker.
The former Ambassador to China and Senator from Montana has donated to Bidenâ€™s SenateÂ andÂ presidentialÂ campaigns, endorsed his 2020 bid with â€œno question in mind,â€Â and evenÂ invited Biden to his wedding.
Biden, reportedly a â€œgood friendâ€ of Baucusâ€™s, even took Air Force Two to the wedding.
AsÂ â€œchief advocateâ€ of Baucusâ€™s ascension to ambassador, Joe Biden laid the groundwork for a nearly four-decades-long friend who bizarrely admitted he was â€œno real expert on China” to receive the role.
Also in attendance was Cui Tiankai, a Chinese Communist Party diplomat and longest-serving Chinese Ambassador to the United States, and Consul General of the Peopleâ€™s republic of China Huang Ping.