But talk is cheap. The Clintons may object to Chinese human rights abuses, but what they'll never object to is depositing huge Chinese checks directly into their joint personal bank accounts. Checks that come from Bill's speaking fees for Chinese hosts, many of which are connected to the PRC, the Chinese government, and Communist Party organizations.
Now that's really inexcusable. And it should end.
It's not just that they rake in the Chinese money. They dance a well-orchestrated two step -- while Hillary attacks, Bill looks the other way and collects the checks that benefit the both of them. It works really well. Bill has deliberately stayed silent when he's had a clear opportunity to speak out on internet censorship, freedom of the press, and the imprisonment of dissidents. On several occasions, when Chinese dissidents and human rights groups specifically asked him to make a statement about Chinese repression, he turned the other way and kept quiet. Grabbing the money was much more important.
CGI Asia Opens Up New Donors For The Foundation And New Income Sources For The Clintons
And when the Clinton Global Initiative held its first conference in Asia in 2008, (just days after Hillary was nominated as Secretary of State) it was not human rights groups or advocates for a free press who were invited. No, just like the CGI meetings in the U.S, this was a marketing exercise, not a discussion of idealistic policies. Bill was on the lookout for big contributors. For the most part, rich Asian entrepreneurs were targeted and government officials were the featured speakers. A few Clinton regulars were thrown into the mix -- like the owner of hedge fund, Avenue Capital, Marc Lasry, a longtime Clinton campaign donor and Foundation supporter. Mark also has paid Bill for speeches, hired Chelsea Clinton, and invested in Chelsea's husband's hedge fund.
The working sessions were not cluttered up with talk about the need for reform in China or any other Asian country. No time for that. Too much business opportunity out there. Too many potential donors who might be offended.
Welcome To The Communist Leaders
The keynote speaker at the inaugural 'CGI Asia' was the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. He's famous for saying that the Chinese people do not consider the Dalai Lama to be a "religious leader." He described him as, instead, "the mastermind behind [Tibet] separatist sabotage" and the "personification of evil and deception," whose efforts are "doomed to failure."
Panels were populated with Chinese government and Communist Party elite, including Li Xiaolin, Vice President, Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, a PRC government controlled organization. Ms. Xiaolin is the only daughter of former Chinese Premier Li Peng, known as the "Butcher of Tiananmen Square" after he ordered tanks to break up the crowd of student demonstrators, killing hundreds of them. Ms. Xiaolin has worked for the PRC all of her life and promotes the Communist philosophy of government control over all aspects of the lives of its citizens. Here's an example of her thinking:
"I think we should open a morality file on all citizens to control everyone and give them a sense of shame."
These are the people that Bill Clinton chose to set the tone for his first foray into Asia. Bill wanted to tap into the richest and most powerful people in Asia. And he did. So while Hillary screams about the Chinese, she and Bill have gotten rich from them. Bill was able to parlay his contacts at CGI Asia into two immediate speeches that netted the Clintons $500,000 in one week. And one of those contacts eventually led to Terry McAuliffe's electric car company that paid Hillary's brother! It's great to be a Master of the Universe.
See No Evil, Hear No Evil
The Clinton Foundation also benefited from Bill's Chinese fundraising. In 2005, Chinese mega company Alibaba invited Bill Clinton to speak at an internet forum in Hangzhou, China. Alibaba is the immensely successful Chinese e-commerce website -- whose recent IPO was the largest in history at over $3 billion. Its founder and CEO, Jack Ma, was formerly an official in the Chinese Trade Ministry. The LA Times reported that in the days before the speech, "two prominent rights groups Human Rights China and Reporters without Borders, asked Clinton to raise Internet freedom issues during his speech and address the plight of Shi Tao, a Chinese writer arrested in 2004." Shi Tao was sentenced to ten years in jail for providing a Communist Party document to an overseas democracy site (he served 8 and 1/2 years). Yahoo's China division provided state security authorities with private Internet data that identified Shi Tao. The U.S. Congress reprimanded Yahoo and the company was forced to pay damages to Shi Tao's family.
But Clinton mentioned nothing about either censorship or Shi Tao. And Alibaba made a donation between $500,000 - $1,000,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Another donation was for $100,000 - $250,000. It was a win-win situation.
Alibaba has been accused of collaborating with the Chinese government in repressing dissidents. In 2008, Alibaba posted the Chinese government's "most wanted" list of Tibet dissidents. The posting provided pictures and government phone numbers, urging Chinese citizens to turn the dissidents in.
Jack Ma, the long time CEO of Alibaba has never addressed the government's repression and has counseled entrepreneurs to follow local laws. He doesn't seem to have had any problems with the PRC.
Ma has become a favorite of Bill Clinton's. He spoke at the CGI Asia and, more recently, at the Clinton Foundation Annual Meeting in 2014.
Originally, when questioned about Alibaba's donation, Bill claimed that was made to his AIDS program and "helped him to save lives in China." But after a reporter noted that tax returns for the Clinton Aids Foundation showed no such donation, a spokesman conceded that the money had gone to the Clinton Foundation and not to his AIDS efforts.
In 2004, Clinton appeared at the launching of Accoona, a Chinese government sponsored internet search engine that has a twenty year partnership with the China Daily Information Co., a subsidiary of the China Daily News, the English language newspaper owned by the government. The Clinton Foundation was paid in 200,000 shares of the private company's stock, which were later sold for $700,000 to an undisclosed buyer at a time when the company had millions in debt and its co-founder was jailed on fraud charges. The Foundation refused to disclose the name of the buyer, who apparently didn't mind buying a worthless investment.
Accoona highlighted its ties to the Chinese government in SEC filings: "CDIC's market knowledge and its parent's ownership by the Chinese government gives us an advantage over companies that do not have such a relationship."
Recently, a Chinese billionaire contributed $2 million to the Foundation.
Bill's Chinese Speech Proceeds Go Into Joint Bank Accounts
But it's not just the Clinton Foundation that has made money on the Chinese. Bill has been paid more than $3 million for speeches in China, and many of the hosts have ties to the PRC. One of his first speeches in China was paid for by DNM Strategies, headed by Jingli, a member of a prominent organization sponsored by the PRC Parliament. Numerous other sponsors had the same connection.
In 2011 and in 2014, Bill gave a total of three speeches totaling $1,200,000 to Huatuo CEO Forum, founded by Chinese billionaire Yan Jiehe, who made his fortune, in large part, through lucrative contracts for Chinese government sponsored infrastructure.
In 2013, Bill gave two speeches in two days and was paid $500,000 for each one. There was apparently no concern that some of his sponsors might be inappropriate for a candidate for president of the United States (even if a coy one). Because there is no disclosure requirement on his income, we must rely on published reports. There's likely been many more.
So Hillary can keep on ranting about the Chinese while the Clintons and their Foundation get rich on their Chinese sponsors. It's a good plan.
Question: Will the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton bank accounts put some restrictions on Bill's fundraising and income production during the campaign?
To not do so would be, to quote Hillary:"inexcusable."