Biden administration climate czar John Kerry holds a $1 million stake in a Chinese private equity fund, Hillhouse China Value Fund, that is both invested in a tech company blacklisted for human rights abuses and is a major shareholder in a solar panel firm connected to labor abuses of the Uyghurs, The Washington Free Beacon reported on Monday.
Hillhouse China Value Fund L.P. bought last December a 6% stake in LONGi Green Energy, a Chinese solar panel manufacturer, making it the company’s second largest shareholder.
Human rights groups and U.S. lawmakers have accused LONGi of sourcing many of its raw materials from companies that are beleived to use forced labor in Xinjiang, a region where the Chinese government has abused the Uyghur population and other ethnic minorities.
Hillhouse is also a major funder of a tech firm connected to Beijing’s surveillance of the Uyghurs, a revelation last week that led Republican senators to urge Biden to fire Kerry over ethics concerns.
The newest revelations raise more questions about whether Kerry is using his position as climate envoy to prevent regulations on Chinese solar panel imports.
"On the one hand, we’re saying to [China], ‘You have to do more to help deal with the climate,’" Kerry said last month. "And on the other hand, their solar panels are being sanctioned, which makes it harder for them to sell them."
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Kerry has been actively lobbying against his bill that would bar Chinese imports made with slave labor, which passed the Senate with bipartisan support but is languishing in the House, according to the Free Beacon.
Anders Corr, an intelligence analyst and publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, said Kerry’s China investments were "an outrage."
"Far too many investors have continued to pour billions into China even after abundant evidence that the country is executing an ongoing genocide and threatens war against our closest allies," Corr said.
He added, "That Kerry too had funds invested in China is an outrage, not least because he is a public official who claims to uphold the highest of ethics. Investing in China, given its shocking violation of human rights and totalitarian political system, should be cause for immediate removal from any positions of public trust."
Kerry's Hillhouse stake is through a trust in which his wife is the beneficiary. Kerry said in his disclosure that they have no say in managing the investments.
While Kerry sold off earlier this year many of his energy-related holdings, those divestments did not include Hillhouse, according to a disclosure filed in March with the Office of Government Ethics.
LONGi "is a customer of many of the polysilicon companies that are engaged in labor transfers in the Uyghur Region" and has ongoing purchasing deals with polysilicon manufacturers GCL-Poly and Daqo New Energy, the Helena Kennedy Center for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University stated in a report.
The U.S. Department of Commerce blacklisted GCL-Poly and Daqo in June for allegedly "participating in the practice of, accepting, or utilizing forced labor involving Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups."
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