John Liu’s Close Ties to Beijing

February 29, 2012 Updated: December 10, 2013

NEW YORK—Only one New York politician has ever received the award, “The World is More Beautiful Because of You—an award for Chinese “Influencing the World.”

That politician is the city’s comptroller, John Liu, and he received the award in 2007 on a sponsored trip to China from a collection of state-controlled media.

Liu has been in the news lately because of allegations his mayoral campaign has used illegal fundraising tactics. Questions about Liu’s fundraising were first raised by The Epoch Times in 2009 during his run for comptroller in a series of articles that looked at Liu’s connections in New York and Beijing. Those connections remain relevant today.

Liu’s relationship with certain Chinese organizations should be concerning to New Yorkers, says former Canadian diplomat Brian McAdam.

“Wherever there is a Chinese community, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) is going to try and infiltrate, if they haven’t done so already,” McAdam said in a 2009 interview as Liu was campaigning for the city’s top fiscal job.

According to a member of the NYPD with a history of work in Chinese communities, the Chinese regime looks for politicians who can be the face of its United Front.

The United Front is a strategy that uses overseas Chinese to infiltrate foreign politics and establish community associations, business groups, and media that promote the interests of the CCP around the world. These groups plant or transform political and community leaders who act as agents of influence for the regime.

The umbrella organization, the United Front Work Department, sits under the CCP Central Committee and is part of an intelligence operation that harks back to 1935. Three pillars make up the United Front efforts under each consulate abroad: Chinese community associations, student associations, and media and propaganda.

The highly publicized The World is More Beautiful Because of You award was given to Liu the day after he met with Xu Yousheng, a top director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, during the sponsored trip in 2007. The overseas affairs office is a high-level state department that is responsible for advancing the Chinese regime’s overseas agenda.

The Overseas Chinese Affairs Office acts as a medium between the United Front Work Department and the CCP’s foreign embassies and consulates. When needed, the consulates and embassies will relay orders to CCP-controlled Chinese associations, student groups, business groups, and media.

Chinese Politicians Highly Targeted

Li Fengzhi, a former intelligence officer of the Chinese Communist Party’s Ministry of State Security said influencing politicians in the West is an important part of the regime’s overseas activities—the main purpose being that these politicians back Beijing’s policies at critical times.

Another purpose is to sway politicians to remain silent about the regime’s human rights violations.

Li said this was particularly so with Chinese politicians in the West, and warned that these politicians need to be careful to draw a clear line between the CCP and China.

“They must hold on to their conscience and obey the laws in their countries. At the same time they should do things that are truly beneficial to the Chinese people.”

He said the CCP often offers a lot of money and publicity to certain politicians and, at the same time, gets emotionally involved with them.

“The politicians who get high publicity on the CCP’s official media are often those who are close to the CCP privately or are who the CCP nurtures. The CCP doesn’t promote or defame someone for no reason. This is an easy way to tell who the CCP’s friends are.”

The same is true by seeing who the CCP awards or honors, or campaigns for, Li said. “This person is probably very close to the CCP.”

In mainland China, the state-level CCP mouthpieces, including People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency, CCTV, and China News Service, have strongly supported and promoted Liu’s activities in New York since he was first elected to the City Council in 2001.

For instance, China News Service had 24 special reports on Liu’s campaign for comptroller, with 13 reports after Liu’s decision to run for city comptroller. It’s very unusual for China’s state media to pay such attention to a local U.S. election.

Liu’s campaign and activities are also strongly supported and promoted by some Chinese-language media in New York known to be associated with the CCP. China Press, for instance, is one of these. According to a report in the journal China Brief, China Press is directly controlled by the CCP.

Besides being promoted by CCP controlled media, Liu has received strong support from Chinese associations known to have close ties to the Chinese regime.

One of these is the Fukien American Association (FAA). The group notes on its website that the association “firm and unyielding, openly stands on the front line of the battle, and has become a crack force in Chinatown opposing independence and pushing unification.”

The last part refers to combating attempts by Taiwan to become an independent state, and instead promoting its assimilation into communist China.

The website notes that the association does battle with “anti-China forces,” protects the reputation of the homeland, and has received high acclaim from the Chinese regime.

On July 10, 2007, the FAA raised $36,000 for Liu, according to the China Press. The following year on July 20 the same group raised at least $70,000, according to World Journal, another Chinese newspaper.

Chinese Regime Advocate

Liu demonstrated his support for the CCP when CNN anchor John Cafferty, in response to the repression in Tibet in March 2008 that the Chinese leaders were “basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they’ve been for the last 50 years.”

Liu helped obtain a permit for a rally by Chinese associations protesting Cafferty’s remarks. At the rally, Liu said, “The last couple of months there’s been unfair statements about China, about Beijing, even about the Olympics, and people disagree with. And the fact is when people feel very strongly we need to make a statement and make a voice.”

The CCP launched a campaign to “eradicate” Falun Gong in July 1999, in response to the group’s popularity in China.

In March 2008, violent, organized protests against Falun Gong erupted in Flushing, protests, which the then PRC Consulate General Peng Keyu took credit for in a recorded phone call.

 Liu refused several requests from Falun Gong practitioners living in his district to meet with him to discuss the attacks. On one occasion, Liu was meeting with individuals who had been charged with attacking Falun Gong practitioners. When the practitioners arrived at Liu’s office, he showed them the door, saying, “Bye, bye, bye.”

In 2009 Shen Rong, the leader of a group he registered in New York that is devoted to spreading literature attacking the spiritual practice of Falun Gong, told The Epoch Times that John Liu “strongly supported” the formation of both his and another group that also spreads anti-Falun Gong literature in Flushing.