John Liu’s Ties That Bind

May 6, 2013 Updated: May 8, 2013

NEW YORK—After two of John Liu’s former campaign aides were found guilty of federal charges on May 2, Liu’s response contained a telling detail that was widely reported without further comment.

Liu spoke highly of his former campaign treasurer, Jia (Jenny) Hou: “Jenny was very capable. She was a good person. She is a good person. I continue to believe in her.”

By contrast, when asked about former fundraiser Xing Wu (Oliver) Pan, Liu responded, “I said what I said about Jenny.”

Why would the city comptroller—and candidate for mayor—express such warmth toward one convicted associate, and pointedly leave the other out in the cold?

Perhaps Liu was practicing simple self-preservation. A campaign treasurer is right next to the candidate, so a treasurer’s guilt more strongly implies culpability on the candidate’s part. Thus Liu would defend Hou and, by extension, defend himself.

On the other hand, Pan, the fundraiser, is less closely tied by law to Liu’s campaign, and could be found guilty of illegal activities that the candidate, Liu, would plausibly have no knowledge of. If Liu had to sacrifice one associate, it would be Pan.

Makes sense as far as it goes, but let’s look at this more deeply. What do the ties that bind Liu and his aides together say about who is backing him, and where those backers are?

Pan’s Associates

Oliver Pan serves as a link between Liu and the shadowy realm of Chinese front groups in the United States, such as the Fukien American Association, where Pan is the executive vice chairman. The association is affiliated with the Fuk Ching gang, known for its involvement in human trafficking, extortion, and protection rackets. The Fukien American Association is also a prime organizer of events for visiting officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

These Chinese front groups serve the interests of the CCP as part of its multi-pronged strategy to infiltrate the societies of other nations. Placing Chinese-Americans in prominent positions, such as mayor of New York, is a key element in the CCP’s grand strategy to achieve business, political, and military objectives abroad—objectives that are certainly not in the interests of the target nation.

Hou Family Ties

Jenny Hou was appointed treasurer of Liu’s campaign in mid-November 2011. Evidence presented in the recent trial shows that Hou traveled to China for six weeks immediately after her appointment—and before she received training from the Campaign Finance Board, training that was critical to conducting her new job properly.

Could Jenny Hou have been receiving training and instructions from CCP officials during that trip, as well as during two other trips of nine days each in 2011?

Consider that John Liu traveled to China in 2007 to meet with high-ranking CCP officials in several cities. He also received an award from the CCP that was covered by media in China, “The World is More Beautiful Because of You/Award for Chinese Influencing the World.” Li Fengzhi, a former intelligence officer of the CCP’s Ministry of State Security said, “The politicians who get high publicity in the CCP’s official media are often those who are close to the CCP privately or are who the CCP nurtures.”

Accompanying Liu on his 2007 trip were several Chinese front group leaders, including the founder and president of the Beijing Association of New York, Jianli Hou, who is Chinese-born. Hou is also the father of Jenny Hou. 

Perhaps John Liu said “I continue to believe in” Jenny Hou because she is the closer link back to the CCP’s nerve center, the ultimate guarantor of his tangible and intangible backing. The Hou connection (father and daughter) is a tighter connection that leads more directly to the heart of the CCP in China.

The California Connection

Oliver Pan unwittingly shed light on a link between Liu and another powerful connection, this one on the other side of the United States.

In a meeting with an undercover FBI agent in July 2011, Pan was musing about Liu’s chances at being elected mayor.

Pan said, “In West Coast, we have, uh, several, you know Congress level we have Mayor San Francisco…”

The mayor of San Francisco then and now is Chinese-American Ed Lee. As reported in The Epoch Times in 2011, Ed Lee was backed for election by—and is currently beholden to—a local political power broker, Rose Pak. She is a consultant to, and de facto head of, the San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

In the same meeting, which was videotaped by hidden camera, Pan said, “Uh, East coast compared to West coast, uh, we are five to ten years behind, in the political process…”

On the West Coast, which Pan says is 5–10 years ahead of the East Coast, Rose Pak has strong ties to the CCP. For instance, she personally invited the Chinese consul general to Ed Lee’s mayoral inauguration.

Former San Francisco Board of Supervisors president Aaron Peskin believes that Rose Pak backs Ed Lee, and that, in turn, Rose Pak is backed by the CCP.

Peskin told The Epoch Times in 2011, “The connections are deep: Look at the number of trips that Mr. Lee has taken to the People’s Republic of China with Ms. Pak—many over the years.”

Sightseeing With Strings Attached

Those familiar with the trips taken by public officials to China know all too well that, beyond the sightseeing and the friendship-building, the trips are calibrated to serve the CCP’s long-range objectives in the officials’ home nations. CCP hosts offer their guests enticements and incentives—some aboveboard and some in the shadows. For the unswayed guests, they set traps. 

As New Epoch Magazine reported in 2010, the CCP’s “intelligence agencies work on the theory that there are four weak points in human nature: fame, profit, lust, and anger. [They] attempt to pinpoint these weaknesses in an individual and tailor their approach accordingly.” 

We don’t yet know exactly what led up to, or what happened during, John Liu’s 2007 tour around China with Chinese front group leaders. But we do know, from tracing the connections of his two convicted former associates, that there clearly are ties that bind.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.