FIRST ON FOX: Hunter Biden said he would be “happy” to introduce his business associates to a top Chinese Communist Party official to discuss potential investments after that official allegedly sat at Hunter’s table during a 2013 dinner in Beijing welcoming his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, according to emails reviewed and verified by Fox News Digital.
The emails underscore the extent to which Hunter was willing to use his political connections to aid his business associates in their pursuit of business in China.
James Bulger, the namesake nephew of Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger, asked Hunter in an email on July 22, 2014, to introduce his business partners to Tung Chee-hwa, a billionaire and first chief executive of Hong Kong who was serving as the vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in 2014. The CPPCC is the “key mechanism for multi-party cooperation and political consultation” under the leadership of the CCP, according to the CPPCC website.
Bulger, who goes by “Jimmy,” served as the chairman of Boston-based Thornton Group LLC— a firm that joined forces with Hunter’s now-defunct Rosemont Seneca to launch its joint-venture with Chinese investment firm Bohai Capital to create BHR Partners. BHR Partners is controlled by Bank of China Limited.
In the 2014 email, Bulger asked Hunter to introduce BHR CEO Jonathan Li and Andy Lu, who was a BHR committee member, to “Mr. Tung” to discuss “BHR investment targets” and “fundraising,” alleging Hunter sat next to Tung at a 2013 dinner welcoming then-Vice President Joe Biden to Beijing. Fox News Digital reached out to the White House multiple times requesting the seating chart for the Beijing dinner, specifically Hunter’s table, but they did not respond.
“It is my understanding that during the trip to Beijing that you made with your father, President Xi hosted a welcome dinner,” Bulger wrote. “[A]t that dinner, you were seated right next to Mr Tung, therefore J and Andy believe it would be very helpful if you could please send a brief email to Mr Tung laying out that you are a partner and Board Member of BHR and that You would be grateful to Mr Tung if he could meet your local partners to discuss the Fund.”
“Please let me know if you can introduce these two to Mr Tung by email it is very important to our BHR intiative [sic] at this moment,” Bulger stressed.
Hunter responded that he was “happy” to fulfill the request but said he couldn’t recall the names of the gentlemen who sat next to him at the dinner.
“Happy to do this,” he wrote, “but I have no email address for Mr. Tung and he very well may have sat next to me but I don’t recall the two gentlemen’s names to my left and right. Regardless, I would suggest the team draft an email in Mandarin and English for my approval ASAP.”
“Let me reach out to Lin and J will revert ASAP,” Bulger replied later that day.
It is unclear if the introduction took place. Fox News Digital’s inquiries to Hunter’s lawyer, Bulger, Li, Lu and Tung went unreturned.
It appears that the Beijing “welcome dinner” hosted by President Xi that Bulger was referencing in his initial email occurred during the evening of December 4, 2013 after then-Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao met with Joe earlier in the day to discuss strengthening U.S.-China relations.
A press release by the Chinese Embassy at the time said Vice President Li held a welcome ceremony for Joe prior to their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square, where the CPPCC’s Tung was also in attendance.
While it is not uncommon for family members to accompany dignitaries to state dinners and other official events, Hunter saying he would be “happy” to help introduce some of his business associates to Tung months after the dinner to help BHR, which he had a stake in at the time, could raise ethical questions.
In addition to the 2013 dinner in Beijing, Tung was on the “expected attendees” guest list for at least two state dinners at the White House during the Obama-Biden administration. Tung’s bio on the Obama administration archives website for the January 2011 dinner says he was “Vice Chairman, CPPCC, former Hong Kong Chief Executive.”
In another press release for the September 2015 state dinner, Tung’s bio lists him as “Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.”
According to a 2018 report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a U.S. government agency, the CPPCC is a “central part” of China’s United Front system, which works to “co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”
According to a 2021 report by The Diplomat, the CPPCC is “designed to liaise with non-Communist Party members – and ultimately see them work with the CCP to advance its interests.” While serving as Vice-Chairman of the CPPCC, Tung also founded the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) in 2008.
The foundation, which has bankrolled several American universities, think tanks, and nonprofit organizations, has received increased scrutiny over the last few years for its activity with the CCP’s “united front” system, the sprawling Chinese Communist Party apparatus that conducts influence operations abroad, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Tung continues to be listed as chairman of the foundation on the organization’s website.
In 2015, the year following the emails about Tung, emails obtained by the Free Beaconand verified by Fox News Digital show that Hunter and his business partners helped an organization seeking to “co-opt” state leaders as part of Beijing’s sprawling foreign influence operation to find an outlet in the United States while his father was vice president.
According to emails, between April and July 2015, Hunter’s longtime business partner Eric Schwerin, who managed the Biden’s family’s finances and visited the White House at least 27 times during the Obama administration, arranged meetings between the State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF) and top State Department officials to help advance a partnership between SLLF and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
In July 2022, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence warned that the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries was seeking “to directly and malignly influence state and local leaders to promote the PRC’s global agenda.”
In April 2015, Bulger sent a long email to Hunter Biden to discuss his recent visit to Beijing as part of the SLLF advance team in preparation for a program there in late 2015, saying it will “hopefully include over 50 legislative leaders from over 25 different US States as well as their provincial counterparts in China.”
Bulger referenced a “Henry” spearheading this partnership, which appears to be referring to Henry Zhao, the “Vice president of State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF) in the US and the President of the Asia Branch of SLLF,” according to his website’s bio. The New York Post previously reported that Zhao is a Chinese Communist Party official and CEO of Harvest Fund Management.
“Henry is spearheading this initiative with SLLF in China so I spent the last week with him. Henry is a big supporter of SLLF and he sees this initiative as being of a major diplomatic significance to both the US and China,” Bulger wrote. “Henry and Steve Lakis (President of SLLF) asked me if I could help Steve set up a meeting with you when Steve is in DC next. Steve wanted to ask your advice on how to proceed on one aspect of setting up an SLLF office in China.”
“Specifically, the US and Chinese government through their respective foreign ministries laid a broad framework that allowed for the creation of the US-China Governors Forum… SLLF would like to set up a similar sort of arrangement but instead focus on exchange between the state-level legislative branch of each country rather than the executive branch. It is on this point specifically that Steve Lakis (President of the SLLF) was wondering if he could just meet at your DC office and discuss paths forward.”
“[Jimmy], Whatever you need on this just let me know and I’ll make it work. Call me tmrw- mid morning works best,” Hunter replied.