Bombshell: Former Obama-Era Ambassador’s Institute Financially Backed By A Chinese Company Whose Founder Has “Strong Ties” With CCP

U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., right, is greeted by Wang Xinkui, head of Shanghai WTO Affairs Consultation Center, in Shanghai, China, Thursday, March 18, 2004. Baucus is on a week-long trip to Asia to build trade ties in the region. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

An institute founded by former President Obama’s ambassador to China is funded by a Chinese company. The founder has deep ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and he was recognized as the party’s “National Outstanding Communist Party Member” in 2021.

The Max S. Baucus Institute at the University of Montana School of Law was formed by former Ambassador to China Max Baucus and his wife in 2017 after their return from China following the Obama administration. They released their annual report last month and thanked Chinese company Wanxiang Group ad one of its “major” corporate sponsors.

“In 2022, we received $1.15 million from foundations, individuals, and corporations,” the report said. “We thank these generous donors for supporting our mission.”

The Wanxiang Group is listed as one of the major donors alongside nine others, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The Baucus Institute said it raised a total of $3 million to date, and they have a goal of $15 million.

Fox News shared:

According to a 2021 press release by Wanxiang Group, the CCP posthumously awarded the company’s founder, Lu Guanqiu, the title of “National Outstanding Communist Party Member.” He passed away in October 2017 at the age of 72.

Wanxiang Group praised Lu Guanqiu in the release as regarding “the pursuit of communism as a lifelong ideal and practice,” and it said he “insisted that the development of an enterprise is inseparable from the correct leadership of the party.”

2018 press release by Wanxiang Group quoted company President Lu Weiding as describing his father, Lu Guanqiu, as “the eternal chairman of the board of directors.” Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a symposium at the time on “private” business, where he praised Lu Guanqiu as a “pioneer of reform of private enterprises,” the press release said.

“That night, when reading the relevant news published by People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency, Zhejiang News etc. on the Internet, and especially seeing [General Secretary Xi Jinping’s] summary and comments on the founder of Wanxiang, Lu Guanqiu, Wanxiang people were so excited that they couldn’t help sharing the good news with everyone they knew,” the press release continued.

The founder of Wanxiang’s bio on the website says that he was elected as the 13th and 14th Representative of the Communist Party of China, and a delegate to the 9th, 10th, and 11th Chinese National People’s Congress.

The Baucus Institute offers a China study abroad program called the “Baucus Institute-Wanxiang Fellow Summer Study Abroad Program”. They send the University of Montana students to Hangzhou. The program is co-hosted with the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), which was also founded by a top CCP official named Tung Che-Hwa.

Tung is the vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) which has been described as a “central part” of China’s united front system. It 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 2018 report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a U.S. government agency.  

Tung also founded CUSEF. According to the Baucus Institute’s website, the China study abroad program is almost fully funded by CUSEF.

“Thanks to the generosity of CUSEF, nearly all expenses are covered, including lodging, travel insurance, breakfasts at hotels, and group meals,” the program application states. 

“However, flights to and from China and expenses such as overweight luggage and personal purchases are NOT covered.”

In a Baucus Institute newsletter published last spring, it highlighted a student in the “Baucus Climate Scholars” program who went on to work for Wanxiang Group. It quoted the student saying he was “super enthusiastic” about drafting a “report regarding sustainable topics” for the company.

The Baucus Institute became a 501(c)(3) last year, which means it is now tax-exempt and a tax write off for donors.

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