President Biden’s special climate czar John Kerry has a $1 million stake in a private Chinese equity fund which invested in a tech company blacklisted by the U.S. for human rights abuses and also is connected to a Chinese solar panel company that committed labor abuses of the Uyghurs.
Last year private equity fund, Hillhouse China Value Fund L.P., purchased a 6 percent stake in LONGi Green Energy, making it one of the company’s biggest shareholders. Human rights groups have pointed to LONGi as one of the many Chinese companies that have been accused of abusing the Uyghur population and other ethnic minorities by using forced labor among other human rights violations.
The Washington Free Beacon reports:
LONGi has come under fire from human rights groups and U.S. lawmakers for sourcing many of its raw materials from companies suspected of using forced labor in Xinjiang, a region in northwest China where the government has cracked down on the Uyghur population and other ethnic minorities.
Hillhouse is also a major funder of a tech company tied to the Chinese government’s surveillance of the Uyghurs, as first reported by the Washington Free Beacon last week. News of that investment led Republican senators to call on Biden to fire Kerry over ethics concerns. Further insight into Hillhouse’s holdings is likely to increase scrutiny of Kerry’s finances and raise questions about whether he is using his role as climate envoy to block regulations on Chinese solar panel imports. While Kerry has acknowledged that many solar panels are produced with forced labor in Xinjiang, he has also indicated resistance to additional financial restrictions or penalties on these goods.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) told the Free Beacon that Kerry’s investments are in conflict with his role as climate envoy. Rubio 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 has stalled in the House.
“John Kerry appears to have profited from a company tied to egregious human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Now it makes sense why he is actively working against my Uyghur Forced Labor Act,” Rubio said. “But this is bigger than Kerry. A climate deal cannot make our nation complicit to the Chinese Communist Party’s slave labor practices.”
According to a financial disclosure report he filed at the beginning of the year Kerry still holds a $1 million stake in Hillhouse through a trust in which his wife is the beneficiary. At the beginning of Biden’s presidency, Kerry reportedly sold off much of his energy-related holdings.