San Francisco Mayor London Breed Dines With, Accepts Stuffed Panda From Chinese Influence Operatives

San Francisco Mayor London Breed dined with the head of a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence group in China on Thursday, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation review of that organization’s website and social media account.

Breed arrived in China on April 13 for an approximately week-long trip visiting several Chinese cities, which will wrap up on April 21, according to her office. Breed visited the Beijing headquarters of the Chinese People’s Association For Friendship With Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) on Thursday and met with CPAFFC Party secretary and chairman Yang Wanming, according to the organization’s Chinese-language website and social media account, which the DCNF translated.

CPAFFC is a central cog in China’s influence operations; in October 2020, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo characterized CPAFFC as “a Beijing-based organization tasked with co-opting subnational governments, [which] has sought to directly and malignly influence state and local leaders to promote the PRC’s global agenda.”

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) has likewise described CPAFFC as a “key organization in China’s United Front network.” The United Front Work Department (UFWD) is a “Chinese intelligence service” responsible for coordinating the CCP’s so-called “United Front work” and “influence operations,” according to the USCC.

“On April 18, Chairman Yang Wanming met with San Francisco Mayor Breed at the Chinese People’s Association For Friendship With Foreign Countries,” CPAFFC’s Chinese-language website and social media account reported. “Yang Wanming said that San Francisco is one of America’s most important cities, and it is also one of the U.S. cities with which Chinese people are most familiar. [San Francisco] has long been at the forefront of China’s diplomatic exchanges and it has carried out productive cooperation with China in a wide range of fields.”

Posts on CPAFFC’s Chinese-language website and social media account include photos showing Breed seated across a long table from Yang Wanming during Thursday’s meeting.

 

April 18, 2024, San Francisco Mayor London Breed held discussions with Yang Wangming, the head of the UFWD "affiliate" Chinese People's Association For Friendship With Foreign Countries in China. [Image created by the DCNF from CPAFFC photo.]

April 18, 2024, San Francisco Mayor London Breed held discussions with Yang Wangming, the head of the UFWD “affiliate” Chinese People’s Association For Friendship With Foreign Countries in China. [Image created by the DCNF from a CPAFFC photo.]

During talks, Yang Wanming told Breed that he “hopes that localities and people from all walks of life from China and the U.S. will take action” to make the “Vision For San Francisco” that President Joe Biden and General Secretary Xi Jinping discussed in November 2023 a “reality,” according to CPAFFC’s website and social media account.

 

Breed thanked CPAFFC for its “warm reception and meticulous arrangements” and said that she hoped to deepen San Francisco and Shanghai’s sister-city relationship, as well as San Francisco’s economic and high-tech ties with other Chinese cities, CPAFFC’s posts state.

Breed’s trip “marks the 45th anniversary of the San Francisco-Shanghai Sister-City relationship, which is the first established U.S.-China Sister-City relationship,” according to her office.

In July 2022, the National Counterintelligence and Security Center warned that the CCP may “exploit city-to-city partnerships between the United States and China, which are managed on the Chinese side by CPAFFC.”

Indiana recently banned sister-city agreements with adversarial nations in March 2024 following a DCNF investigation based on Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks’ letter to the mayor of Carmel, Indiana, requesting the city withdraw from its Chinese sister-city relationship.

 

After discussions with Yang Wanming, Breed attended a CPAFFC luncheon, according to CPAFFC’s Chinese-language website and social media account.

Photos show Breed standing beside Yang Wanming in front of a large blue sign reading: “Luncheon in Honor of Mayor London Breed.”

 

April 18, 2024, San Francisco Mayor London Breed attended a luncheon with Yang Wangming, the head of the UFWD "affiliate" Chinese People's Association For Friendship With Foreign Countries in China. [Image created by the DCNF from CPAFFC photo.]

April 18, 2024, San Francisco Mayor London Breed attended a luncheon with Yang Wangming, the head of the UFWD “affiliate” Chinese People’s Association For Friendship With Foreign Countries in China. [Image created by the DCNF from CPAFFC photo.]

Another CPAFFC photo from the event shows Yang Wanming standing beside Breed, who is holding a panda bear stuffed animal.

 

“San Francisco’s far-left mayor London Breed is happy to dine with Chairman Xi and travel with a Chinese Communist Party overseas influence outfit. It’s unAmerican,” Banks told the DCNF.

 

April 18, 2024, San Francisco Mayor London Breed met with Yang Wangming, the head of the UFWD "affiliate" Chinese People's Association For Friendship With Foreign Countries in China. [Image created by the DCNF from CPAFFC photo.]

April 18, 2024, San Francisco Mayor London Breed met with Yang Wangming, the head of the UFWD “affiliate” Chinese People’s Association For Friendship With Foreign Countries in China. [Image created by the DCNF from CPAFFC photo.]

The following day, Breed’s office announced that the San Francisco Zoo will “welcome pandas from China.”

 

“President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) traveled to San Francisco in November to meet with President Joseph R. Biden and government leaders during APEC,” Breed’s office announced. “In his remarks, the President shared his vision to further people-to-people exchanges between China and the United States, and his intention to bring China’s Panda Diplomacy program back to the United States.”

The U.S. State Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence have repeatedly warned about Chinese influence operations targeting “subnational” leaders at the state and local level using “people-to-people” exchanges.

 

Prior to arriving in Beijing, Breed visited southern China and met with Guangzhou’s mayor, according to a Chinese social media post from Guangzhou’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the meeting, the parties discussed cooperation between Guangdong province, Hong Kong, Macau and San Francisco, the post states.

CPAFFC secretary-general Shen Xin attended the meeting between Breed and Guangzhou’s mayor and was also present for Breed’s visit to CPAFFC’s headquarters, according to Chinese social media posts from Guangzhou’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and CPAFFC.

In October 2023, CPAFFC took credit for inviting California Gov. Gavin Newsom to visit China, and toured the country with his delegation, the DCNF reported.

Banks, who is a member of the House Select Committee on the CCP, told the DCNF that “the next Republican Attorney General needs to start holding local politicians accountable for collaborating with the CCP’s political warfare arm.”

“Congress should pass my legislation to sanction United Front propagandists,” added Banks, referring to his Countering China’s Political Warfare Act.

Breed and the State Department did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.


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