Is China using philanthropists like Ronnie Chan to further its geopolitical goals?

“The CCP uses political and diplomatic engagement and deception to gain control and expand China’s spheres of influence without going to war…to put it in real-world terms, its entire strategy is built around political influence, information, and buying people off.” –General Robert Spalding, Stealth War

China uses money to spread its influence. That’s one theme China experts like Michael Pillsbury and General Robert Spalding explored in their respective books. It is why the Confucius Institutes were recently designated by the U.S. Department of State as a “foreign mission of the People’s Republic of China.” 

China uses money to seduce. It buys access through the guise of philanthropy.

According to Pillsbury, “Chinese companies have begun to make substantial donations to think tanks and universities to fund U.S. policy studies of China that support Beijing’s views. It is the orchestration of the messages back in Beijing by the Politburo that makes the difference in winning the Marathon.”

But is China doing this beyond the Confucius Institutes? Is China exploiting philanthropists to divide America?

Well, take a look at T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“This is the same school of ‘public health’ that defended 2+2=5,” according to scholar James Lindsay. Lindsay illustrated the absurdity that some academics claim that insisting 2+2=4 is racist.

This is the same school where a leading researcher was arrested in January for lying to federal investigators about his connections to China’s Wuhan University of Technology.


You read that right. The epicenter of the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic.

The T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University experts praised full-scale Chinese-inspired lockdown in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

It has even declared racism a public health issue. “The deeply embedded racism in our culture has consequences for health,” said David Williams the Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The school promotes Intersectionality to its students.

It is the epicenter of corrosive attacks on America and its Founding principles.

But, there are new questions about the T.H. Chan School of Public Health and its connection to mega donor Ronnie Chan.

In 2014, Harvard received its largest ever donation–$350 million—to support its School of Public Health. It would rename the school as a consequence. An excellent column published Monday by the Harvard Crimson examines the links of that money to not only Gerald L. Chan but his brother Ronnie Chan. Both appear to be involved in the large donation to Harvard.

Of course, Ronnie Chan appears to have connections to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Guillermo S. Hava writes, “The question remains — who is Ronnie Chan? Jimmy Lai, the recently-arrested Hong Kong pro-democracy news mogul dubbed him a ‘pawn of the CCP’ on Twitter, perhaps rightly so.”

Also, Hava quotes Umbrella Movement leader Joshua Wong, “People begin to wonder if Chan plays a supplementary role in China’s global propaganda campaign.”

The National Pulse reported, “Ronnie Chan governs the controversial Chinese Communist Party-led China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), a controversial foundation registered as a foreign agent that targets American universities with donations.”

Forbes deleted an article critical of Ronnie Chan and the Hong Kong branch of the Asia Society. The 2017 article republished here, explores donations as a source of influence at the pinnacle institutions shaping US policy, “Chan has connections, sometimes very weighty ones, at Harvard University in Cambridge Massachusetts, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington D.C., the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the East-West Centre in Hawaii, and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and Washington D.C. These connections are facilitated by donations or the hope of donations, according to a source.”

So, how is Ronnie Chan using this influence? And is it, as some of those articles allege, helping China? And what other things drive Ronnie Chan’s involvement in politics?

The Free Beacon reported that Ronnie Chan shaped research at one think tank. According to the report, “A former Chinese official has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a prominent D.C.-based think tank over the last decade, influencing its research on at least one occasion.”

And the report does not stop there. It shows Ronnie Chan’s extensive ties with Beijing. The FB reports, “While Chan presents himself as a private businessman and benevolent philanthropist to Western audiences, he has extensive ties to the Chinese government. He served as a senior adviser to a state-backed think tank — the China Development Research Foundation — that reports directly to the State Council, the highest administrative authority in China. The billionaire is also a governor at the China-United States Exchange Foundation, a registered foreign agent of the Chinese government that has pumped thousands of dollars to multiple D.C.-based think tanks, including PIIE.”

And Ronnie Chan took China’s side in recent disputes between the totalitarian regime in Beijing and Washington. But, it does not stop there. He indicated the Chinese system outperforms the Western system. Chan was quoted by The Market:

Ronnie Chan: “You have two or three other things that have turned some of the elites in America: One, there were people who were convinced that when China opens up economically it will also open up politically. That didn’t happen. And now they are realizing that there is a system that, in certain circumstances, can be more efficient than the western system.

Q: “You mean the autocratic system?

Ronnie Chan: “Yes, and America cannot accept that. I don’t think that has much to do with Trump. He may not even be able to think all that clearly. But the influential think tanks have that kind of thinking.”

Who is Ronnie Chan?
Ronnie Chan is an American citizen who was born in Hong Kong. His company has a multi-billion dollar property portfolio in Hong Kong. He is a well-known figure with the Asia Society, where he is Chairman Emeritus and Chairman of its Hong Kong Center. The Asia Society was founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller III.

Obviously, Ronnie Chan’s extensive contacts in Beijing and the US are good for business. In September, the developer purchased valuable property in an exclusive area of Hong Kong for 37 percent below comparable sales. As one website observed, “Hang Lung chairman Ronnie Chan has enough street cred in Beijing to buy a controversial site.”

And Ronnie Chan is a leader in the Witness Lee founded Local Church movement—that might be familiar to some of our theological readers because of the controversy a few years ago that resulted in the release of an Open Letter against the allegedly cult-like practices of the movement. The letter included evangelical signers: Daniel Akin, David Allen, Theodore Cabal, Ergun Caner, Norman Geisler, Craig Vincent Mitchell, John Warwick Montgomery, and James White to name only a few.

Here is a video of Ronnie Chan delivering a sermon at one church event.

Witness Lee’s movement rejects “denominationalism.”

According to the Open Letter Witness Lee taught, “The apostate church has deviated from the Lord’s word and become heretical. The reformed church, though recovered to the Lord’s word to some extent, has denied the Lord’s name by denominating herself, taking many other names, such as Lutherans, Wesleyan, Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc. … To deviate from the Lord’s word is apostasy, and to denominate the church by taking any name other than the Lord’s is spiritual fornication.”

And something that might appeal to anti-Western, post-modernists—Witness Lee disliked Christendom.

According to the Open Letter, “I am afraid that a number of us are still under the negative influence of Christendom. We all have to realize that today the Lord is going on and on to fully recover us and bring us fully out of Christendom.”

Even if there are serious theological differences between orthodox evangelical Christianity and those like Ronnie Chan, it still raises an important question: Why would any Christian work with a repressive regime like the CCP?

Are the anti-Christendom views, which amounts to an attack on Western Christianity, one explanation?

Geopolitical consequences
What are the geopolitical consequences of China using money to seduce potential rivals? There is much to learn from the lessons of history. Louis XIV used of gold to seduce and foster faction in England. Just before Glorious Revolution, the king and both parties were happily taking French bribes.

Is China playing a similar game today? Is it exacerbating the factional party fights in the US to achieve its geopolitical aims?

The Daily Signal reported, “Communist China has put its vast propaganda apparatus to work in support of the mayhem that has wreaked havoc in American cities this year. China is, after all, a rival of the United States, and would see weakening of U.S. society and the country in general as advantageous.”

Does China use its money to promote such nonsense as 2+2=5 to divide and weaken America?

And are businessmen and religious leaders like Ronnie Chan helping China as Hong Kong freedom fighters allege?

And if so, just how much influence does this alleged “tool of the CCP” have over US policy?