Amid strained US ties, Beijing finds unlikely friend in Utah...

News Summary

  • Beijing believes, the report said, that “local officials are more pliable than their federal counterparts.”The National Counterintelligence and Security Center in July warned state and local officials about “deceptive and coercive” Chinese influence operations.
  • He has frequently forwarded messages from Chinese government officials to Utah lawmakers and helped the Chinese Embassy set up meetings with state officials.After embassy officials tried unsuccessfully last year to get staff for Utah Gov.
  • I’m just someone who cherishes the relationship between the U.S. and China,” Le said in an interview in his Weber State office.Adams, the Senate president, said he feels otherwise.“I do believe he’s lobbying,” Adams said.
  • When visiting Utah, China’s diplomats and officials often meet top church members as well as lawmakers, emails and other records show.Expanding to China has been a top goal for the church, which plays a heavy role in Utah politics and the state’s overall identity.
  • Lawmakers have partially used campaign donations to pay for the trade missions and cultural exchanges, while relying on China and host organizations to pay for other expenses.On the trips, they’ve forged relationships with government officials and were quoted in Chinese state-owned media in ways that support Beijing’s agenda.
  • U.S. officials have noted that China’s civilian spy agency, the Ministry of State Security (MSS), has shown an interest in Utah, court records show.In January, former graduate student Ji Chaoqun was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges related to spying for China.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Chinas global campaign to win friends and influence policy has blossomed in a surprising place Utah, a deeply religious and conservative state with few obvious ties to the worlds [+19533 chars]