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Democrats’ China connections keep piling up

Ties between prominent current and former Democrats and China continue to crop up, even as the Chinese Communist Party is trading fiery rhetoric with the Trump administration over its support of Taiwan.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lifted restrictions on U.S.-Taiwan relations last week, a move that the CCP has criticized. And news that U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft planned to visit the region prompted a statement last week accusing the U.S. of “a crazy provocation.”

But former Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat who held Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ California seat for 24 years, briefly registered as a foreign agent for a Chinese surveillance company. After facing mounting backlash, she announced on Twitter Tuesday that she was reversing that decision.

The company, Hikvision, allegedly played a role targeting China’s oppressed Uyghur minority.  Hikvision had a government contract with police in Xinjiang Province, the heart of the Uyghur controversy, in 2016 and 2017.

The Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic group, have allegedly been subjected to mass detention, forced labor and torture in China’s Xinjiang Province. Additional allegations, which China has denied, include forced organ harvesting and coercive birth control.

While it is not unusual for former politicians to enter the lobbying world and register as foreign agents when working with another government, President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration committee took issue with Boxer consulting for Hikvison, whose largest stakeholder is the Chinese government. The committee returned the $500 she donated to the inauguration before she reversed course and deregistered.

“Due to the intense response to my registration I have determined that my continued work has become a negative distraction from my effort to preserve American jobs and make the company better,” she tweeted. “Therefore I have deregistered.”

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