WASHINGTON—Gov. Gavin Newsom should immediately fire California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) Chief Investment Officer Yu Ben Meng because of his “long and cozy relationship with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), according to Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.).
In a Feb. 12 letter to Newsom, Banks pointed out that, with $360 billion in assets, CalPERS is the biggest public employee pension program in the United States and it has a long history of “shareholder activism,” in which officials leverage the funds wealth to influence corporate and government policies around the world.
“Mr. Meng was hired as the deputy CIO of Chinas State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) in 2015. SAFE is a Chinese Communist Party agency responsible for managing $3 trillion in state-owned assets,” Banks told Newsom.
“Mr. Meng, who first moved to the United States at 25, told the Chinese newspaper Peoples Daily regarding his return to China, that in a persons life, if there is an opportunity to work for the motherland, this responsibility and honor is unmatched by anything.”
Banks said that, if it were his decision and given Mengs record, he “would fire Mr. Meng immediately,” because of his loyalty to the CCP and status as a former senior official with one of Beijings most critical financial assets.
“At the least, I think a thorough investigation of Mr. Mengs relationship to the Chinese Communist Party and a comparison of CalPERS investments in Chinese companies before and after” his hiring by the pension are needed, Banks added.
The Indiana Republican noted that “Meng was recruited to SAFE through Chinas Thousand Talents Program (TTP). TTP is a program which brings talented businessmen, researchers, and scientists trained abroad back to mainland China, where they apply their expertise in service” to the CCP.
“According to FBI Assistant Director Bill Priestap, TTP is a part of Chinas non-traditional espionage against the United States. Presumably, a TTP members mission is lifelong,” Banks told Newsom.
Banks listed the most significant of CalPERSs massive investments in China, estimated in 2018 to be $3.1 billion in at least 172 Chinese firms. He also noted that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the nations governors, including Newsom, during a Feb. 9 speech that CalPERS “is invested in companies that supply the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) that put our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines at risk.”
Banks said its most recent investment report confirms that “CalPERS holds shares of China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC), which has constructed PLA naval bases in the South China Sea, and in China Shipbuilding Industry Corp., a state-owned enterprise, and the largest manufacturer of Chinese naval ships.
“CalPERS also owns shares in China Aerospace Times Electronic Co. and China Avionics System Co., both of which supply the Chinese military with aerospace electronic products,” Banks continued.
Under Mengs leadership, Banks said, CalPERS has invested heavily in a wide variety of Chinese firms, including those providing surveillance and other products used in Beijings extensive violations of human rights such as the regimes repression of Uyghur Muslims in Chinas Xinjiang Province.
“CalPERS is invested in Hikvision, a Chinese video surveillance manufacturer that supplies Xinjiangs security forces with surveillance tools used to mRead More – Source