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Biden EPA Appointee Allowed to Retain Ties with University Controlled By Chinese Government

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A high-ranking Environmental Protection Agency political appointee received approval to maintain his professional relationship with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology while serving in the Biden administration, according to documents obtained by a watchdog group.

Dr. Christopher Frey, the EPA’s deputy assistant administrator for science policy, disclosed in a May ethics recusal statement that he had taken a two-year unpaid leave of absence from the university, records obtained by the watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust show.

The ex officio chancellor of the university, Carrie Lam, is also Beijing’s handpicked chief executive of Hong Kong.

“It is difficult to argue that Dr. Frey’s employer is anything short of an arm of the Chinese government,” PPT said in a Tuesday news release.

“One can presume from the leave that he plans to return to his employment with the Chinese government upon completing his tenure at EPA.”

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Frey’s association with Hong Kong University was not disclosed when President Joe Biden appointed him to his EPA post in early February, nor is it included in his biography on the agency’s website.

Frey does disclose his work with Hong Kong University as a visiting professor in his LinkedIn profile.

His profile states his employment at the university ended in January.

PPT noted that any meaningful distinction between mainland China and Hong Kong has all but evaporated since the passage of a national security law in 2020 that criminalizes dissent against the Chinese government in the city.

Are Frey's ties to China a conflict of interest?

“The American public needs answers to a number of legal, Constitutional and national security questions regarding the decision of EPA to allow Dr. Frey to continue a relationship with an arm of the Chinese government,” PPT director Michael Chamberlain said.

“It’s generally expected that political appointees completely break ties with private entities and foreign governments in order to serve the American public.

“The documents provided shed little light on who, how and why Dr. Frey was allowed to continue this foreign association,” he added.

“The lack of transparency is flabbergasting, especially in light of the Biden Administration’s claims to be the most ethical administration in history.

“PPT will continue to investigate until we get some answers,” Chamberlain said.

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Chamberlain said it was not uncommon for professors to take leaves of absence from domestic universities to work in government, but not foreign universities.

“Examples of a professor taking a leave from an adjunct post in a hostile nation are a lot harder to find,” Chamberlain told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Most political appointments require American citizenship. Plus, it’s customary for those entering government service to be required to divest, resign or otherwise sever ties with all private and/or foreign entities.”

The EPA did not return a request for comment.

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A version of this article appeared on the Daily Caller News Foundation website.

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