Joe Biden should probably consider himself a very lucky man that Hunter Biden’s various, um, associations haven’t been a major campaign issue since he became the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee.
To be fair, we’ve had other concerns since then. However, the former vice president’s wayward son is still there and still has a wayward past — including some troubling business deals.
Now, a documentary narrated by the author of the 2015 bestseller “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” aims to shed light on several of those deals over in China.
According to the New York Post, which previewed “Riding the Dragon: The Bidens’ Chinese Secrets,” the 41-minute film argues that the firm Hunter Biden sat on the board of served the “strategic interests” of the Chinese Communist Party.
The film is now being streamed in several parts by the BlazeTV network on YouTube.
BHR Partners is probably the less well-known of the problematic foreign firms the vice-presidential progeny found himself on the board of — but it could be more important, “Clinton Cash” author Peter Schweizer said.
Schweizer said in the film that that beginning in 2013, when it was founded, “Hunter’s new firm … began making investment deals around the world that would serve the strategic interests of the Chinese government.”
“This new firm started making investment deals that would serve the strategic interests of the Chinese military,” he added, saying that he would only get meetings with Chinese officials because Joe Biden was the vice president of the United States and then-President Barack Obama’s “point person on U.S. policy towards China.”
Hunter Biden’s spokesman claimed he was never remunerated for his position on BHR Partners’ board and hadn’t recouped his original investment as of October of 2019, according to the Wall Street Journal.
That investment was made in 2017 and estimated at $420,000, after his father was no longer vice president. Less than 10 days after that piece was published, he resigned from the firm.
The company, the Journal noted, “is controlled and funded primarily by large Chinese government-owned shareholders.”
“Over the past roughly six years, it has channeled $2.5 billion or more on behalf of its financial backers into automotive, energy, mining and technology deals, according to interviews with people familiar with the private-equity firm and a review by The Wall Street Journal of financial filings and other official business records,” the Journal reported.
One of the products that Hunter Biden’s firm invested in, Face++, is discussed in the film — specifically having to do with the alleged use of their software in a Chinese government app deployed in Xinjiang province and used to surveil Muslims. According to The Intercept, Human Rights Watch quickly walked back its 2019 report on the app.
“The app provides law enforcement with easy, daily access to data detailing the religious activity, blood type, and even the amount of electricity used by ethnic minority Muslims living in the western province of Xinjiang,” The Intercept reported.
“The app relies heavily on facial recognition software supplied by Face++, a division of the Chinese startup Megvii, a relationship that sparked questions in the press for Megvii investors. One of the most prominent of these investors is Alibaba Group Holding, which was co-founded by Jack Ma, the wealthiest Chinese billionaire and an icon for the country’s image of entrepreneurship.
“The flurry of media reports this week about Face++, Ma, and the role of the private sector in building China’s increasingly sprawling surveillance state, however, left out another prominent investor in the company: Hunter Biden.”
Schweizer argued that “these deals didn’t just make the Bidens money — they had potentially dangerous consequences for our national security.”
He also said that Hunter Biden’s 10 percent stake in BHR was “worth millions of dollars and stands to be worth even more as its China partnership prospers,” something that belies Biden’s statement that he didn’t recoup his initial investment.
Another troubling BHR investment, meanwhile, was made in state-owned company China General Nuclear Power Corp.
Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho, a China General nuclear engineer, was arrested in 2016 and sentenced to 24 months behind bars in 2017 after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally obtain nuclear technology for his firm from the U.S.
“Today, Allen Ho is being held accountable for enlisting U.S.-based nuclear experts to provide assistance in developing and producing special nuclear material in China for a Chinese state-owned nuclear power company. He did so without the required authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Boente at the time, according to a Department of Justice news release.
“Prosecuting those who unlawfully facilitate the acquisition of sensitive nuclear technology by foreign nations continues to be a top priority of the National Security Division.”
Then there was the case of CEFC China Energy Co. executive Chi Ping Patrick Ho, arrested by the FBI for bribing African officials. After he was taken into custody, Schweizer said, “one of his first calls” was to Joe Biden’s brother James. James, in turn, said he thought Ho was trying to reach Hunter Biden instead.
“Why exactly was he calling Hunter Biden? What sort of help was he expecting?” Schweizer said in the film.
It’s worth noting that some of the allegations made in the film have been disputed by the Biden camp. For instance, take the film’s assertion that a $1 billion funding deal was secured shortly after Hunter Biden returned from a trip to China aboard Air Force Two with his father in 2013.
BHR has said that deal was reached before Hunter Biden even boarded the plane to China and that the initial capitalization was only $4.2 million. Schweizer has previously noted, however, that BHR Holdings’ launch seemed to happen felicitously with Joe Biden’s negotiations with China.
That’s not entirely the point, though. BHR Partners isn’t even the first company you could mention where Hunter Biden has sat on the board. The other, of course, is Ukrainian state energy giant Burisma.
Did Hunter Biden have any special expertise in either of these economies or sectors? Not really. What he did have was the last name Biden and the presumed access that came with that.
It’d be difficult to put together a forensic report on how this influenced Joe Biden or even whether it did, but the fact of the matter is that Hunter’s position on the board of Burisma was a clear conflict of interest, particularly when you consider that Joe Biden joked about having muscled a prosecutor investigating Burisma out and congratulated Ukraine’s president for firing the prosecutor.
This didn’t get mentioned during the Democratic nominating process, if just because the first rule of Joe Biden is that you don’t talk about Hunter Biden. It didn’t really get talked about during the presidential race, either, if just because events overtook Hunter Biden’s overseas dalliances so quickly.
Last year, when asked if there was a “certain irony” that President Trump’s impeachment had brought up the issue of Hunter Biden’s involvement with Burisma, Joe Biden admitted that it “sets a bad image.”
The problem is that Ukraine is nothing compared to China, particularly when it comes to the image a president has to project.
If he thinks Burisma was “a bad image,” he has no idea what this is going to look like to American voters if the message gets out there.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.