Voters Axe 5 Michigan Officials Who Backed Chinese-Linked EV Battery Plant

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
November 12, 2023US News
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Voters Axe 5 Michigan Officials Who Backed Chinese-Linked EV Battery Plant
An electric vehicle (EV) charges at a charge station in Lane Cove in Sydney, Australia, on Jan. 19, 2021. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Voters in rural Michigan who opposed the construction of a big Chinese-owned electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in their township have ousted from office five members of the Green Charter Township’s governing board who backed the multi-billion dollar factory despite objections on the grounds of national security.

In a special election held on Nov. 7, voters removed from office five Republican members of the Green Charter Township’s governing board in a recall after the board’s earlier approval of the $2.36 billion  EV battery factory planned by Gotion Inc., which is owned by Chinese company Gotion High-tech Co.

The Green Township supervisor, clerk, treasurer and two trustees were defeated in the vote by challengers who listed no party affiliation. Two other members resigned. The five recalled officials were part of a 7–0 vote last December that backed the Chinese-linked battery plant.

“This recall shows how the community did not want this,” recall advocate Lori Brock told The Detroit News, referring to the factory. “This just means we have a voice again.”

The project, which was backed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, was said to bring thousands of jobs.

However, critics raised objections on the grounds of possible environmental impacts and national security concerns.

“The biggest concern for me was the national security issue,” newly elected Green Charter Township trustee Kelly Cushway told Fox News after the successful recall vote.

National Security Concerns

Mr. Cushway cited provocative actions by the Chinese military against U.S. ships and planes, as well as the Chinese spy balloon that crossed much of the country earlier this year.

He also cited reports indicating that Gotion High-tech Co. management had sworn allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and expressed concern that Gotion, the Chinese firm’s U.S. affiliate that planned to build the plant, would collect potentially sensitive information that would then fall into the hands of the CCP in China.

All companies in China, including foreign companies, are required by law to have within their structure a CCP office that supervises the company’s operations.

Gotion’s North American manufacturing vice president, Chuck Thelen, has in the past dismissed concerns about its parent company’s links to the CCP, saying that Gotion Inc. is “not Chinese-owned.”

“The rumors that you’ve heard about us bringing communism to North America are just flat-out fear-mongering and really have nothing based in reality,” he said in August, according to Politico.

Gotion High-Tech Staff Push Communist Propaganda

Gotion Inc. was recently registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, according to the registration document it submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The document states that Gotion Inc., which is based in Fremont, California, is “wholly owned and controlled” by Gotion High-Tech Co. Ltd., which is based near Hefei, a city in eastern China.

The document also states that Gotion Inc. is not “supervised,” “directed,” or “financed” by “a foreign government, foreign political party, or other foreign principal.”

Gotion Inc. is, however, “completely controlled” by China-based Gotion High-Tech, per the document.

The document also asks whether the “foreign principal,” meaning Gotion Inc., will engage in “political activities.” Gotion answered “Yes.”

Recently, Gotion High-Tech published reports and video footage showing its staffers taking part in pro-communist activities at a work retreat.

A Gotion representative said that employees paid for the retreat with their own money.

Meanwhile, Jason Kruse, Green Charter Township’s newly elected supervisor, said that residents raised national security concerns with the ousted board, “but it was a moot point with them.”

Mr. Kruse was a key figure in the campaign to recall the seven-person board.

“Everybody out there across America needs to step back and understand that you have the power. It’s still there,” Mr. Kruse told Fox News.

“We really need to be reminded about that every so often, that public officials work for the public,” he added. “It’s very nice to see that we can add to that understanding.”

From The Epoch Times

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