Chinese Association Registered as Foreign Agent Says They’ve Ceased Functioning

A Chinese organization registered as a foreign agent has reported to the Department of Justice that their chairman will not return to the United States and that the organization no longer exists. However, Chinese media reports indicate the organization’s chairman is still active, and there are other similar organizations in the U.S.

On April 1, The United Chinese Associations of the Eastern United States Inc. (UCAEUS) reiterated its inactive status whilesubmitting an updatereport to the DOJ.

“Mr. Liang is an elderly man, who has fallen ill several times, and does not plan to return to the United States in the near future,” the statement said. “As a result, UCAEUS ceased functioning on November 18, 2021, and is no longer in existence. Because UCAEUS is no longer in existence, it will not renew the existing, long-term lease of the conference room rented at 9 Mott Street, Suite 401, New York, NY 10013. The existing lease will expire on or around November 30, 2024.”

UCAEUS, as documented on the official website of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), submitted its registration on Sept. 19 last year. The filing indicates that the group is “owned and controlled” by the Chinese Overseas Friendship Association, a “Foreign Principal,” under agreements dating back to Nov. 25, 2003. The form was signed by the chairman, Guanjun Liang.

The Chinese Overseas Friendship Association was established in May 1997 in Beijing. Mr. Shi Tai Feng, Minister of the United Front Work Department, is the current president, and Mr. Liang Guanjun is the Vice President.

The association is directly under the United Front of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with the stated goals of promoting friendship with foreign countries and fighting back against so-called anti-China forces, according to a 2020 report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act, enacted in 1938 to expose clandestine Nazi operations in the United States, mandates that foreign entities engaged in political activities within the United States must register with the DOJ. These entities are required to disclose their relationships with foreign principals and the support they receive and to biannually report their activities and financial information.

The registration filing also claimed that “as a consequence of the pandemic, UCAEUS has been non-operational since mid-2020 (with limited exceptions, such as COVID-related charitable endeavors). UCAEUS is defunct and is no longer providing services on behalf of The Chinese Overseas Friendship Association.”

However, in a March 8 article in the overseas edition of People’s Daily, titled “Overseas Chinese discuss the 2024 Two Sessions,” Mr. Liang was still interviewed in his capacity as vice president of the China Overseas Friendship Association and chairman of the UCAEUS, claiming that “China’s economy has shown strong resilience,” and that “the confidence of overseas Chinese to invest in their homeland and start a business has been strengthened.”

Serving the CCP

Founded in 1990, the UCAEUS consisted of 18 overseas Chinese organizations, including the New York Garment Association and the Fujian Fellow Countrymen Association. It has since expanded to include 221 “member units,” mostly called Fellow Countrymen Associations and Chambers of Commerce.

These organizations often speak as if they represent all overseas Chinese. They defend the policies and positions of the CCP or represent the voice of various sectors in New York as needed by the CCP.

According to Nanfang Daily, an official CCP newspaper, as a foreign agent of the CCP, these organizations provided services to the CCP on U.S. soil. Mr. Liang has been summoned by the CCP Party chief on many occasions, and the organization has been responsible for hosting CCP dignitaries visiting the United States.

They cooperate with the CCP to expand its repressive policies against Hong Kong, Taiwanese, Tibetan, and Falun Gong groups in the United States and attempt to manipulate public opinion in the Chinese community and suppress Chinese dissidents.

For example, Mr. Liang claimed in a CCTV interview on June 22, 2001, that “we were the first overseas association to speak out against Falun Gong.”

In July 2019, during Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s stopover in New York, the association published a full-page advertisement in the Overseas Chinese Newspaper to “protest.” Some of its members waved the CCP’s red flags and attacked pro-democracy activists outside the hotel where Ms. Tsai was staying, resulting in one arrest by the police.

During Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States from Sept. 22 to 25, 2015, nearly 100 pro-CCP Chinese community leaders in New York took a group photo with him. In this photo, UCAEUS co-chairs Mr. Liang and Chen Qingquan stood behind Xi while other pro-CCP community leaders gathered around and behind Mr. Liang. Apparently, the UCAEUS is considered the leading organization of overseas Chinese associations.

Other Community Leaders

Mr. Liang has not been in the United States for many years and has reported to the Department of Justice that the UCAEUS no longer exists.

Another well-known pro-CCP community leader, Chen Shanzhuang, also known as John Chan, was the head of American Chinese communities during Mr. Liang’s absence.

In November 2023, during Xi’s visit to the United States, Mr. Chen, as chairman of the United Asian Associations of the United States and the American Chinese Commerce Association (Hong Kong), traveled to San Francisco to celebrate the Chinese leader’s trip. Mr. Chen expressed his support in an article in the Sing Tao Daily, describing the “enthusiastic reception” of Xi by over a thousand people from more than 50 organizations who chartered flights from New York to California.

In December 2023, the sudden visit of several New York State Republican legislators to China to meet with Chinese officials drew public attention. This trip was sponsored and organized by the American Chinese Commerce Association and the American Chinese Commerce Association (Hong Kong), led by Mr. Chen. According to MGM Media, a company founded by a former China Press reporter, the legislators met with officials from the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), an organization that then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in 2020 said “has sought to directly and malignly influence state and local leaders to promote the PRC’s global agenda.”


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