Pentagon Reveals Chinese Firms Spent $24M Lobbying the US Govt.

It has been revealed that Chinese military businesses like Huawei, Megvii, and BGI Shenzhen have spent more than $24 million in lobbying efforts against the US government since  2020. 

These companies often influence members of Congress, the president’s office, and the executive branch about issues related to human rights violations and Chinese military development. 

The list of Chinese military corporations maintained by the Department of Defense includes all Chinese military-owned or affiliated businesses and organizations that have been recognized as contributing to China’s defense industrial base via military-civil fusion. 

Out of all the entities recognized by the DOD, Huawei spent the most, almost $10.8 million, lobbying since 2020. Many of Huawei’s lobbying efforts in the US were on measures that would have limited the company’s activities here. The business enlisted American lobbying companies’ help to influence trade and telecommunications policy with the federal government. In 2023, Huawei’s subsidiary Futurewei spent more than $2 million on lobbying efforts; nevertheless, the Department of Defense omits Futurewei among its Chinese military contractors. 

The DENIAL Act, which sought to require the rejection of technology licenses to corporations in Russia or China, never passed the committee, and Futurewei failed to separate itself from Huawei.

Some Chinese military enterprises lobby (bribe) the US government to influence legislation. One of these companies is BGI, the world’s biggest genomics company. BGI has collaborated with the Chinese military on research from neurological disorders to respiratory illnesses. In January, bills sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans sought to outlaw BGI’s operations in the United States because the company may be involved in China’s bioweapon research. Among other things, BGI spent $100,000 to Steptoe LLP lobbyists to advocate its interests in connection with the Senate version of the bill. 

Other Chinese military firms lobby the US government and have a history of human rights violations. Drone maker DJI ranked second among Chinese military corporations listed by the Department of Defense for lobbying expenditures since 2020. The US Treasury Department discovered in 2021 that DJI’s drones had been used by the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, a branch of the Chinese government, to monitor Uyghurs in the area. 

The Washington Post revealed a year later that, despite DJI’s denials, the Chinese government had invested in the company. The most recent significant activity with the Countering CCP Drones Act occurred on March 20, and the measure is now making its way through the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.