CV NEWS FEED // The Democratic governors of Illinois and Michigan allowed a company with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to open factories producing batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) in their states.
FOX News reported that Gotion Inc. “received commitments from Michigan to develop a battery component facility and Illinois for a battery cell factory.”
“After Gotion’s nationwide search for a location to build its EV battery factory, in October 2022, the company announced its $2.4 billion investment to build the component factory in Big Rapids Michigan,” FOX continued. “Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer applauded the announcement and said it would “shore up our status as the global hub of mobility and electrification.”
Almost a year later, the company expanded its operations to another midwestern state announcing plans for a $2 billion factory in September.
Per FOX, the administration of Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois “is providing $536 million in taxpayer-funded incentives for the project.”
While the EV parts manufacturer’s office is located in California, its parent company is based in mainland China. Li Zhen, who is the parent company’s chairman and president, personally thanked Pritzker for his “supportive state government.”
Former U.S. Ambassador and CatholicVote co-founder Joseph Cella challenged the move in an interview with FOX. “Unlike other states, why do the governors of Michigan and Illinois spend their taxpayers’ money bringing in companies deeply tied to the Chinese Communist Party into their states?” Cella asked. “Don’t they understand the clear and present danger this totalitarian regime presents? It’s a bipartisan issue.”
Cella is leading the opposition to Gotion’s presence in his home state of Michigan. According to FOX, he has “repeatedly warned the project has moved too quickly and with too much secrecy.”
Cella served as the U.S. Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu during the Trump administration and is also the co-founder of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.
Unlike the pair of Democratic-controlled states to its north, Alabama officials soundly rejected Gotion’s offer to build a factory there.
“The [CCP] is our country’s greatest national security and geopolitical threat, and we must remember everything they do is as our adversary,” said Sen. Katie Britt, R-AL, of her states’ rebuke of the foreign company:
There is no doubt that the CCP wants to plant their flag in the American heartland, including right here in Alabama. As Communist China continues to attempt to buy up critical industries, supply chains, and land across the United States, it’s imperative that we remain vigilant and exercise all due caution to protect our interests and safeguard America’s future.
In recent months, critics have raised a host of ethical concerns surrounding the production of “green” technologies.
Earlier this year, reports surfaced linking the manufacturing of EV batteries to the exploitation of children in Africa.
“The dark underbelly of the EV industry” is “a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions in the Congo basin,” CatholicVote’s Erika Ahern wrote in April.
“Tens of thousands of children, along with hundreds of thousands of ‘artisanal workers’ – who are not officially employed by a company – work for a pittance in dangerous, inhumane conditions, mining the minerals and metals required for EV production,” Ahern wrote.
EVs are not the only purportedly “environmentally friendly” machinery produced by companies with deep ties to the CCP.
A bipartisan group of ten House lawmakers recently penned a letter to the Biden administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) urging them to follow a law preventing the importation of Chinese-made solar panels produced via forced labor.
The congressmen cited the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which Biden signed into law after it unanimously passed Congress two years ago.
In August, prominent environmental journalist Michael Shellenberger sounded the alarm about the issue.
As CatholicVote then reported, “Shellenberger [referenced] a report by The New York Times that connected the production of solar panels in China to the ‘forced labor’ of minority groups in Chinese-occupied East Turkestan (what the [CCP] calls China’s Xinjiang province).”
“Notably, East Turkestan is also the location of the ongoing genocide of the Uyghurs and other Muslim Turkic minorities by the [CCP],” CatholicVote added.
“Not only have the buyers of solar panels been indirectly funding companies that use slave labor, but American taxpayers also have subsidized almost $37 billion in purchases between 2016 and 2022,” wrote Miles Pollard, an economic and energy policy analyst for The Heritage Foundation:
Globally, even international organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union have begun to voice concerns about forced labor being used in China.
The U.S. Department of Labor has created a 116-page report on goods that have been tainted with forced labor, and the State Department has created reports specifically about the use of forced labor in renewable energy supply chains.