Sen. Josh Hawley told the Washington Free Beacon that former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's history of colluding with China should disqualify him from the Japanese Ambassadorship he is currently nominated for. Emanuel courted Chinese businesses as Chicago mayor, including trips to China. Emanuel then worked for a Wall Street firm that pushed "China-focused entertainment" in collaboration with American companies.
"Rahm Emanuel clearly does not understand the China threat and can’t be trusted to serve as ambassador to Japan," Hawley said. "That Joe Biden would attempt to put someone so reckless in charge of relations with one of our most important allies is very concerning." Emanuel as ambassador would be responsible for helping to craft Japan's strategy against Chinese aggression, especially when it comes to naval incursions into sovereign waters of South-East Pacific neighbours.
In 2016 as mayor, Emanuel put state-owned Chinese transportation giant CRRC to upgrade the Chicago transit authority’s railway cars despite it not scoring as high as competing bids. CRRC has collaborated with Huawei, a Chinese technology company responsible for much of China's spyware and data collection capabilities.
"Putting a CCP-owned, Huawei-affiliated data harvesting company in charge of building a major American city’s critical infrastructure isn’t just dangerously naïve, for an ambassador to Japan, it’s disqualifying," Hawley said.
"Giving American taxpayer money to companies owned and operated by the Chinese Communist Party, a militant and genocidal regime, is a dereliction of duty," Ian Easton, a senior director at the Project 2049 Institute, said. "It's beyond naïve to think Chicago's CCP-made trains won't come with hidden backdoors that collect private data from American riders in peacetime and allow the Chinese military to weaponize the trains against us in a future crisis."
Emanuel visited Tsinghua University in 2013 to give a speech. Tsinghua University is a significant partner in Chinese military research. Emanuel has also welcome Chinese Communist Party officials and businessmen to Chicago to "[pitch] Chicago to China." Emanuel enlisted the help of Obama-era officials, including fellow former Obama chief of staff Bill Daley and financier Michael Sacks.
A Senate aide also spoke to the Washington Free Beacon, "If he expects to be taken seriously, Rahm Emanuel needs to explain the exact nature and full extent of his interactions with Chinese businesses and any personal profits he may have earned," the aide said. "His record as mayor of proudly and aggressively courting CCP-linked firms to invest billions of dollars in critical Chicago infrastructure shows a stunning lack of judgment."
After his term ended as mayor, Emanuel moved to New York to work for Centerview Partners. Centerview led talks between the Hollywood studio DreamWorks and multiple Chinese firms, including state-owned media companies to initiate a "China-focused entertainment company." Centerview was also involved with U.S. manufacturer Honeywell which was fined $13 million for sharing secret military blueprints with China.