Chinese Group Takes Credit for Newsom’s Visit

California Governor Gavin Newsom in Sacramento, California Jan. 19, 2021

( – A Chinese intelligence service-linked organization, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), has claimed that California Governor Gavin Newsom accepted their invitation to visit China. This claim arose from a social media post made by CPAFFC on October 26, which featured Governor Newsom meeting with the organization’s CCP party secretary and chairman, Yang Wanming, in Beijing.

CPAFFC presents itself as a people’s organization involved in diplomacy for the People’s Republic of China. Their goal is to foster cooperation between China and other countries and cultures.

In their social media post, CPAFFC mentioned the meeting between President Yang Wanming and Governor Newsom, stating that Newsom had accepted their invitation to visit China. Newsom expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome and shared his deep impression of China’s achievements through its Reform and “Opening Up” policy.

During his visit to China, Governor Newsom test-drove Chinese electric vehicles, experienced a toboggan ride down the Great Wall, and met with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping.

In a recent meeting between Newsom’s delegation and Beijing’s municipal committee party secretary, Yin Li, CPAFFC’s Yang Wanming was also present. They signed a “Memorandum” regarding climate cooperation and facets of mutual understanding between the Air Resources Board of California and the Municipal Ecology and Environment Bureau of Beijing.

CPAFFC’s Yang Wanming was pictured alongside Governor Newsom, emphasizing their interactions. During the Great Wall Climate Dialogue event in Beijing, Newsom underscored the importance of people-to-people exchanges.

“People-to-people diplomacy” began in 1949 as a means for the People’s Republic of China to strengthen ties with other countries. Supporters say it helps build mutual trust, especially in the face of diplomatic blockades imposed by the West, mostly because of China’s track record of human rights abuses and other controversies.

However, in July 2022, the Director of National Intelligence cautioned that PRC influence operations can be deceptive and coercive, with seemingly benign initiatives and the “people-to-people” exchanges sometimes masking political agendas.

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