Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom took a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) manufactured by a company that he once awarded a huge no-bid contract for a test drive on Tuesday.
Newsom took the $160,000 HEV for a spin while on a tour of a bus depot facility in Shenzhen, China, while visiting the country to discuss climate change policy with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) bureaucrats and local government officials. [emphasis, links added]
In 2020, Newsom awarded the company, which is involved in China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), a $990 million no-bid contract to provide California with masks as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, according to the Los Angeles Times.
BYD had no history of manufacturing personal protective equipment like masks, but days after its products received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, it scored the contract at Newsom’s behest to supply the masks, according to Vice.
“The governor toured an electric bus charging depot in Shenzhen to see the city’s success in transitioning their bus and taxi fleet to 100% zero-emissions — the first city in the world to do so,” a Newsom spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Multiple other manufacturers of different EV technologies, including Autel, Capchem, and NIO were invited to the event, the spokesperson added.
BYD is China’s largest EV manufacturer, according to The Japan Times. The company is involved in the CCP’s BRI, which is “a massive China-led infrastructure project that aims to stretch around the globe” and bolster China’s prestige, influence, and power, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
Marketed as an altruistic effort to help the developing world build out needed infrastructure, the BRI appears to be a long-term scheme to snare developing countries in debt traps designed to advance China’s geopolitical and economic leverage on the world stage, according to Foreign Policy.
It’s a hybrid, that drives itself and can also float on water.
— Elex Michaelson (@Elex_Michaelson) October 24, 2023
Additionally, Ke Li, who serves as the president of BYD in the company’s North American office, donated $50,000 in total to Newsom’s 2018 and 2022 gubernatorial campaigns, according to state campaign contribution records maintained by California’s secretary of State.
In addition to the visit to the bus depot and meetings with lower-level CCP officials to discuss climate change, Newsom also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday in a previously unscheduled meeting.
Speculation that Newsom may be gearing up for a run for president continues to mount, though his office has routinely denied any suggestion that he could join the 2024 [election].
“We assume this trip is so Xi can meet his top salesman of communist manufactured solar panels and EV parts,” Daniel Turner, the founder and executive director of Power The Future, said of Newsom’s China trip.
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