Jeffrey Sachs, an economist who is being floated for a cabinet position in the Biden administration, has been a frequent guest on Chinese propaganda outlets, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Sachs’ relationship with the Chinese government and Chinese business elite goes back to at least the early 2000s, the Washington Free Beacon reported. The Columbia University economist’s work includes contributing to articles in the Chinese-controlled outlets the Global Times and China Daily as well as appearing on the China Global Television Network (CGTN), a state-controlled media outlet. (RELATED: Chinese Communist Party Propagandist Says He Can’t Wait For Biden To Be President)
Sachs criticized the Trump administration’s sanctions on Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications giant that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has labeled as a national security threat. When President Donald Trump implemented sanctions after Beijing cracked down on Hong Kong, Sachs wrote in the Global Times in May that “Trump is trying to incite a new cold war against China” and called the president’s ideas “very crude and dangerous.” The economist has also said that tariffs against China were politically motivated and undermined free trade, the Free Beacon reported.
Progressive groups such as Sunrise Movement and the Progressive Cabinet Project have floated Sachs as a possible choice for Treasury Secretary in the Biden administration. He has made frequent appearances on CNN and MSNBC, according to the report.
Although some progressive groups have floated his name, there is no indication that Sachs is a major contender for the position in the Biden administration.
James Carafano, a foreign policy expert at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, told the Free Beacon that Sachs’ views on China are “really out of mainstream for both Democrats and Republicans.”
“I think both Republicans and Democrats see China’s malicious activity as a threat,” Carafano said. “So, I think a lot of those comments are really out of mainstream for both Democrats and Republicans, and have nothing to do with whether you liked this administration’s policies on China or not.”
Between 2001 and 2002, Sachs consulted with the Chinese government on their “Western Development Policy,” according to the Free Beacon’s report. His biography lists him as an advisory board member for the International Poverty Reduction Center in China.
Sachs previously served on the advisory board for a Chinese energy company’s nonprofit arm that was indicted for using their nonprofit to send bribes to African leaders, United Nations documents from 2016 show, according to the Beacon. In 2018, Sachs denied serving on the company’s advisory board.
The professor has failed to condemn the forced labor camps in Xinjiang, where over a million Uighur Muslims are reportedly imprisoned. When asked to publicly condemn the human rights abuses against the Uighurs, Sachs tweeted that he was “trying to understand [the] situation.”
“Trying to understand situation,” Sachs said in 2018. “Happy to read suggested books & articles. I’ve not had occasion to visit Xinjiang in 15 yrs. WIth so much glib [United States Government] propaganda & denial of US wars and misdeeds I strive for cooperation. Hardliners beget hardliners, with grave dangers. Pls email.”
Trying to understand situation. Happy to read suggested books & articles. I’ve not had occasion to visit Xinjiang in 15 yrs. WIth so much glib USG propaganda & denial of US wars and misdeeds I strive for cooperation. Hardliners beget hardliners, with grave dangers. Pls email.
— Jeffrey D. Sachs (@JeffDSachs) December 13, 2018
Chinese propaganda outlets have published articles written by Sachs or extensively quoted him at least 5 times, and Sachs has appeared on the state-owned network CGTN 8 times, according to the Free Beacon.
Carafano told the Free Beacon that if nominated for the position of Treasury Secretary, Sachs’ views “are going to raise the eyebrows of senators.” If Republicans win the closely-fought Senate race in Georgia and maintain control of the Senate, it’s unlikely that Sachs would make it through a confirmation hearing.