Company Building EV Battery Factory Near US Military Installations Listed As Chinese Principal, Filings Show


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Philip Lenczycki Investigative Reporter
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The California energy company slated to build a battery factory near a Michigan military installation is registered as a Chinese foreign principal, according to Department of Justice records.

Foreign Agents Registration Act filings show that Gotion Inc., of Fremont, California, is listed as “owned and controlled” by Hefei Gotion High-Tech Power Energy Co., Ltd, a China-based battery manufacturer whose website notes the existence of a “research and development center” in Silicon Valley. Republican politicians, such as former ambassadors Peter Hoekstra and Josepha Cella, have called for investigations into Gotion’s potential ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after the energy firm proposed to build a factory in Big Rapids, Michigan, near the Michigan U.S. National Guard facility of Camp Grayling in October 2022, Fox News reported. (RELATED: China Makes Latest Expansion Into Heavily-Disputed Area Of South China Sea)

Gotion’s North American manufacturing vice president, Chuck Thelen, characterized mounting concerns regarding Gotion’s China-ties as “flat-out fear-mongering,” according to Politico.

However, Gotion’s ties to China and the Chinese government apparently extend beyond the firm’s relationship with Hefei Gotion High-Tech Power Energy Co., Ltd.

Gotion’s CEO, Li Chen, is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Hefei, China, according to his World Economic Forum profile. The CPPCC is considered a central organ in the CCP’s overseas influence campaigns, according to the U.S.-China Economic Security and Review Commission.

At the same time, Gotion’s corporate bylaws state that the firm is obligated to form a “Party Committee” and “carry out Party activities in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China.” Moreover, Gotion’s bylaws also state that the chairman of the company must serve as the “secretary of the Party committee.”

Despite this, Li Chen did not respond to requests for comment from The Midwesterner, the outlet reported in March 2023.

Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has touted the merits of Gotion’s $2.4 billion construction project, claiming that the 550,000-square-foot plant would ultimately promote Michigan as the “global hub of mobility and electrification,” Fox News reported. In April, the Michigan state Senate Appropriations Committee granted Gotion $175 million in taxpayer funding for the facility, according to Fox News.



Ownership of U.S. farmland by Chinese nationals has received increased scrutiny in recent years following warnings from U.S. government officials, such as South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, claiming that the Chinese government may seek to use American land for military and espionage purposes.

For example, in February 2023, Grand Forks, North Dakota, voted to prohibit the China-based Fufeng Group from building a corn mill on the 300-acre plot of land it had purchased the year prior near Grand Forks Air Force base.

Gotion’s proposed Michigan factory is located approximately 90 miles from Camp Grayling, the largest U.S. National Guard training facility, Fox reported. Camp Grayling occupies 148,000 acres and hosts live-fire combat training exercises, according to its website.

Gotion did not respond immediately to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment, and Li Chen could not be reached for comment.

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Tags : ccp china michigan
Philip Lenczycki

Daily Caller News Foundation investigative reporter, political journalist, and China watcher. Twitter: @LenczyckiPhilip