EXCLUSIVE: Chinese Parent Behind Company Building Michigan Battery Plants Employs 923 CCP Members

[Photo from Hefei Gotion's website]

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Philip Lenczycki Investigative Reporter
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The Chinese parent company of Gotion Inc., which intends to build two electric battery plants in Michigan, employs 923 Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members, including its CEO, according to its 2022 ESG report.

The Fremont, California-based Gotion Inc. — which is “wholly owned and controlled” by Gotion High-Tech Power Energy Co., according to a Foreign Agents Registration Act filing — seeks to “invest $2.4 billion to construct two 550,000-square-foot production plants” for electric vehicle (EV) batteries in Big Rapids, Michigan, Fox News reported. (RELATED: Company Building EV Battery Factory Near US Military Installations Listed As Chinese Principal, Filings Show)

Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer supports Gotion’s plan, and the Biden administration approved the project in June. However, some Republicans have raised red flags over Gotion’s CCP ties through its parent company Gotion High-Tech.

While Gotion Inc.’s representatives deny CCP influence, Chinese-language documents show its Hefei-based parent company is led by a CCP member and employs hundreds more of them.

“Gotion High-Tech founded a CCP branch in 2010 that was upgraded to a CCP committee in 2014,” reads Gotion High-Tech’s 2022 ESG Report. “The CCP committee’s subunits are two CCP general branches and 11 party branches, currently with 923 CCP members, among which over 50% hold master’s degrees or higher.”

Gotion High-Tech’s CEO, Li Zhen, is also identified as the party secretary for the firm’s CCP committee within a section of the 2022 ESG report highlighting the company’s 2022 “party building work situation.”

“The company’s party secretary for its CCP committee, chairman of the board of directors, Li Zhen, led a portion of CCP member representatives, company leader groups and every level of core personnel on a road trip to Anhui province’s Jinzhai Revolutionary Martyr’s Memorial Tower, to tour the Red Army Memorial Hall and Jinzhai Revolutionary Museum,” the firm’s ESG report states.



Questions about Gotion’s CCP-ties arose after The Midwesterner reported that Gotion High-Tech’s “Articles of Association” state that: “The Company shall set up a Party organization and carry out Party activities in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China. The Company shall ensure necessary conditions for carrying out Party activities. The secretary of the Party committee shall be the chairman.”

In August 2023, Politico reported that Gotion’s North American manufacturing vice president Chuck Thelen criticized those who cited this language in the China-based parent company’s Articles of Association.

Thelen, Politico reported, has insisted that there is no such language in the U.S.-based company’s articles of incorporation. Thelen said the Chinese Communist Party has no presence in the North American company.

“‘The rumors that you’ve heard about us bringing communism to North America are just flat-out fear-mongering and really have nothing based in reality,’” Politico quoted Thelen as saying.

Likewise, an unnamed spokesperson for Gotion told Fox News: “Gotion Inc. makes it very clear in the [Foreign Agents Registration Act] filing that it is not supervised, directed, controlled or financed by any foreign government or foreign political party. … It’s unequivocally spelled out in the FARA document.”

However, lawmakers remain concerned, given that Gotion’s proposed Michigan battery plant will “be located within 60 miles of military armories and 100 miles from Camp Grayling, the country’s largest U.S. National Guard training facility,” Fox News reported.

Camp Grayling occupies 148,000 acres and hosts live-fire combat training exercises, according to its website.

Gotion did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Li Zhen could not be reached for comment.

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Philip Lenczycki

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