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The Counter-Lobby Confidential

How Beltway Insiders Do the Hong Kong Government's Bidding

Executive Summary

This report seeks to document the extent of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government’s political activities in the United States. As attention to foreign influence in the U.S. generally and China-related foreign influence operations specifically become an increasing focus of American policymaking, HKDC intends to draw attention to the Hong Kong aspect of this issue, collecting data on the extent of SAR government-led efforts to influence American legislation and highlighting collaborations between SAR government actors and American social as well as cultural institutions. It finds that heavyweights and the well-connected in Washington, including two former committee chairs in the House of Representatives, play an active role in advancing Beijing’s interests on American soil.

This report is written concurrently with the reintroduction in the 118th Congress of the bipartisan Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) Certification Act, which calls on President Joe Biden to re-evaluate and potentially revoke the diplomatic privileges granted to the SAR government’s representative offices in the United States. HKDC supports the bill’s passage and provides important details on the shape and form of HKETO-led efforts to influence American lawmakers on key foreign-policy issues, including, but not limited to, trade, human rights, and U.S.-China strategic competition. In particular, this report marks the launch of the SAR Government Lobbying Influence Database, which, at the time of this report’s publication, lists over 1,000 interactions between U.S. government officials and SAR government-funded lobbyists.

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Between 2016 and 2022.
China spent more than
$292 million to influence
U.S. policy and opinion,
more than any other country.

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