China Appears to Be Quietly Influencing Legislation in Utah

China Appears to Be Quietly Influencing Legislation in Utah

( – It’s no secret China tries to gain influence in governments all across the world. While much of this does take place on a national level, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is actually quietly also working on local and state levels. A new report from the Associated Press (AP) revealed the years-long scheme by the CCP to root itself in Utah.

On Monday, March 27, AP writers Alan Suderman and Sam Metz published the findings of an investigation into the CCP’s influence in Utah. They revealed how Chinese advocates infiltrated the state’s political scene and the dominant religion of Mormonism. Through these relationships, the communist nation was able to push back a ban on Confucius Institutes, Chinese-funded culture and language programs that experts believe spouted propaganda, in Utah for a year.

On a similar note, Chinese President Xi Jinping received a lot of praise from Utah lawmakers after he sent fourth graders in their state a thank you card for a letter they sent him celebrating the Chinese New Year.

The AP journalists also identified two Utah residents whose work has been immensely influential in tying China to the notoriously conservative state. Taowen Le, a Chinese citizen working as a professor at Weber State University, converted to the Church of Latter-Day Saints in 1990. For decades, he has helped Chinese officials meet with US lawmakers, even going so far as to send a letter asking Utah Governor Spencer Cox to take a meeting.

The second resident pushing for close ties between Utah lawmakers and the CCP is Dan Stephenson, the child of a previous state senator. He now works for a consulting firm based in China. He has accompanied state senators to China, scheduled meetings with officials overseas, and helped them draft legislation that showed support for China in 2020. These are just a few of the ways China has been seeking to bolster its relationship with Utah in recent years.

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