The founder of numerous massage parlors in Florida who came to national attention for a selfie she took with President Donald Trump on Super Bowl Sunday this year was found to have used her political connections to peddle access to the president, his family, and other prominent Republicans.
Now, the Miami Herald reports that one individual Li “Cindy” Yang introduced to Trump’s inner circle is Xianqin Qu, a leader from the foreign arm of the Communist Party of China.
Qu is president of the Florida Chapter of the Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Unification, which the Herald said is “a group ‘directly subordinate’ to the Communist Party of China, according to a 2018 U.S. government report.”
A 2018 staff research report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said such organizations “actively cultivate ties to campaign donors and politicians in the United States in order to lobby for Beijing’s policy priorities, encourage overseas Chinese to get involved in politics to advocate for Beijing’s interests.”
The Herald noted that meetings with foreign government lobbyists are not outside the norm, but Qu was connected with Trump’s inner circle not through official channels but rather social and political events.
Yang arranged for Qu to attend at least two high-profile events where Trump aides and family members would be present.
At a breakfast meet-and-greet in New York on Dec. 2, 2017, Qu was photographed with White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and several prominent Republican donors.
Qu was described as a guest of the Asian GOP in social media posts about the event.
Qu also attended Safari Night at the president’s Mar-a-Lago club in January 2018, which was a charity event sponsored by the Asian GOP and counted Trump’s sister, Elizabeth Trump-Grau, as a guest.
According to Yang, “[Qu] is not involved much with the Asian GOP,” Li said. “She’s not politically active in the domestic [issues],” but the Herald noted that “Qu’s unification organization has a known foreign political purpose, Li and others say.”