Florida massage parlor founder Li Yang began making headlines last week for her proximity to the prostitution scandal currently rocking the world of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft — but the headlines didn’t end there.
Yang, who goes by Cindy, was revealed to have connections to a slew of prominent Republicans, both inside and outside the orbit of President Donald Trump.
She reportedly used those connections to sell access to the Trump family, the Trump White House, and an assortment of conservative powerbrokers, which national security experts have said could present opportunities for espionage or blackmail.
Now further digging has uncovered Yang’s connections to two groups with ties to China’s communist government, Mother Jones reported on Sunday, and she also formed a “Miami-based nonprofit that promotes ‘economic and cultural exchange’ between China and the West in coordination with ‘senior…Chinese leaders’ in the United States,” the news outlet said.
Yang’s political activity was virtually nil prior to the 2016 presidential election, at which time she initially threw her support behind former Florida governor Jeb Bush.
When Trump blasted onto the stage as the top contender, Yang switched her allegiance and began supporting his candidacy.
That support included financial gifts of “more than $42,000 to Trump Victory, a political action committee, and more than $16,000 to the president’s campaign,” the Miami Herald reported.
But Yang was busy making inroads with groups linked to the Chinese government during that time as well.
According to Mother Jones: “the profile of Yang that appears on the Chinese-language site Freewechat—which compiles posts from the Chinese social media platform WeChat—she was invited in 2016 ‘to serve as a member of the National Committee of the Asian American Republican Party.’”
Yang also landed senior roles at two more groups, the Florida branch of the Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China (CPPRC) and the Miami chapter of the American arm of the Chinese Association of Science and Technology — both of which have direct links to China’s Communist Party.
Mother Jones also noted that CPPRC “has been described as a vehicle for projecting Chinese influence in the West.”
The organization, which has chapters across the globe, advocates for China absorbing Taiwan, according to conservative think tank the Jamestown Foundation.
The CPPRC’s national headquarters branch for the U.S. is the National Association for China’s Peaceful Unification (NACPU) in Washington, D.C., the think tank reports.
It also says that CPPRC “takes pains both within China and without to present itself as one that represents broad sections of Chinese society outside of the Communist Party… However, such statements are misleading, and a cursory examination of the organization’s leadership structure reveals that the CPPRC is directly subordinate to the Communist Party’s United Front Work Department.”
Yang was involved with the Florida China Peaceful Reunification Promotion Association founding in 2016 and is pictured in photos from the inaugural meeting.
Her profile on Freewechat indicates that Yang was named a Vice President of the organization, Mother Jones noted.
As for the China Association for Science and Technology, Yang is listed as vice president and appears in photos from the group’s events.
The organization bills itself as “a bridge that links the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government to the country’s science and technology community.”
According to Mother Jones, the groups is “currently headed by a former minister of science and technology, and its leadership structure is full of Communist Party officials.”
And the charity Yang founded in 2015, which reportedly does not seem to have nonprofit status, stated in its incorporation records that it exists to promote “cultural and economic exchange between China” and the West.
The Women’s Charity Foundation, initially called the Overseas International Female Organization but later changed, was “formed jointly with ‘senior overseas Chinese leaders,’ which seems to be a reference to leaders of the Chinese-American community,” Mother Jones reported.
The news outlet concludes:
“Yang has justifiably drawn scrutiny as a Trump donor who tried to cash in on her connections within the Trump-GOP cosmos, raising questions about whether she was working with people in Trump’s orbit. Her involvement with groups connected to the Chinese government and the Communist Party prompt additional questions about her activities.”