Biden’s think tank, which held classified documents, also hosted an event that encouraged greater engagement with China

Biden’s think tank at the University of Pennsylvania, where the president hid classified documents, not only had lax security — it also hosted events in partnership with organizations that promoted closer engagement with China, Washington Free Lighthouse has learned.

The Penn Biden Center hosted a two-day “bootcamp” for congressional staff in June that fostered closer ties with China on issues such as green energy and academia, according to a source. One of the organizing groups has an advisory board member who has served as a spokesman for the controversial Chinese tech giant Baidu. The event came as anonymous donors from China poured millions into the University of Pennsylvania.

There were no security officers posted to the Penn Biden Center during the conference in June — only regular Penn staff — and attendees could walk around the center unsupervised and use unused rooms for phone calls and other private work during the conference.

The news raises questions about security at the Penn Biden Center following revelations that classified documents from Joe Biden’s vice presidency were improperly stored at the Washington, D.C., think tank and at his home in Wilmington, Del. Biden denied allegations that he mishandled the information, describing the Penn Biden Center as a place where his lawyers “set up an office for me — a secure office in the Capitol when I — the four years after I was vice president, I was a professor at Penn.”

The events also raise questions about the extent of the Biden team’s involvement in the University of Pennsylvania’s opaquely funded Chinese initiatives, which have grown in recent years as millions of dollars in Chinese donations have poured into the university. The university denied the contributions had any connection to the Penn Biden Center, and a spokesman told the Free beacon that there are no foreign donations specifically earmarked for the think tank.

Rebecca Heinrichs, a national security expert and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, said the news that outside groups are hosting events at the Penn Biden Center while classified documents are stored in the office is “incredibly troubling.”

‘The fact that [the documents] were not secured, [were] open and uncaring, and also that you had this other activity going on inside this facility with individuals who may not have the best interests of the American people at heart is shocking,” Heinrichs said.

“I would like to know more about … who came in and out of those specific workshops, those discussions, who went through that facility,” Heinrichs added. “The American people deserve a full accounting of who may have had easy access to these documents.”

The University of Pennsylvania did not respond to a request for comment on the event.

The two-day “congressional boot camp,” held at the Penn Biden Center in D.C., was co-organized by the university’s Center for the Study of Contemporary China, the Penn Project on the Future of U.S.-China Relations and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, according to the university website.

A dozen fellows from the Penn Project on the Future of US-China Relations spoke at the congressional boot camp, according to the website. The project is funded by Penn’s China Research and Engagement Fund, which is “designed to stimulate and support activity in China” and engagement with the Penn Wharton China Center, but does not disclose its individual donors.

The advisory board of the Penn Project on the Future of US-China Relations includes Kaiser Kuo, a former spokesman for Chinese tech giant Baidu who is now editor-in-chief of a news outlet called SupChina. Members of Congress are investigating SupChina, which recently changed its name to The China Project, for potentially acting as an unregistered agent for China. Traffic light reported in October.

The allegations are based on an affidavit by a former SupChina reporter, Shannon Van Sant, filed with the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission that same month.

In the complaint, Van Sant alleges that Kuo said during an editorial meeting that the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong were orchestrated by the US government.

“He said that ‘the United States government is organizing the protests in Hong Kong through funding and training provided by the National Endowment for Democracy,'” she wrote. “Kuo said the US government is responsible for the unrest in Hong Kong, forcing China to impose national security legislation to protect the city.”

Van Sant said the publication’s management pushed writers to adopt a pro-Beijing slant and consulted Chinese Communist Party organizations on story ideas. One of SupChina’s funders, financial consultant Clarence Quan, also served on the board of the China Association of Overseas Exchanges, a group that operates under the Foreign Influence Department of the Chinese government’s United Front, according to Traffic light.

Kuo was not listed as a speaker at the congressional training camp, according to the conference schedule obtained by the Free beacon. Speakers included Pennsylvania professor Jacques deLille, Center for Strategic and International Studies China Studies Chair Jude Blanchett, and former Obama administration China adviser Ryan Haas.

Panel topics included “China’s Climate and Energy Policies,” “Beijing’s Evolving Taiwan Strategy,” and “Public Opinion in China: What Do We Know?” The two-day conference concluded with a reception at Bistro Bis, a restaurant at the nearby Kimpton George Hotel.

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