Tennessee U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn Demands Answers on Chinese Sister Cities


U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R–TN) this week helped introduce legislation that she said would shed light on the 157 sister city partnerships between U.S. and Chinese communities.

This, according to a press release that Blackburn’s staff published on her website Thursday.

“Sister cities are strategic partnerships that Beijing brokers to create a foothold in American communities,” Blackburn said in the press release.

“These partnerships are yet another tool in Beijing’s campaign to infiltrate our culture to achieve their economic ends. In the past, China has used a sister city partnership to force a local government to abide by Chinese policies or face economic retaliation. It is imperative we shed light on these partnerships to determine whether they leave American communities vulnerable to foreign espionage and ideological coercion.”

According to the press release, the Sister City Transparency Act would create a GAO report on sister city partnerships operating within the United States. More specifically, the bill would direct the Comptroller General to conduct a study on such partnerships involving foreign communities in countries with significant public sector corruption.

Blackburn said the study would do the following:

• Identify the oversight practices that U.S. communities implement to mitigate the risks of foreign espionage and economic coercion within sister city partnerships

• Assess the extent to which foreign communities could use sister city partnerships to conduct malign activities, including academic and industrial espionage

• Review best practices to ensure transparency regarding sister city partnerships’ agreements, activities, and employees

Blackburn introduced the legislation along with U.S. Sen. John Hawley (R-MI), U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS).

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to Blackburn’s press release.

Hawley, in the press release, said “sister city partnerships can too easily be abused by the Chinese Communist Party, a regime intent on spying on Americans, stealing American ideas, and targeting Americans for propaganda.”

“The Sister City Transparency Act addresses this threat by demanding transparency from sister city partnerships and identifying best practices for ensuring Beijing can’t use these relationships to advance its own malign agenda,” Hawley said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]








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