The entire local government of a small Michigan township was voted out of office this week in a recall election over concerns about a China-linked company’s plans to build an electric vehicle battery factory nearby.
In a special election on Tuesday, Green Charter Township’s five board members, all of whom are Republicans, were voted out in favor of candidates who ran without party affiliation.
Hours after the vote, the city’s new leaders wasted no time in changing the locks on the municipality’s main government building, according to NewsNation National Correspondent Brian Entin.
The community of 3,219 people is Republican, and the surrounding county voted for Donald Trump by a margin of 22 percentage points in the 2020 presidential election.
The petition that launched the recall election accused city officials of ignoring voters’ concerns about China-linked company Gotion’s plan to open a $2.3 billion EV factory there, which would expected to create 2,350 jobs.
Although the company is backed by Volkswagen and operates in Germany, Gotion’s parent company is based in China and has been accused of having ties to the country’s Communist Party.
Voters in Green Charter Township, Michigan, recalled all five city council members (circled) on Tuesday over their support of a Chinese-linked company’s plans for a battery factory.
Green Charter’s new board quickly hired a locksmith to replace the locks on the main government building
In ousting the city council from Green Charter, voters in the community of just 3,219 residents also sent a message to President Joe Biden, who has touted EV factories and other clean energy projects as key to his economic growth plans.
China is a leader in the global supply chain for advanced batteries and other green technologies, raising thorny questions about what impact partnerships in that area will have on U.S. interests.
Gotion’s plans for the plant in Michigan, and another in Illinois, have drawn criticism from Republicans in Congress, who urged the Treasury Department to conduct a security investigation into Gotion’s alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Side.
Public records show that Gotion, headquartered in Fremont, California, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Gotion High-Tech Co., Ltd., a multinational company based in Hefei, China.
Gotion High-Techs Articles of associationlast updated in 2022, states that the company will maintain a Chinese Communist Party unit charged with “implementing the Party’s guidelines, principles and policies in the company.”
The company has publicly denied its allegiance to the Communist Party, but China has taken steps in recent years to increase the CCP’s influence in Chinese companies, where maintaining party unity is often required by law.
Gotion did not respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com, but told NewsNation: “We are a multinational company and do not believe in political views and are still committed to bringing thousands of jobs to the state of Michigan.”
A rendering shows the planned Gotion battery factory in Michigan. The company plans to invest $2.3 billion in the plant and create 2,350 new jobs
In Green Charter, local residents said they were concerned about the possible communist connections of the planned Gotion factory.
“My relatives fought against communism, and you’re bringing it here,” an unnamed voter told NewsNation.
Resident Corri Riebow, who has no experience in politics, ran for city manager in the recall election and defeated incumbent Janet Clark.
“We just intend to make it as difficult as possible for them to continue their process,” Riebow said of the new board’s attitude toward Gotion.
“They haven’t even planned a location, they don’t have permits yet, so we’re not their friend,” she added.
Also voted out of the recall were Supervisor Jim Chapman, Treasurer Denise MacFarlane and Trustees Roger E. Carroll and Dale Jernstadt.
In September, Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Republican representatives from Michigan and Illinois sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urging the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to investigate Gotion’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party to revise.
Resident Corri Riebow (above), who has no experience in politics, ran for city manager in the recall election and defeated incumbent Janet Clark
Voters at a watch party celebrate as the results of the recall election are announced
The lawmakers alleged that despite Germany’s Volkswagen AG being the largest individual shareholder of about 30 percent of Gotion’s parent company, Gotion High-Tech, China retained “effective control” through multiple individual shareholders.
They include company founder Li Zhen and his son, who they say were members of CCP organizations.
Most of Gotion High-Tech’s other top shareholders, they wrote, were owned by Chinese government-linked entities, and the articles of association promise to implement the party’s key strategic decisions.
That should prompt the review and, if necessary, divestment of Gotion High-Tech, the lawmakers said, especially as Biden has identified electric vehicles and batteries as critical parts of transportation infrastructure.
“It is not in the interest of the United States to allow the CCP to control facilities that produce an estimated thousands of these batteries, let alone provide it with hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies to do so.” , they said.