Georgia GOP congressmen accuse the Carter Center of cultivating ties to China

One of the missions of the Carter Center, which President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter formed in partnership with Emory University, is its focus on normalizing relations with China. Four conservative Republican congressmen from Georgia have accused the center of giving the Communist nation a platform for its propaganda. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL
One of the missions of the Carter Center, which President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter formed in partnership with Emory University, is its focus on normalizing relations with China. Four conservative Republican congressmen from Georgia have accused the center of giving the Communist nation a platform for its propaganda. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL

Credit: Branden Camp

Credit: Branden Camp

WASHINGTON — The Republican Party’s anti-China strategy has landed on a new target: former President Jimmy Carter’s Atlanta-based nonprofit organization.

The Carter Center, founded by the former president and his wife, Rosalynn, in conjunction with Emory University, is a nonpartisan human rights organization that is focused in part on normalizing the relationship between the United States and China. That aspect of its mission has rankled four conservative U.S. House members, who wrote a letter Wednesday to the center’s chief executive criticizing recent events held with China-related entities.

The letter faults the Carter Center for co-hosting events with Chinese organizations, saying these entities are affiliated with the Communist nation’s government and ruling political party. It says the Carter Center and other affiliates, including Kennesaw State University, have allowed themselves to be used by groups hoping to spread Chinese propaganda in America, such as the Chinese Community Party’s United Front umbrella group.

The letter was addressed to Carter Center Chief Executive Paige Alexander and signed by U.S. Reps. Buddy Carter, Drew Ferguson, Jody Hice and Austin Scott. They are all members of the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of the most conservative lawmakers.

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, was the first to report on the lawmakers’ letter.

“We are deeply troubled that the United Front continues to be given a platform to spread its propaganda in the United States,” they wrote. “We would appreciate your response into why the Carter Center continues to partner with the United Front Work Department and organizations connected to the CCP and Chinese government.”

Alexander told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday that she had not seen the letter and had no immediate comment. But Carter himself has made no qualms that he considers it beneficial to both countries that relationships be normalized.

“Four decades ago, when Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping and I announced our decision to establish full diplomatic relations, we knew that we were opening an era of opportunity for both nations,” Carter wrote in the foreword of a recent report by the center. “I am proud to have witnessed the benefits that followed, including peace in East Asia, expanded bilateral trade and investment, and a prosperous friendship between the American and Chinese people.”

Staff writer Greg Bluestein contributed to this article.

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