President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee announced that it will be returning a $500 donation from former Democrat California Sen. Barbara Boxer after it was revealed that she worked as a lobbyist for a Chinese company with alleged ties to the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of Uighur Muslims in East Turkistan.
The controversy resulted in Boxer deregistering as a foreign agent on Tuesday.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on the development:
Initially, Boxer said in federal documents she signed last week that she would be “providing strategic consulting services” to the U.S. subsidiary of Hikvision, a Chinese firm that the Trump administration placed on a trade blacklist last year after the Defense Department said the company was controlled by the Chinese military.
Hikvision is a large manufacturer of video surveillance equipment that human rights advocates say is being used to subjugate Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic groups at forced labor camps in China. Beijing has imprisoned at least 1 million Uighurs in northwestern China since 2017, according to reports.
President Trump signed an executive order last year banning U.S. investment in Hikvision and 19 other Chinese firms that the U.S. said had ties to China’s military.
Biden’s inaugural committee said it returned the donation because it does not accept funds from registered foreign agents.
“Boxer, a former Marin County resident who represented California in the Senate from 1993 to 2017, now co-chairs the Los Angeles office of Mercury Public Affairs, a lobbying firm that was working for the Hikvision subsidiary,” the Chronicle reported.
“My intent in agreeing to provide strategic advice to the company was based on my desire to help make them better in every way and preserve American jobs,” Boxer said in a statement given to the Chronicle. “However, due to the intense response to my registration, I have determined that my continued involvement has become a negative distraction for the effort so I will be de-registering.”