Saturday, January 12, 2019

George Koo answers the letter from Hoover working group

My reply in the order of issues raised by the leaders of the working group are as follows.

My pieces have occasionally appeared in and in Global Times. I do not write specifically for those online publications and I am always delighted when they find my pieces appealing enough to repost in their blogposts; guancha even does the translation into Chinese. I should hasten to add that I received no compensations and did not expect any.

The late William Chiu was the prime mover and organizer of the Peaceful Reunification of China in Australia and was a dear friend of mine. My wife and I accepted his invitation to attend the first conference in Sydney in 2002 because (1) we were and are enthusiastic supporters of the idea of peaceful unification and wanted to support his initiative, (2) saw an opportunity to visit Australia for our first time, and (3) a possible photo-op with former President Bill Clinton who was the invited keynoter at the conference. He was well compensated for his appearance. We paid our own way. 

Even though I am listed as an advisor ever since the first annual conference, I have not attended any since. I note that many luminaries including former prime ministers of Australia are listed as advisors of one capacity or another to this organization. The presence of United Front was not obvious to me and no one had to convince me "that Taiwan should be united with China."

I was invited to join the Overseas Friendship Association in 2003. I was on vacation in China at the time and I flew from Kunming to Beijing to participate in the conference organized by the OFA. Since then I participated in some of their organized activities, the last was in 2007. 

In general the activities include a gala, a meeting where official position and status papers were distributed and sightseeing where we had opportunities to mingle with overseas Chinese from all over the world, including many from Taiwan. The meetings and/or conferences were not riveting and I don't remember ever being asked to go forth and spread a particular message. The host took care of local expenses while travel to China was always on our own. 

I cannot explain how I was listed in the Overseas Exchange Association. The organization listed my affiliation as Deloitte. I retired from Deloitte in April 2008 and therefore the information was at least ten years out of date.

Since 1978, I go to China frequently to help US companies do business in China. My travel expenses were either paid by me or by my clients. Not one trip was paid by anyone from the China side, except for local expenses as noted above. 

After my business activity tapered, I devoted increasing amount of my energy to explaining China to the American public. I try to present a Chinese American point of view that I believe is absent in the American mainstream. To that end, my friends in China have arranged for me to meet various organizations and experts such as Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing and Tsinghua universities. These exchanges and discussions were no different in nature from China hands that visit China regularly, including those in the Hoover working group. 

I do not recall the March 2008 meeting with CSSN mentioned at the end of the response from Diamond et al. But I can categorically state that no Chinese organization paid for my travel. 

Since 2003, I have occasionally met officials of the United Front. We talked about issues as related to Chinese Americans and rarely if ever about American politics and never have the United Front folks asked me to promote a certain point of view. I even expressed interest in wanting to know more about Harry Wu's past before he emigrated to the US and all I got was no response.

I am absolutely convinced that it is in the national interest of both the US and China to get along and peacefully co-exists. The future and prospects of the win-win quadrant is unlimited for both countries and for the world. On the other hand, no win-lose scenarios can be viable, only lose-lose and that would be tragic and most regrettable outcome. I hope to continue to be a "constructive" contributor to the discussion about the future of the US China relations. I too support the First Amendment; it's one of the best reasons to be an American

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