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NYTimes.com: How China Brings Us Together

From: domainremoved <Brielle>
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2019 14:31:51 -0800

As the Council wrestles with revisions to the Council’s Travel Policy, please keep in mind the question of whether council members should be representing Menlo Park in China for any reason. The focus has been on the issue of reimbursements to council members and the non-profit status of the Chinese organizations that have extended these invitations. However there is a growing understanding that China is actually posing a cyber-threat to the United States.

To quote David Brooks in his February 15, 2019 New York Times article How China Brings Us Together: An existential threat for the 21st century.

"I’ve always thought Americans would come together when we realized that we face a dangerous foreign foe. And lo and behold now we have one: China. It’s become increasingly clear that China is a grave economic, technological and intellectual threat to the United States and the world order.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/opinion/china-economy.html <https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/opinion/china-economy.html>

While Menlo Park Council Members may choose to travel to China as private citizens, I believe the Council needs to make a decision in each case when the council member’s invitation is because of his or her political status. Is it appropriate for a council member to represent Menlo Park in China where agreements between our City and semi-private companies are being made? Who benefits from these agreements?

Council members from small cities around the Bay Area have been duped by Chinese technology companies into participating in that country’s long range plan to infiltrate American tech businesses. The quasi non-profit status of the Chinese hosts lends only a whiff of legitimacy to these trips.

The obligation each council member has to the governance of Menlo Park should outweigh travel to foreign countries, whether the purpose is to form questionable business relationships with China or celebrating a sister-city relationship with Ireland. While one is questionable and the other may be charming to some, neither is essential to the City or its residents.

Please add to the revised Travel Policy the need for approval for all travel in which council members are invited because of their status as an elected official of the City.

Brielle Johnck
Menlo Park
Received on Fri Feb 15 2019 - 14:28:04 PST

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