Organization Trends

China and the Penn Biden Center: Hunter’s Role

China and the Penn Biden Center (full series)
Penn Biden Center | Hunter’s Role
China Money | Paying Professor Biden

Hunter’s Role

From 2014 to June 2019, the University of Pennsylvania received $54.6 million in donations from China, including $23.1 million in anonymous gifts starting in 2016, when Biden was preparing to leave office. The money came in at the same time that Hunter Biden and James Biden, the vice president’s son brother, were doing business with a Chinese firm. Hunter Biden co-founded BHR Partners weeks before riding on Air Force Two with his father to Beijing. While there, Hunter introduced his father to incoming BHR CEO Jonathan Li, and Joe Biden even wrote college recommendation letters for Li’s children. Online business records indicate that Hunter Biden still co-owns a 10 percent stake in BHR, according to the New York Post.

BHR’s self-description makes no secret of ties to China’s government-owned companies. BHR Partners says it manages $2.1 billion, and its website says:

We work with China’s industrial leaders, state-owned enterprises, multinational corporations, as well as with start-up visionaries in their international mergers and acquisitions, domestic restructurings and pre-IPO financings.


[It] combines the resources and platforms of China’s largest financial institutions (including Bank of China, China Development Bank Capital, Harvest Fund, Postal Savings Bank of China, China Life and the National Council of Social Security Fund) and the networks and know-how of our U.S.-based investment fund and advisory firm shareholders.

Emails show that before his father exited the vice presidency Hunter Biden helped to hatch what would become the Penn Biden Center.

Creative Artists Agency, a Los Angeles-based talent and sports agency, signed Joe and Jill Biden in 2017 to represent them for future gigs. The agency was never involved in the center formally, nor was Hunter Biden. But both laid the groundwork.

Craig Gering, an agent with the Creative Artists Agency, and Hunter Biden exchanged emails in April 2016 planning the center, the Wall Street Journal reported. Gering said the Penn Biden Center would “focus on foreign policy,” Gering also said it’s a good opportunity for Biden to establish his post-vice presidency in Washington.

Gering’s April 2016 email read:

  1. The Biden Institute of Foreign Relations at the University of Pennsylvania

    • Focus on foreign policy.

    • In addition to the institute at U of Penn, the school has an existing office in DC that will be expanded to house a DC office for VP Biden (and Mike, Hunter and Steve?). Operates like The Clinton Global Initiative without the money raise.

Hunter Biden replied,

Yes, in theory that’s the way I would like to see it shake out— BUT please keep this very confidential between us because nothing has been set in stone and there’s still a lot of sensitivity around all of this both internally and externally. He hasn’t made any decisions and this could all be changed overnight.

After the January 2023 news broke of the vice presidential documents, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) wrote current University of Pennsylvania President Mary Elizabeth Magill requesting information.

“Robert Hunter Biden, the president’s son, may have had access to the classified documents found at the president’s Delaware home since he listed it as his home address as recently as 2018 and planned to share office space with an individual affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party,” the Oversight committee letter to the UPenn president adds. “This level of access and opportunity raises questions about who had access to the classified documents found at the Penn Biden Center.”

In the next installment, donations from China to the university more than triple after the center is announced.

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the author of Abuse of Power: Inside the Three-Year Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump (Bombardier Books, 2020). He is a journalist who reports for the Daily Signal,…
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