Over the past decade or so, China has become an increasing problem for the United States. So it should be no surprise that when a small Michigan community learned of a Chinese company moving in, they weren’t pleased. In fact, they are so angry that they’ve filed to oust the entire township’s board.
According to The Blaze, the small town of Green Charter, Michigan, signed a $2 billion agreement with Gotion, Inc. a little more than two years ago, allowing the company to move in and construct a factory that would create batteries for electric vehicles.
At the time, it sounded like a good deal. Like me, most of you have probably never heard of Green Charter or Mecosta County, Michigan. As The Blaze reported, the county is located about an hour north of Grand Rapids and is not known for its wealth. In fact, just about 10 percent of all Mecosta County residents live below the poverty line.
Naturally, these leaders, like those on the township’s board, believe that bringing in a local production plant that could employ around 2,300 workers was a good idea.
But as it turns out, the company’s ties to China and, more specifically, to the Chinese Communist Party have worried more than a few community members.
While Gotion is headquartered in America’s Silicon Valley, it has a parent company in China. And what’s even worse is that in one part of the company’s corporate documents lies a clause that states, “The company shall set up a party organization and carry out party activities in accordance with the constitution of the Community Party of China. The company shall ensure necessary conditions for carrying out party activities.”
Naturally, this inclusion has caused quite a stir within the community. In fact, during one of the more recent township board meetings, which are open to the public, the meeting itself had to be moved outdoors to accommodate all the attendants.
Now, Gotion representatives claim that the clause referring to the CCP is just part of the protocol and that it has no real-life effect on the company or the community. Chuck Thelen, Vice president of Gotion’s North America operations, says it means nothing.
“Has the Communist Party penetrated this company? No. Do we have articles of incorporation that require a specific paragraph, or you don’t do business in the country of China? Yes, but it’s not a corporate culture.”
He added that “there is no communist plot” within the company to spread communism, either in the community of Green Charter or anywhere else.
Of course, this so-called explanation hasn’t exactly won very many over.
Additionally, there are also concerns that the company and its manufacturing process may end up hurting the community’s environment and physical attributions.
As you can imagine, the idea of building batteries, of which there is no real way to recycle or dispose of safely, isn’t all that reassuring to those concerned about how a new factory in town might affect the surrounding waterways, land, air, and agriculture businesses.
Still, others are worried about the threat to national security that the plant and its ties to China may pose. The community of Green Charter lies 100 miles from Camp Grayling, a US military site where the Michigan National Guard works to train the Taiwanese military. And if you didn’t already know, China is not exactly on good terms with Taiwan.
According to China, Taiwan is not its own independent nation, as Taiwan and the United States say. Instead, they claim it as part of China. And as such, any and all military and political moves that might suggest otherwise have come across as a threat to China.
Naturally, the idea of the US training Taiwanese military members is one that likely does not go over well with the CCP. Therefore, having a factory so conveniently close to such activities could prove beneficial to China.
Needless to say, there is no shortage of reasons why the community might oppose such a company moving in.
On Friday, they proved that by filing to have the entire Green Charter board recalled. Over the next several weeks, the “accuracy” of the recall petition’s language will be approved. If all goes as planned, the organizers can then collect signatures to force a recall vote for the board.
Such is the price for siding with China, I guess.