SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Democratic Party is reacting to a recent report by the Associated Press that alleges collusion between the Utah GOP and the Chinese Communist Party. “All Utahns should be incredibly concerned by the contents of this (AP) report and the ties it has revealed between Utah Republicans and the Chinese Communist Party,” according to Diane Lewis, the chair of the Utah Democratic Party. In a prepared statement released Mar. 28, Lewis called the story issued Tuesday by AP correspondents Alan Suderman and Sam Metz a “damning report” highlighting the duplicitous and cozy relationship between Utah’s Republican leadership and the leaders of mainland China. Lewis’ statement said the report details multiple instances of Chinese leaders working behind the scenes, often through lobbyists and foreign agents, to build relationships and exert influence over Republican leaders. The AP said that its investigation relied on dozens of interviews with key players and the review of hundreds of pages of records, text message and e-mails obtained through public records’ requests. The only names mentioned in the report were Utah Sen. Jake Anderegg (R-Lehi), supposedly questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for introducing a pro-China resolution in the 2020 general session of the Legislature; Dan Stephenson, an employee of a China-based consulting firm; and Taowen Le, a professor of information technology at Weber State University. In the AP story, all three of those individuals said their advocacy on China-related issues was self-directed rather than at the behest of the Chinese government. But Lewis insisted that the Chinese government has used Republicans to echo and amplify its propaganda and to block and alter legislation hostile to Chinese interests. “As the authoritarian Chinese government is targeting ethnic minorities and cracking down on free speech and democracy,” she said, “Republicans seem to have no problem cozying up to them behind the scenes while they continue their own extremist attacks on freedom and democracy here at home. “By contrast, Utah Democrats unwaveringly support democracy and freedom in the (Southeastern Asia) region and condemn ongoing oppressive actions of the Chinese government,” Lewis added. To illustrate their support of embattled Taiwan, Lewis pointed to a recent trip there by Oscar Mata, the vice chair of the Utah Democratic Party. During that early March visit, sponsored by the Association of State Democratic Committees, Mata met with the leaders of Taiwan’s two major political parties, the Democratic Progressive Party and the Kuomintang. Would you like to have the day’s news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start! Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Would you like to have the day’s news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!