BEIJING, CHINA – Axios is reporting that Maine Governor Janet Mills is one of a minority of United States Governors that are “friendly” to China, according to a report written by the Chinese think tank D&C Think.
The report, one of a series prepared by the Beijing think tank, was compiled in collaboration with Tsinghua University. Notably, only 17 state governors were listed as friendly in the reports, says Axios.
Some Governors were not determined to be friendly or “hardline”, but neutral. Interestingly, the report does not break down along party lines, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D – New York) listed as a “hardline” alongside Gov. Ron DeSantis (R – Florida).
Axios says the report is likely part of a Chinese effort to influence how local elected officials in the United States view China. To that end, the report offers a road map of sorts to places that Chinese diplomats and businesses can target.
While the think tank does not claim any official ties to the Chinese Communist Government, it does partner with at least one of the government’s political influence groups, which has grown increasingly focused on relationships in the United States.
According to Axios, one piece of the report describes China’s newfound influence on state and local government officials in part because these elected officials can ignore or disobey Washington D.C. and because they hold significant power.
The interest in local government officials appears to have risen in China as President Donald Trump took a hardline approach to trade and economic relations with the communist regime.
“Governors can ignore orders from the White House,” Axios quotes from the report, “and state governments can change or even cancel local governments such as cities, counties, and school districts.”
The report ranking Gov. Mills as friendly was released in June of 2019.