Rep. Banks Applauds Indiana’s Sister City Agreement Ban

Today, in response to the enactment of the Indiana state law HEA 1120, which includes a provision to ban Indiana cities from entering into so-called “sister city” agreements with foreign adversaries, including China, Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party Member Rep. Jim Banks released the following statement:  

“Sister city agreements are managed by the United Front, the Chinese Communist Party’s overseas influence arm which Xi Xinping called a ‘magic weapon’ for ‘national rejuvenation.’ The CCP pushes sister city agreements to get a foothold here, not to help Indiana. I’m glad that state lawmakers are focused on ridding Communist Party influence from our state, whether that means banning ag land purchases or cooperative agreements with our foremost adversary.”

As part of its subnational influence strategy, the CCP’s United Front Work Department builds relationships with unsuspecting local and state officials, often through cultural and economic exchange agreements, with the goal of manipulating these officials to serve China’s interests. The United Front manages China’s sister city agreements through a proxy group called the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

Additional Background:

  • Last week, Rep. Banks introduced the Countering China’s Political Warfare Act to sanction the United Front.
  • Rep. Banks sent a letter on Jan. 30 to new Carmel Mayor Sue Finkam urging her to pull out of her the partnership with Xiangyang, China, and asking Carmel officials to abstain from trips organized by the U.S. Heartland China Association (USHCA), which has extensive ties to the CCP’s United Front.
  • A week later, in a Feb 7 letter, Carmel Mayor Sue Finkam alerted USHCA president, Gov. Bob Holden that Carmel will not renew its USHCA membership.
    • The USHCA, which is vice chaired by former Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, had entered into a formal partnership with Carmel, Indiana in 2022. The city paid a membership fee of $25,000 per year.
In late February, Rep. Banks called on the Justice Department to open a FARA investigation into the USHCA for its ties to the United Front. 

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