Some of the most prominent venues in New York City have recently hosted as an honored guest a Chinese official who praised China’s ruling Communist Party as “great” and dismissed reports of systematic persecution against minorities inside China as “lies.”
Huang Ping, who’s been the consul general of China’s New York Consulate since 2018, has over the past week made appearances at Barclays Center, the Nasdaq MarketSite, and the Empire State Building, rubbing elbows with prominent American business leaders at each stop.
The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, which play at Barclays in Brooklyn, celebrated the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit on Thursday. Huang went on the basketball court, where he spoke briefly and received a sweater and toy rabbit as gifts from Sam Zussman, CEO of the Nets’ parent company BSE Global.
The game was “an opportunity for us to come together and pay homage to the rich history and traditions associated with Chinese culture across the world and in our own community,” said Zussman.
Earlier in the week, Ping rang the opening bell of the Nasdaq stock exchange in Times Square, also as a celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Chinese state-run media was quick to promote Huang’s appearance — including warm remarks from Nasdaq Vice Chairman Robert H. McCooey, Jr. welcoming the consul and praising Nasdaq’s ties to China.
“Nasdaq’s commitment to China remains very strong,” McCooey said at the ceremony. “We’re extremely proud to be the home for over 175 Chinese companies, innovative and iconic companies who embody the entrepreneurial spirit that help our two nations continue to grow.”
Nasdaq also lists many of America’s largest tech companies and has been scrutinized by U.S. officials, along with other major exchanges, for listing Chinese companies over concerns about transparency and threats to national security.
All Chinese companies “are required to establish CCP [Chinese Communist Party] cells in their operations and support CCP security agencies,” according to the China Task Force report, a major project conducted by members of Congress in 2020. “The CCP embeds its members in every company and organization.”
U.S. officials have also said Chinese espionage costs the U.S. upwards of $600 billion a year in stolen intellectual property.
Still, Huang echoed McCooey’s hospitality, saying China will reach its “destination” and “share the fruits” with everyone.
“China is very clear that we’re going to open our door and open wider to work with the international community, to realize our goal, to reach our destination and to share the fruits with everyone,” he said. “As we are now heading into the Year of the Rabbit, we should move as quickly as the rabbit and work together to implement the consensus reached by our two presidents to make this relationship more productive and more delivering to benefit our people and the people all around the world.”
Michael Sobolik, a fellow in Indo-Pacific Studies at the American Foreign Policy Council, recently told Fox News Digital that China exerts “malign influence” in the U.S. through “American voices to advance its own hostile agenda.”
Last week, Huang also attended the ceremonial lighting of the Empire State Building for the start of the Lunar New Year.
“We are so pleased to extend our heartfelt New Year’s wishes to the entire Chinese community here in the United States, around the world, and especially in China,” Tony Malkin, chairman, president, and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust, said at the ceremony.
Huang noted that it’s been a half-century since U.S.-China engagement began under the Nixon administration and called for enhanced people-to-people exchanges between both countries.
Despite the warm rhetoric, however, Huang has a history of making controversial remarks that didn’t come up at any of his recent New York gatherings. Most notably, he has frequently praised the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and staunchly defended China’s treatment of Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority, in the region of Xinjiang.
“There are lots of lies here, fabricated by some people with their own political agenda,” Huang said in an August 2021 interview, denying the existence of genocide and internment camps targeting Uyghurs. “As I said, there’s no genocide, not a single evidence to prove that there’s a genocide or something there. It’s just a slandering.”
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the State Department under both the Trump and Biden administrations have assessed China is committing genocide against the Uyghurs. Since 2017, the Chinese government has reportedly imprisoned more than a million Uyghurs in concentration camps, where according to leaked documents from inside China detainees are subjected to rape, torture, forced labor, brainwashing, and forced sterilization.
Huang also called the CCP a “great party” and described the camps in which Uyghurs are detained as educational.
“I see these centers as a campus, rather than camps,” he said. “We get these people there to be educated. And this has been quite effective in terms of countering terrorism and in de-radicalization. Up to now, there has not been a single terrorist attack in exactly four years.”
When previously reached for comment, the Chinese consulate in New York echoed Huang’s comments, telling Fox News Digital that the “Xinjiang-related issue is not about human rights” and that a “lie told a thousand times is nothing but still a lie.”
Huang is no stranger to being featured at major New York events. Earlier this year, for example, the consul general attended Times Square’s New Year’s Eve “Hong Kong Rocks!” celebration. The Biden administration on Thursday extended a program that protects Hong Kong residents in the U.S. from deportation due to concerns about worsening repression in Hong Kong.
Huang also previously participated in Nasdaq’s bell-ringing ceremony and the lighting of the Empire State Building multiple times.
In April 2022, the consul made headlines for delivering a speech at the 25th annual Harvard College China Forum at Harvard Business School, where he called on Americans to be more “tolerant to diversity” and to accept China’s way of governance.
“Over the past 100 years, the CPC has united and led the Chinese people to achieve world-renowned achievements in developing our country and improving people’s lives,” Huang said at Harvard, according to a transcript by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “China will unswervingly be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of the international order, and will continue to make unremitting efforts for human development and progress.”
Huang chided America for having “some narrow-minded people who find it difficult to accept those countries with different histories, cultures, and systems from the U.S.,” adding these voices “always point fingers at those countries and want to change them.”
“The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is rooted in the 5,000-year-old Chinese civilization,” Huang continued. “It is the choice of the 1.4 billion Chinese people. The development and progress China has made in the past few decades has fully proved that this is the right path that suits China’s national conditions. We will follow this path unswervingly. A poll conducted by the Harvard Kennedy School on China for 10 consecutive years shows that the Chinese people’s satisfaction with the government has remained above 90% year after year. We hope that the U.S. side will respect the path independently chosen by Chinese people and accommodate a peaceful and prosperous China.”
BSE Global, Nasdaq, and the Empire State Realty Trust didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Fox News’ Cameron Cawthorne and Jessica Chasmar contributed reporting.