Mother Jones has now revealed that Li “Cindy” Yang didn’t just found the Florida spa where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was caught soliciting a prostitute and hang out with President Donald Trump and an array of other top Republicans who she literally marketed access to in investment pitches to foreigners. She has also maintained ties to the Chinese Communist Party, suggesting that her efforts to get close to the president and his allies and turn a profit doing so could have, quite simply, been exploited by Chinese intelligence services.
The development marks yet another dramatic turn both in the sagas of Yang’s intertwining with top Republicans and the vulnerability that Trump’s continued involvement with his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort opens up.
Besides herself getting photographed with Trump at least twice on those grounds, her business has shared a number of photos of her and apparent clients at the club, which Mother Jones notes indicates an apparent level of success in her efforts to literally sell access to the president. They indicate that photos including Chinese business executives and Donald Trump Jr. at Mar-a-Lago’s 2019 New Year’s celebrations were arranged by the company and have marketed the opportunity for further such connections.
Besides her involvement with Republicans and their causes, she has also apparently been involved in the U.S. operations of at least two groups intertwined with the Chinese Communist Party, including the Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China (CPPRC) and the Chinese Association of Science and Technology. The CPPRC has been “described as a vehicle for projecting Chinese influence in the West,” Mother Jones shares. The conservative think tank the Jamestown Foundation adds that “a cursory examination of the organization’s leadership structure reveals that the CPPRC is directly subordinate to the Communist Party’s United Front Work Department.”
Its name encapsulates a key Chinese nationalist principle — the rejection of the generally democratic Taiwan as a legitimately separate jurisdiction.
Ironically, Trump has a history with running afoul of that push, considering a phone conversation with the Taiwanese president he participated in while himself still president-elect. In the time since, he has launched numerous much more direct assaults on Chinese influence, most prominently via his incessant rounds of punitive tariffs that finally paused to allow time for negotiations at the beginning of this year. The tension could provide further incentive for Chinese interests to try and get on the president’s good side.
Meanwhile, the other organization which Yang has been involved with is blunt about its ties. The China Association for Science and Technology explains its mission as serving as a
“bridge that links the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government to the country’s science and technology community.” Yang has served as the vice president of the organization’s south Florida chapter.
She has denied wrongdoing in connection to the case that originally attracted scrutiny — that of her family’s day spa chain that has been implicated in sex trafficking, although she sold the particular location where Kraft was busted before he went there. Mother Jones was unable to reach her for comment on some of the subsequent allegations of corruption, and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not respond to questions.
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