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IL Freedom Caucus Wants Answers to Questions Surrounding Deal with Chinese Company Looking to Build Battery Plant in IL

From left to right: State Reps. Blaine Wilhour, Dan Caulkins, Jed Davis, Chris Miller, Adam Niemerg, Brad Halbrook. Photo submitted by IL Freedom Caucus.


IL Freedom Caucus Wants Answers to Questions Surrounding Deal with Chinese Company Looking to Build Battery Plant in IL

Monday, Oct. 2, 2023

Springfield, IL – The IL Freedom Caucus today held a press conference to demand answers to some of the concerns Manteno residents have with a Chinese company building a battery plant in their community.

The Chinese company Gotion High-Tech Co. is in line for $ 7.5 billion in federal tax credits over five years, while the State of Illinois is kicking in an additional $536 million in subsidies to build the plant. The cost to build the plant is $2 billion and the subsidies add up to an astounding $3 million per job.

“Manteno may not be in our districts, but the people of this community deserve to have their voices heard,” said State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur). “This deal was negotiated in secret without the input of Manteno residents. The Governor needs to answer their questions and address their concerns.”

State Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) said it defies common-sense to make a deal with a company with ties to the Chinese Communist Party without requiring any kind of disclosures. He said China’s human rights abuses make them a bad-faith partner in business deals.

“China continues to engage in coercive population control through forced abortion, forced sterilization, and involuntary implantation of birth control and the CCP forced labor and detention of more than one million Uyghurs and other minority groups is well-documented,” Halbrook said. “China has forced Apple to remove features that allow people to contact each other without the knowledge of the Chinese government to prevent dissidents from organizing. On Nov. 25th, 2022, video surfaced of an apartment fire in Xinjiang. People were trapped inside because the Chinese government locked them in as part of their cruel response to COVID-19. Imagine being forcibly locked in your apartment building simply because someone in the building had COVID-19. Then imagine not being able to escape a fire because your building is locked from the outside. This is who the Chinese Communist Party is.”

To go into business with a company with CCP ties is one thing but to not even do any proper vetting is another matter entirely.

“What vetting was done to protect Illinois and US interests in this deal?” said State Rep. Adam Niemerg (R-Diederich). “What agreements were made to protect propriety information of US companies that may be involved in the project? Why wasn’t a Form 800, which is a standard federal form that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) uses to determine if any threats to national security exists in business deals, required? If any foreign companies need to be subject to a Form 800 – it would be a company with ties to the Chinese Communist Party. So again, I ask – Why weren’t any forms or disclosures required? This is what happens when ideology trumps common sense.”

The legislators called for answers to these questions and also called for the Legislature to take action to protect the interests of Illinois residents. Specifically, they called for legislation to ban the use of public funds in investments or institutions tied to the Chinese Communist Party or the People’s Republic of China; to ban government officials and employees from having Tik Tok accounts; and to prohibit China from buying farmland in the United States.

We need to put our money where our mouth is on human rights, and we need to lead by example when it comes to China,” said State Representative Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City). “JB Pritzker signed a law divesting Illinois from Russia because of the war in Ukraine. If we are condemning Russia – how can we not have the same policies in regard to the CCP? We say we are for human rights but not only are we blindly doing business with a company whose corporate papers pledge loyalty to the CCP, but we are handing over millions in subsidies. And instead of a substantive thoughtful response from JB Pritzker – all we get is insults and hyperbole. Illinois deserves better. Manteno deserves better. We need to put the brakes on this project and return sanity to our state.”