FIRST ON FOX: During former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s tenure as South Carolina governor, the state partnered with a group led by the Chinese communist government to send more than a dozen students to a Beijing summer camp.
“The South Carolina Department of Education is pleased to partner with the Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE),” a March 2015 memorandum on the state’s education department website reads. “The international division of the Beijing Municipal Education Commission is delighted to announce that invitations will be extended to 20 secondary school students from across South Carolina to attend the 5th Beijing International Student Summer Camp this year.”
“On behalf of BIEE, we invite all high schools in South Carolina to recommend 20 secondary students, between the ages of 14 to 18, to participate in the program. The camp will take place from July 14 – 23, 2015 in Beijing.”
A review found that the Beijing Municipal Education Commission is under the “the centralized leadership of the Education Committee of Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China” and “implements the guidelines, policies, decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee,” according to the government of Beijing.
When the CCP’s National Party Congress is out of session, the “Central Committee carries out the resolutions of the National Party Congress, leads all the work of the CPC, and represents the CPC to the rest of the world,” according to a Chinese embassy’s website.
The memorandum describes the trip as an “amazing opportunity” for the students and that the cost of “accommodations, meals, local transportation, tuition, and local activities in China” is “fully covered by BIEE.”
The trip cost the 20 students, who were accompanied by two chaperons, a total of $2,200 each to pay for their airfare and international visa.
Haley’s relationship with China during her time as governor of the Palmetto State has been an issue her Republican opponents have highlighted, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said in October that Haley “rolled out the red carpet” for the CCP.
DeSantis also called out Haley during a GOP presidential debate for working to recruit a Chinese-owned company to South Carolina while she was governor and giving a warm speech about the company while standing next to a Chinese flag.
In a letter sent to then-Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai on Dec. 30, 2014, Haley thanked a Chinese diplomat for congratulating her on her reelection and said she was “grateful” for China’s “contributions on the economic front.”
Haley told Fox News Digital in November that China won’t “threaten or intimidate” American businesses if she is elected to the White House in 2024.
Fox News Digital reached out to the Haley campaign for comment, but did not receive a response.
A spokesperson for the South Carolina Department of Education told Fox News Digital that the summer camp program “expired several years ago.”
Haley is currently polling at 16.1% in Iowa with about two weeks before the Iowa Caucus, which puts her in third place behind former President Trump at 51.3% and DeSantis at 18.6%.
Fox News Digital’s Paul Steinhauser and Brianna Herlihy contributed to this report.
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