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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

China denies Chung's claim it gave money to influence U.S. presidential campaign


April 5, 1999
Web posted at: 11:33 a.m. EST (1633 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 5) -- The Chinese government is denying former Democratic Party fund-raiser Johnny Chung's claim that the chief of China's military intelligence funneled $300,000 through him to back President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign

"The Chinese government has always opposed the interference by any country in the internal affairs of another country. China has never and never will use money to influence U.S. politics. China has never made political donations," a statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry says.

The response goes on to suggest China is being made a scapegoat in the fund-raising scandal.

"There is a small number of people in the United States with ulterior motives who insist upon exaggerating and fabricating reports that people from the Chinese side made political donations. Their political conspiracies will not succeed," the Chinese Foreign Ministry warns.

Chung has told federal investigators that Gen. Ji Shengde ordered the money transferred to Chung's bank account with the specific objective of helping Clinton's campaign, CNN has learned from sources familiar with Chung's testimony.

The sources say only a portion of the money ever made it into Democratic Party coffers.

Federal law prohibits financial contributions to political campaigns from sources outside of the United States.

Word of direct involvement of a high-ranking Chinese official in Chung's fund-raising activities, first reported Sunday by The Los Angeles Times, comes on the eve of a visit to Washington this week by Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji.

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy denied the allegation, insisting his government was not involved in the American election.

White House spokesman Jim Kennedy said that the administration has no knowledge about the source of Chung's donations to the Democratic Party. He declined to comment further, citing "allegations regarding intelligence matters."

"The White House is appropriately briefed on national security matters," he added.

Citing an "ongoing investigation," Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also refused to comment on the allegations during an appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press."

Chung, a Taiwan-born American citizen, contributed some $400,000 to various Democratic campaigns and visited the Clinton White House about 50 times. Sources tell CNN that he was introduced to Ji by the daughter of another high-ranking Chinese military officer, Liu Chaoying.

Last year, Chung pleaded guilty to election law violations and began cooperating with the Justice Department's investigation into alleged 1996 campaign fund-raising irregularities. In December, he was sentenced to probation and community service.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer contributed to this report.


Johnny Chung says Chinese official gave him $300,000 for Clinton campaign (4-4-99)

Trie faces new charge; Chung's sentencing postponed (11-10-98)


Gavel to Gavel: AllPolitics special report on campaignfund-raising


Monday, April 5, 1999

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