Banks calls on Carmel to withdraw from Chinese sister-city agreement

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U.S. Rep. Jim Banks addresses supporters at the GOP's annual State Dinner at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis, Aug. 10, 2023. (Peter Blanchard/IBJ photo)

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana on Tuesday asked the city of Carmel to withdraw from a sister-city agreement with a Chinese municipality and to refuse trips organized by groups linked to China’s ruling party.

His letter came after a Washington Post report detailing China’s renewed focus on diplomacy with local U.S. leaders featured a trip former Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard took to China. During that tour, Brainard signed a sister-city agreement with Xiangyang.

Brainard left the mayoral post this month after 30 years in office. Mayor Sue Finkam, also a Republican, won the race to succeed him.

“China has successfully leveraged sister-city agreements to force American and foreign politicians to endorse its one-China policy and to oppose policies that could harm China,” Banks wrote. The policy asserts that Taiwan, governed by an opposing party, is part of China.

Banks is a member of the U.S. House’s Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, which he said is “leading Congress’s efforts to combat China’s illicit influence in our country.

“I am committed to fighting this influence in Indiana and other states … You have a golden opportunity to play a crucial part in these efforts and undo others’ mistakes by disentangling Carmel from the Chinese Communist Party,” Banks told Finkam.

At a select committee meeting on Tuesday, Banks said former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned local officials of accepting gifts.

“When the Chinese Communist Party shows up at your school and offers a free swing set, it is not because they care about the health of your children … In the end, it is about them, not us,” Pompeo said. “… This is an effort at every level for the Chinese Communist Party to have the capacity to influence our government. The Chinese
Communist Party is truly evil.”

Finkam’s administration didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Carmel isn’t the only Hoosier city to have a sister-city agreement with a Chinese municipality. Batesville, Columbus, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis are among the cities with such agreements in place.

Banks said “Carmel has a great opportunity to turn the page and hopefully lead the way by becoming the first of many Indiana cities to distance itself from the Chinese Communist Party by dropping its sister city agreement.”

The congressman also raised concerns about sister city agreements with Chinese cities in 2021.

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23 thoughts on “Banks calls on Carmel to withdraw from Chinese sister-city agreement

  1. More people to people programs would lead to better international relations and we should not abandon them! I trust the Carmel City Council more than I trust congress to solve problems.

  2. Sister city agreements are not legally binding.

    They are a good will ambassador efforts for both parties.

    They are symbolic.

    Having said that, we should not be offering anything but token gifts and expect the same.

    They are a way for Chinese people to justify international travel and the same for our local politicians.

    Meh!

    1. The same Banks that isn’t pushing to aid Ukraine dares to roll out the one-China policy as a reason to act? Spare us.

      The best reminder to China to stay out of Taiwan would have been a firm whack across Putin’s nose.

      The best encouragement to China to invade Taiwan is to look at what’s happening in the Ukraine and to continue sit on our hands. Giving money to the Ukraine is the smartest foreign policy decision we could ever make, they’re destroying the military of our adversary for us.

      The GOP has been taken over by foreign policy fools and autocratic sympathizers.

    2. A rarity that Joe and I agree on the fundamentals…although not the reasons behind the fundamentals.

      Yes, the current situation in Ukraine sends a clear signal that the World’s Great Superbully is distracted, thereby opening a clearer path for West Taiwan (also known as People’s Republic of China) to invade the REAL China (commonly referred to as Taiwan).

      But the question remains: why IS there a current situation in Ukraine? The last Russian entanglement took place during the Obama years, while from 2016 to 2020, all was silent. Yet the clowns in our hack establishment media would have us believe Putin didn’t invade Ukraine during #45’s term because trump was so cozy with Putin. This, of course, makes no sense, especially in light of Russia’s aggressions in the Crimea in 2014 and the Yanukovych presidency shenanigans. If Putin and trump were so cozy, that would have been the PERFECT time to invade Ukraine. And there can be no doubt that #45’s relation with Russia, though obviously better than at present, were nothing compared to the cronyism and quid pro quo that has long taken place between #46 and Ukraine.

      In the meantime, the foreign policy geniuses in the current administration have witnessed rampant escalation of conflicts all over the world, beyond just the proxy war in Ukraine run by clown-prince Zelenskyy and his band of Good Nazis (Azov Brigade) in his military. We of course have Israel and Gaza/Palestine/Hamas, the Houthis and Saudi Arabia/Yemen; escalating tensions between our commie oil-buddy Venezuela and Guyana; mounting instability in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger; and now Iranian aggressions against US military in Jordan, one of the few oases of peace in that region.

      But yes, the best thing to do is kowtow to China. When they aren’t spying on our kiddos through Tiktok, they’re infiltrating our institutions through the Confusion Institute among other things. TOTALLY a conspiracy theory. That Banks guy needs to take his tinfoil hat off.

      Does Volodymyr Zelensky supply Hunter Biden his coke, or vice versa?

    3. It’s so doggone infuriating that the number of people trusting your beloved sites keeps diminishing. To the nearest thousand, exactly HOW many legacy media journalists have been laid off in the last 60 days?

      That modern-day Katherine Graham, Taylor Lorenz, seems to think billionaires like Bezos should rescue their floundering enterprises–as though the reason legacy media outlets are hemorrhaging money is simply due to modern-day costs…and not from the complete collapse in demand prompted by a loss in trust.

      Why DO you continue to trust your beloved news sources so much, Joe? Are you just afraid your friends would ridicule you if you got caught listening to some basement-dwelling neckbeard podcaster who’s popular on Rumble?

    4. You’re projecting again. I mean, for one, they’ve diluted your mind to where you just discard any facts you don’t like, and you can’t even respond to someone else without diverting into Russian disinformation and other nonsense that you apparently heard on Rumble Seat or whatever you are rambling about.

      Funny you don’t talk about Bannon so much after he wanted to round up the atheists like you in a camp. You told me Bannon was real sharp and on top of things.

      Banks can’t figure out why Putin and Xi love his work and you can’t either. Keep telling me all about that uniparty that is using you like a puppet.

  3. I’m sorry, Banks thinks that Pompeo was right: that if the Chinese donate a swing-set to Carmel, somehow one of the deepest GOP strongholds in the state will be influenced by the communists?

    I’d laugh, but I’m mildly concerned that this kind of performative xenophobic behavior means there’s something wrong with our House representative.

  4. Oh lord…this is the kind of symbolic call to action that totally gets it wrong! Sister City relationships are about building bridges, sharing cultures, increasing our understanding of each other’s community, history and people. It is not a threatening action, and to oppose it is to reveal how xenophobic one can be–a sad thing in a federal level public official. I have had the wonderful opportunity to travel to HangZhou which is Indy’s Sister City in China and to host their representatives in my home and at my table… and the result was both personal and professional insight–please get a grip Congressman! What are you afraid of?

  5. Banks has this so wrong. Sister Cities is a very innocuous and useful way to maintain citizen to citizen contact. He needs to study how Sister Cities has functioned since Eisenhower started it so many years ago.

  6. No surprise. Brainard might even announce soon he got a job with China. He acted like a dictator for 28 years so this surprises no one. He got his last free trip on taxpayers money to China.

  7. NOTHING China has done seems to have been in the best interest of the US. I would withdraw from any exclusive arrangement with the CCP run China. They are busy finding ways to bring Fentanyl to us as well as other suspect actions.
    The people from there seem great but their government is not that at all.
    I heard on WIBC and it surprised me about this wining and dining activity and who was involved.

  8. Well, the CCP does intern millions of its citizens including children in state run camps. But sure, the kids in the factories don’t eat as much and keep my sneaker costs low so I’m for it.

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