Rockefeller Foundation Bankrolling COVID Commission Formed by Pro-China Economist Jeffrey Sachs gives a discussion on climate change and surviving Trump during the Starmus Festival on June 21, 2017, in Trondheim, Norway. (Michael Campanella/Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 11 May 2021 10:26 AM
The Rockefeller Foundation reportedly has contributed $300,000 to a coronavirus commission formed by a pro-China economist who has called the United States the "greatest threat" to global peace.
The Lancet COVID-19 Commission is a collaboration between the British medical journal and Jeffrey Sachs, a prominent liberal economist who previously advised the Chinese government.
The commission says its goal is to develop recommendations for fighting coronavirus and addressing the economic fallout from the pandemic. The presence of Sachs and others, however, has raised alarms about the possibility of China influencing the panel as it advises governments and United Nations institutions, The Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday.
Progressive groups advocated for Beijing-friendly Sachs to get a spot in the Biden administration. The commission's chairman and a Columbia University professor, Sachs also maintains ties to the World Health Organization and U.N., for which he served as an adviser through 2018.
Some of the world's most prominent officials in the health community are taking part in the Lancet COVID-19 commission. Lancet is considered one of the premier medical journals internationally.
The Rockefeller Foundation's $5 billion endowment funds numerous global health initiatives, including the Lancet COVID-19 commission.
The commission also receives funding from the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, an Azerbaijan-based think tank that has been praised by a Chinese ambassador for its "close cooperation" with Beijing.
Sachs has a long track record of defending China and criticizing U.S. foreign policy.
Columbia University President Lee Bollinger was the recipient of a February letter from a network of advocacy groups accusing Sachs of downplaying China’s genocide against Uyghur Muslims and criticizing democracy movements in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Sachs had accused the U.S. of trying to "stir unrest" by promoting democracy protests in Hong Kong.
The advocacy groups said Sachs' comments were "in line with [People's Republic of China] state propaganda."
An adviser to China's State Development Planning Commission from 2001-2002, Sachs appeared numerous times on Chinese state media to lambaste America, including in 2020 when he accused some in the Trump administration of waging an "unholy crusade" against the Communist country.
After American officials pushed for an international investigation against Chinese tech giant Huawei in 2018, Sachs called the U.S. government the "greatest threat" to international law and global peace.
He also defended China at a September event about the pandemic held by the Nizami Ganjavi International Center and the China Public Diplomacy Association.
"I do not believe that China is the root of the current problems; I believe that the tensions have arisen mainly from the United States side," said Sachs, who said conservatives were seeking a cold war with China.
Sachs, in a column for CNN last May, said Republicans were being "reckless and dangerous" by suggesting that coronavirus started in a Wuhan lab before it escaped. The "escape theory," however, has emerged as the most plausible way the virus spread, given new evidence and analysis about the virus' makeup and characteristics.
Founded by oil baron John D. Rockefeller in 1913, The Rockefeller Foundation has long held ties with China, creating the China Medical Board in 1914 to fund medical research at universities there.
The Rockefellers have other ties to China, too. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, another charitable foundation affiliated with the family, financially supports multiple Chinese environmental groups with links to the Communist Party.
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund also bankrolls the Quincy Institute, whose fellows have denied the Uyghur genocide and been accused of repeating anti-Semitic talking points.
Meanwhile, Lancet Editor Richard Horton has developed bonds with Chinese state and media officials.
Horton and Sachs announced the formation of the COVID-19 Commission in a Lancet article on July 9.