Founder of Zuckerberg-financed election group took China-funded fellowship at Harvard think tank

Center for Tech and Civic Life founder Tiana Epps-Johnson was a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government's Ash Center, which is funded in part by Chinese Communist Party-linked enterprises.
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A voter mailing a ballot at a post office box
A voter mailing a ballot at a post office box
(Mark Makela/Getty)

The founder of the controversial, Mark Zuckerberg-backed election group Center for Tech and Civic Life was a fellow at a Harvard University think tank which receives funding from Chinese Communist Party-linked firms.

The CTCL was founded in 2012 by Tiana Epps-Johnson, a 2015-16 Technology and Democracy Fellow at Kennedy School of Government's Ash Center, which is partly funded by several Chinese Communist Party-affiliated enterprises, according to the National Pulse.

The CTCL received hundreds of millions of dollars in 2020 from the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, to distribute to local election offices to "modernize the American voting experience." The unprecedented injection of private funds into public election administration heavily favored Democratic districts in battleground states in what critics say was a targeted campaign to boost Democratic vote totals and sway the outcome of the 2020 election.

Ash Center donors include several Chinese Communist Party-controlled enterprises, such as China Southern Power Grid Corp., whose leaders are "appointed by China's central government," and the New World China Enterprises Project, whose board "is composed of virtually all Chinese Communist Party members," per the report.

Since 2001, the Ash Center has hosted "China's Leaders in Development Program," which is described on its website as "widely recognized by the Chinese government as one of the best overseas training programs for government officials."

The center "has routinely produced studies amplified by Chinese state-run media outlets and regime officials," the National Pulse reports, including, for example,"Understanding CCP Resilience: Surveying Chinese Public Opinion Through Time," a 2020 report finding that the Chinese Communist Party is "as strong as ever" and Chinese citizens are satisfied with the dictatorship.

Just the News has sent a request for comment to Epps-Johnson.

In October, former President Donald Trump wrote that Zuckerberg was a "criminal" for spending more than $400 million to "change the course of a Presidential Election" through CTCL.