Al Sharpton’s tribute to historic MLK march has links to Communist China

"Anti-Trump hotel" providing discounted rooms for Friday event is owned by a family with deep ties to Shanghai.

Updated: August 27, 2020 - 11:47pm

It might have been hard to imagine 57 years ago, but the tribute that the Rev. Al Sharpton is organizing Friday for Martin Luther King’s historic 1963 March on Washington has ties to Communist China.

The connection can be found in a June 3 post for the social media account, @marchonwash2020, which announced a "March on Washington" scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech.

Initially, there was some confusion over who was organizing the event, officially called the Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks, a clear reference to George Floyd's death in Minneapolis while in police custody.

Sharpton's organization, National Action Network (NAN), has since become the lead organizer of the march, with numerous partners supporting the event, including Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, the ACLU, the National Urban League, and dozens of others.

NAN's announcement promoted an innovative hotel-workspace hybrid called Eaton Workshop, also known as Eaton DC, which was established in 2018. The announcement stated that Sharpton's organization is "partnering with Eaton Workshop to provide discounted accommodations for all who want to stay for a reduced fare in Downtown D.C." The block of rooms discounted for Sharpton's march sold out quickly, and the discounted rate is no longer available. Neither NAN nor Eaton Workshop responded to requests for comment.

Located  just a few blocks from the White House, Eaton DC is proudly known as the "anti-Trump hotel." Less known is the fact that Eaton DC is owned by a Hong Kong-based real estate conglomerate called Great Eagle Holdings whose owners have ties to mainland China, its leaders and its state-owned companies.

Great Eagle Holdings was founded in 1963 by one of China's most prolific real estate dynasties, the Lo family. According to its 2019 Annual Report, Great Eagle's principal bankers include HSBC and China's state-owned Bank of China.

The son of Great Eagle's founders, Lo Ying Shek and Madam Lo To Lee Kwan, is a man named Lo Ka Shui, who remains chairman of the family business. Lo Ka Shui, his siblings, and his children are owners, directors, and senior managers of Great Eagle.

Lo Ka Shui and his brother Vincent Lo have significant ties to Communist China. Since 2003, Lo Ka Shui has served in various senior roles at multiple Chinese state-owned entities, including serving as independent director of the world's largest cellular network, China Mobile, in 2015 as well as a member of two of the telecom's "Principal Board" committees, according to corporate filings.

An academic study identified Lo Ka Shui's positions as examples of China Mobile's and China Telecom's corporate governance overlaps. The 2016 study, titled  "Transparency and Opaqueness in the Chinese ICT Sector," raised concerns over the independence of China's state-owned telecom directors: "For example, Mr. Lo Ka Shui is Chair and Managing Director of one [China state-owned] company, non-executive Chair of another [China state-owned] company, non-executive director of three other companies besides [China Mobile] Ltd, and has senior positions in several Hong Kong NGOs and government advisory committees."

Lo Ka Shui's brother, Vincent Lo, promotes Chinese President Xi's Belt and Road Initiative, which has been criticized as a threat by U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper because the initiative is used to "force other nations into making suboptimal security decisions."

As chairman of the influential Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), Vincent Lo said: "We all share a common goal of creating opportunities and benefits from the Belt and Road Initiative. Using Hong Kong as a commercial hub, the forum helps you make international connections and find partners to turn concept into business."

Vincent Lo has earned the nickname "Shanghai’s godson" due to his close connections to China's former president Jiang Zemin and other high-ranking Chinese officials, including "former Shanghai Party chiefs Chen Liangyu and the late Huang Ju, current Shanghai Party chief Han Zheng, former Politburo Standing Committee members Zhou Yongkang and Jia Qinglin, [and the] sacked former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai," the Epoch Times reported, citing a lawsuit. 

The Lo family has had conflicts with President Trump in the past. In 2002, Donald Trump sued Vincent Lo and others for $1 billion over a business dispute (the suit was dismissed).

Lo Ka Shui's daughter (and Vincent Lo's niece), Lo Bo Lun, is listed among senior management at Great Eagle, where she "leads the global Eaton team to execute the new Eaton vision in concept, innovation, design, programming, branding, development, project openings, operations, marketing, public relations, and strategic partnerships."

Lo Bo Lun, who goes by Katherine Lo, has said her father tasked her with inventing a new hotel brand in 2014. Lo credits her "radical and progressive" American teachers for influencing "who [she] became and what [she] cares about." A trip to the notorious Burning Man festival (among other experiences) gave her the vision to open the Eaton DC hotel as a community center for progressive ideals. 

Since its 2018 opening, Katherine Lo has been the face of Eaton DC, which has been described as the "world’s first politically motivated hotel" and a "haven for Democrats," which will "weave a liberal philosophy into every aspect of the guest experience." At the Eaton location in Hong Kong, Lo plans to "replace Bibles in the nightstand drawers" with copies of the U.N.'s Universal Declaration for Human Rights. 

Guests of the Eaton DC, who now include Sharpton's Get Your Knee Off Our Necks march attendees, can enjoy Chinese-American fusion cuisine at Eaton's flagship restaurant, American Son, where a steak dinner (ribeye and shishito peppers) reportedly costs $100. 

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