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U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), along with Senators Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced the Sister City Transparency Act to create a Government Accountable Office (GAO) report on sister city partnerships in the U.S. Representative Chip Roy (R-Texas) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Sister cities exist ostensibly to promote cultural exchange and economic development. However, the Chinese Communist Party has begun using these partnerships to achieve geostrategic objectives.

“Sister city partnerships are one of Beijing’s favorite political weapons. Across the globe, Communist China has exploited these relationships, ostensibly to promote cultural exchange. The truth is that these partnerships are much more sinister and are part of the CCP’s Belt and Road Initiative to achieve geostrategic goals,” said Senator Blackburn. “It is imperative we shed light on these partnerships to determine whether they leave American communities vulnerable to foreign espionage and ideological coercion.”

“The CCP has proven time and time again that they cannot be trusted. I’m proud to co-sponsor The Sister City Transparency Act that requires additional review of our procedures to ensure we are not enabling malign foreign activity by increasing much-needed oversight,” said Senator Marshall.

“China is a threat to the United States, and we must have proper oversight and review of practices over sister city partnerships,” said Senator Tillis. “With proper insight, we can see the true nature of these partnerships and mitigate the risk of any corruption or destructive activity. I am proud to work with my colleagues on this legislation to protect our cities from any potential threat of espionage the Chinese Communist Party may impose.”

“As China continues to be the top threat to U.S. national security, we must assess the risk and increase the transparency of our sister city partnerships with Chinese cities. This bill would shed light on these partnerships, so we can counter the CCP’s growing influence and protect American communities from malign activity,”said Senator Braun.

The Sister City Transparency Act Would Order a Government Accountability Office Report To:

  • Identify the oversight practices that U.S. communities implement to mitigate the risks of foreign espionage and economic coercion within sistercity partnerships.
  • Assess the extent to which foreign communities could use sister citypartnerships to conduct malign activities, including academic and industrial espionage.
  • Review best practices to ensure transparency regarding sister citypartnerships’ agreements, activities, and employees.


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