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NCP Vantaa council group expels councillor linked to Chinese influence network

The council group chair said that the decision to expel the city councillor had been unanimous.

Jenni Chen-Ye was on hand to support Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to Helsinki in April 2017. Image: Kuvakaappaus Lishuin päivälehdestä

The Vantaa council group of the centre-right National Coalition Party has voted to eject a city councillor over what it described as activities that violated party values.

The councillor, Jenni Chen-Ye, was said to be active in an organisation with close ties to Beijing and its network of global influence.

The local council group said the decision followed Yle reporting revealing that Chen-Ye had been active in an association linked to the Chinese communist party's global system of influence.

"The decision was unanimous," NCP Vantaa council group chair Sakari Rokkana told Yle on Monday night.

According to Rokkanen, Chen-Ye should have disclosed her leadership role in the organisation because it directly contradicts the party's values.

Chen-Ye became a member of the Vantaa city council following municipal elections in 2017. Yle reported that during her tenure as a local government politician, Chen-Ye simultaneously had an active role in a China-linked organisation known as the Finland Association for Promoting Peaceful Reunification of China (FAPPRC).

In other words, the organisation's agenda was to promote in Finland the re-unification of China with Taiwan as part of Beijing's one-China policy.

Finns Party mum on Beijing ties

Chen-Ye was the deputy chair of the organisation, and participated in counter-demonstrations when demonstrators gathered at Helsinki's Narinkkatori last August to support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

According to Yle, she was a founding member of the group and had been active in it since 2016. She has also travelled with the organisation to the Philippines and Panama to attend international gatherings organised by Beijing.

Altogether there are about 200 local associations like the FAPPRC around the world. According to researchers, they all belong to an umbrella organisation that has become one of the major players in China's system of state influence. The member groups promote China's interests abroad and aim to suppress criticism of Beijing.

Last week Chen-Ye announced that she was resigning from the organisation. Yle's investigations also revealed that the Finns Party had party activists with connections to the Beijing-backed group.

The nationalist Finns Party did not return Yle's requests for a comment.

Yle's investigative programme MOT will consider the case on Yle TV1 from 8pm on Tuesday (in Finnish).