(NewsNation) — A Michigan Senate committee approved $175 million in state funds for a Chinese manufacturer’s controversial project in Green Charter Township.
Funds were approved in a narrow vote after multiple Democratic lawmakers in Michigan’s Senate Appropriations Committee sided with Republicans. The Detroit News reported 10 yes votes came from Democrats, while no votes came from three Democratic lawmakers and six GOP senators.
Gotion Inc., whose parent company is based in China, plans to build a $2 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Green Charter Township, a rural community of about 3,200 that’s about an hour north of Grand Rapids.
Green Charter Township’s board appears to support Gotion’s plan, saying it’s a large investment that would bring more than 2,000 jobs to the area.
But residents aren’t convinced allowing the company in the area is a good idea. A recent township board meeting had to be moved outside so residents could express their dismay at the project. Some are worried because the planned factory is set to be built about 100 miles from Camp Grayling, where the Michigan National Guard is training the Taiwan military.
“This is Gotion high tech, a Communist Chinese company wiggling their way into our country into our county doing this. They don’t follow our rules. There are America’s enemy right now,” resident Ormand Hook said.
One resident, Lori Brock, told NewsNation that many nearby property owners have already agreed to sell their land to Gotion.
“This is not the way it should be,” said Block. “We’re all zoned agriculture here.”
In an interview Friday on “Elizabeth Vargas Reports,” Brock said residents are being lied to about what the jobs will pay and the company’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
“The price of the jobs has gone from $60,000 a year, to $40,000, to when we interviewed them it was more like $24 an hour, and that was with the Chinese nationals averaged in, so it’s really about $18 an hour. They are not high-paying jobs,” she said. “Anything that they’ve said hasn’t been truthful.”
One clause in Gotion’s corporate document states that the company “shall set up a party organization and carry out party activities in accordance with the constitution of the Communist Party of China.”
“The company shall ensure necessary conditions for carrying out party activities,” the document said.
Gotion recently addressed this clause at a virtual town hall.
“Has the Communist Party penetrated this company? No,” said Chuck Thelen, the company’s vice president of North American operations. “Do we have articles of incorporation that require a specific paragraph or you don’t do business in the country of China? Yes, but it’s not a corporate culture.”