The story of the founder of the Florida massage parlor implicated in human trafficking just kept getting more and more interesting, in a very Trump-era way, over the weekend. First we learned that Li Yang, who goes by Cindy, attended Republican events, fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago, and even attended Trump’s Super Bowl party at his Florida golf club. Turned out, that wasn’t all. Yang had been selling access, connecting Chinese business leaders with U.S. lawmakers—and using pictures of herself with members of the Trump family to show that she could provide that access. But it gets better.
Yang isn’t just selling access to Chinese business leaders. She has ties to the Chinese government, too, Mother Jones reported on Sunday. Yang has leadership roles in two groups linked to the Chinese government—she’s involved in the Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China and the Chinese Association of Science and Technology—and she’s also the founder of another nonprofit that “promotes ‘economic and cultural exchange’ between China and the West in coordination with ‘senior…Chinese leaders’ in the United States.” As one national security expert tweeted, “Our intel community has said China poses one of the most significant counterintelligence challenges—my money is on the Chinese Govt having at least picked up on [Yang’s] access if they didn’t direct it.”
What’s more representative of the Trump era than this? The founder of a massage parlor that, after she sold it, got busted for prostitution, with one of its clients being billionaire Robert Kraft, a close Donald Trump friend, connecting Chinese business people with Republican lawmakers … for a price … while connected to the Chinese government, which is currently eating Trump’s lunch on trade and other international issues.