The February 20, 2020 Speaker will be Benny Zhang - Councilman, City of Williamsburg

Benming "Benny" Zhang was elected at age 21 to the City of Williamsburg Council, as the first Chinese American, the youngest, and the second William & Mary student to the body. Currently, he continues to serve on the city council while attending his last year at William and Mary Law school with an offer to join Kaufman & Canoles, P.C. thereafter. He has experience in the areas of legal research and writing, brand management, real estate & land use strategies, program coordination and execution, government affairs, employee management, communications, and budgeting. He was first elected in 2016. He received his BA from William and Mary also.

In 2018, he was appointed to the Virginia Transit Association and then appointed to be Vice President of the association, that provides support and public advocacy for public transportation throughout Virginia.

He also is a member of the Board for Literacy For Life, The Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance Business Council, and the Greater Peninsula Workforce Board. CARMA has asked him to provide an update on the "hot" issues in the City at this time.

The January 16, 2020 Speaker was Andy Baan, Attorney.


Andy Baan was an active Republican Candidate for Congress. His involvement in both civic and outreach activities is extensive. His website offers multiple pages of items where he is involved. He has been asked to discuss and make remarks to CARMA on international relations, specifically with China and their economy.

Andy began his speech with a short history of China and the founding of communism back as early as the beginning of the building of the Great Wall. He discussed the early teachings of Mao Zedong, and Chang Kaishek, and his Rule of the Communist Party of China. He followed up with discussion of the policies of Xi Jinping who has installed himself as the General Secretary of the Party, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Party President. The control of the population methods and the analogy to the manor in which Hitler treated the Germans were discussed.

The use of cameras and GPS like services to control the population, especially the weaker population as well as a social ranking system that determines what social privileges each person has available was mentioned. Even to the tactic of selecting those who will lead the various religions that are allowed top practive within the country. Stated military growth is about 6%, but there is no available documentation with which to base this figure other than for the announcement of it. The Social Grading of Citizens to determine who is a better communist, also is used to determine who has social privileges such as travel. Who could take a plane trip was used as an example.

He discussed the trade wars with countries, and how the government sets the exchange rate (value) of the Chinese Yuan. The manipulation of the currency rates have lead many countries into China favorable exchange rates where their raw materials are turned into products in China and then sold back at highly inflated prices. While trade agreements in the past have always been subject to yuan value manipulation he believes the new agreement with the USA that Trump has just announced has provisions to predertime the yuan exchange rate as they are obligated to purchase 200 billion in goods and materials. There continues to be the ongoing issue of intellectual property right for the various manufacturing items.

Mr. Baan then discussed the Taiwan situation which they do not recognize as an independent country, the Indian border issue, Hong Kong and their protests. Hong Kong specifically is more and more protesting communist rule as they were a British colony where they had government which was ruling them in a more relaxed and socially hands off method versus China. China's interference with Hong Kong elections has touched off protests.

Andy spoke specifically about the Debt traps that China is able to place on many smaller countries whereby they loan money or build infrastructure for the country and because the country cannot pay the increased costs due to yuan manipulations, then takes ownership of creates a 99 year lease which continues to draw large sums of money. He mentioned a number of countries who are caught in this debt cycle.

China's industrial espionage for manufacturing and technology secrets is huge, and it is run by the central government as many countries use China for manufacture of goods in order to avail them selves of cheap labor. The taking of the technology has formed the Confuscion Institute which is primarily focused on the taking of the technology from other countries such as the USA, Germany, etc.

Andy Baan utilized a slide show to make his points, and has been asked to provide that to CARMA. When it is, it will be attached to this summary.