By Frank Fang
A former employee at New York’s financial regulator, who once lived in China and got a bachelor’s degree at a Chinese Communist Party-controlled university, has taken up an important position in the Biden administration.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency—a Treasury Department bureau overseeing the country’s largest banks and federal savings associations—has named Dr. Yue (Nina) Chen as the agency’s first “climate cop” or chief climate risk officer, according to a Sept. 12 press release.
Her responsibility is to guide the bureau to “focus on the development and implementation of climate risk management frameworks for the federal banking system.”
She will report to Acting Comptroller Michael J. Hsu, who said in the press release that Chen is “an asset” to the bureau given her “background and experience in both finance and climate-related financial risk.”
Chen replaces Jonathan Fink, who assumed the responsibility in an acting capacity in March while also serving as senior advisor to Hsu.
Chen obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from China’s Tsinghua University in 2000, and later did a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Tsinghua University is funded by the Chinese regime’s Ministry of Education and supervised by the State Administration of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND), a defense industry agency for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
According to Canberra-based think tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), Tsinghua University conducts “defense research,” including areas such as air-to-air missiles and artificial intelligence, and the school is home to several defense-focused laboratories.
The Pentagon also highlighted Tsinghua University in its 2020 report, noting how the university has ties to the CCP’s military-civil fusion strategy, which allows the communist regime to leverage commercial technologies for military development.
The CCP controls Tsinghua University through the school’s party committee, which is headed by its party secretary Qiu Yong, who in July reminded students and teachers in a speech about the importance of being “loyal to the Party.”
Tsinghua University, like many universities and colleges in China, has its own “United Front Work” office, which is part of the CCP’s sprawling bureaucracy headed by the United Front Work Department, a powerful Party agency.
According to a 2020 ASPI report, the Department coordinates thousands of groups to carry out foreign political influence operations, suppress dissident movements, gather intelligence, and facilitate the transfer of technology to China.
The Washington Free Beacon first reported on Chen’s educational background in China.
Before taking on her new post, Chen worked for over two years at the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), according to her LinkedIn profile. In May 2020, she became the first-ever sustainability and climate initiatives director at DFS, before she served as the inaugural executive deputy superintendent at DFS’s climate Division in November 2021.
From 2014 until February 2020, she worked at the U.S.-based environmental organization Nature Conservancy.
“Nina’s long-term interest in conservation dates back to her childhood living near the woods in a small town in southern China,” according to a biography posted on Rutgers University’s website.
However, Chen started off her career in the finance sector, working at Goldman Sachs’s asset management business, the Royal Bank of Canada, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group.