North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall in 2018 sought to demonstrate her support of the CCP-sponsored Confucius Institute in her state with a photo of her and the institute’s mascot, Baobao, despite increased federal scrutiny of the Chinese Communist Party’s influence in the United States.
The photo was attached to a letter from Marshall to the Confucius Institute’s Headquarters dated July 24, 2018, that recommended the Confucius Institute on North Carolina State University for an award and said:
I have attached a picture of myself with the CI’s mascot, Baobao, at a local Chinese New Year Event that CI helped to sponsor, the CAFA Chinese New Year Gala in Chapel Hill. This is a large community event that showcases the great talent we have in our communities and connects our local Chinese population.
The July 2018 letter was published in the Confucius Institute’s magazine, on page 55.