was enthusiastic about doing business in China until he got burned. His company, Dallas-based Tang Energy Group, helped electrify China’s impoverished western provinces in the 1990s. His company “actively supported China’s bid for Most Favored Nation trading status with the U.S.” and for membership in the World Trade Organization, his lawyers have noted, adding: “Scholars at the Council [on] Foreign Relations teased Jenevein about consistently seeing the best side of China. They were right.”
In legal filings, Mr. Jenevein claims his partners at a Chinese state-owned enterprise violated their contracts, poached his business, and tried to skirt the legal consequences when they got caught. “Investing in companies that the Communist Party controls or can control,” he says in an interview, “is a really bad idea.” Mr. Jenevein’s saga illustrates how the Communist Party and its state-owned enterprises use complicated networks of corporate entities to evade accountability for lawless behavior in the West and to move assets beyond the reach of the U.S. legal system.
“Texans are pulled to frontiers, for good or bad,” Mr. Jenevein, 63, says. “In the mid-’90s, China had a lot of frontier appeal. There was a lot that Chinese people needed to make their livelihoods better, and we had a chance to contribute to that.”
Mr. Jenevein worked with the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. on natural gas and electricity generation in Xinjiang and Gansu provinces. He also helped develop Chinese wind energy. HT Blade—his joint venture with the state-owned enterprise known as the Aviation Industry Corp. of China, or AVIC—became the world’s second-largest maker of wind-turbine blades.
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