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The Sun finally corrects its false story about us

Update: Today The Sun newspaper finally printed a correction to its January 31 story which included false and damaging statements about FaithInvest. It conceded that the events described in the story could not have involved FaithInvest as we were not set up until two years later. .
January 31: FaithInvest's response to the Sun newspaper's false allegations

A story appeared today in The Sun, a UK tabloid newspaper, which contains serious and damaging inaccuracies about FaithInvest.

Headlined 'Chinese intelligence officers infiltrated a charity set up by the late Prince Philip’, the story alleges that Chinese spies ’teamed up with’ or ‘joined forces with’ FaithInvest to gain access to His Royal Highness The Prince Philip.

It states: 'Chinese intelligence officers infiltrated a charity set up by the late Prince Philip. They wheedled their way into FaithInvest to conduct operations and buy influence…

'Agents teamed up with the charity to meet the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle. The agents… joined forces with FaithInvest and last sent a delegation to the Palace in 2017.'

FaithInvest condemns the story in the strongest terms. It is riddled with gross and damaging inaccuracies. The facts:

  1. FaithInvest was not set up by Prince Philip.

  2. FaithInvest did not even exist at the time of the 2017 visit to Buckingham Palace mentioned in The Sun story. We registered as a company in March 2019 and achieved charity status in December 2019. It is therefore not only totally inaccurate but entirely scurrilous to suggest that Chinese agents ‘wheedled their way into FaithInvest’.

  3. The charity through which representatives of the China Daoist Association met Prince Philip in 2017 was the Alliance of Religions and Conservation – founded by Prince Philip and Martin Palmer (now Founding President and Interim CEO of FaithInvest).

  4. In fact FaithInvest has never taken a delegation of any visitors to the Palace, as claimed in The Sun story.

The Sun story suggests that Chinese intelligence agents have been operating through the China Daoist Association. While The Sun's story says there is no suggestion that either Prince Philip or Mr Palmer 'knew that the group had been compromised', or that any of the China Daoist Association officials who visited the Palace were, in fact, spies, the reason for their allegations appears to be that, like all religious groups in China, the CDA comes under the control of a government ministry called the United Front Work Department.

Martin Palmer said: 'Frankly, I find it laughable that Daoist religious leaders, who've spent years studying their faith at Daoist temples, are described as agents of the Chinese state – it doesn't seem a very efficient way of organising your spying.

'It is true that all religious groups in China fall under a government ministry called the United Work Front Department. They don't have any choice in the matter. Since the 8th century AD, all religious institutions in China have officially come under a government ministry because the Chinese government knows that faiths can be both a great driver of social cohesion and engagement and also a source of opposition and dissent – and that tension remains today.

'But my experience of working with the China Daoist Association is that they are exactly what they say they are – Daoist religious leaders who have led the way in China when it comes to faiths taking action on the environment.

'I have worked with Daoist, Buddhist and Christian groups in China on environmental issues since the early 1990s through ARC, and now am working with them on faith-consistent investment through FaithInvest. The China Daoist Association has played a major role in discussions on faiths and ecology, both in China and within Chinese communities around the world. That is why Prince Philip, who founded ARC, met the Daoists on a number of occasions.

’FaithInvest's mission is to work with all faith groups to grow the movement of faith-consistent investing, for the benefit of people and planet. The China Daoist Association was one of the groups that set out its investment principles in the Zug Guidelines, published in 2017. I am proud to work with the China Daoist Association, as I am to work with all faith groups trying to make the world a better place.'


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