It was late February 2020, as the pandemic was heating up in the United States, when a request from China caught Wisconsin state Sen. Roger Roth’s attention.
It was an email from Wu Ting, wife of the Chinese consul general in Chicago.
Wu wanted Roth to help pass a resolution “in support of China’s fight against the novel coronavirus.”
The “Chinese government has taken unprecedentedly rigorous measures to bring [the coronavirus] under control, including locking down Wuhan,” she wrote in a Feb. 26 email that has been viewed by The Epoch Times.
“We have drawn up a draft resolution just for your reference,” she wrote, adding that the Chinese consulate in Chicago was committed to promoting China–Wisconsin relations, “particularly mutually beneficial cooperation in trade, agriculture, and other fields and people-to-people links.”
The Chinese consul general looked forward to visiting Roth’s “beautiful state” and meeting with the senator to “discuss how to take our relations forward,” the email said.
Regarding the draft resolution, “In essence, it praised China for their openness and transparency in their handling of the coronavirus,” Roth told The Epoch Times.
“I thought this had to be a joke,” Roth said. “It came from a Hotmail account, of all places. It wasn’t even an official thing.” He discarded the email and thought of it no further, but Wu persisted. A few weeks later, she followed up using the same email, attaching the same resolution.
He had his staff verify the email address with state government sources and learned that Chinese consulate officials routinely use private email accounts. Wu, it turns out, is the wife of the Chinese consulate general Zhao Jian.
Once Roth realized the email was legitimate, he became “downright angry.”
“I dictated a one-word response to them, and I said: Dear Consul General, Nuts. Signed respectfully, Roger Roth,” he said. “Not only do we respond to them with the word ‘nuts,’ we even drafted our own resolution on the Communist Party of China, exposing who they really are.”
That one-word reply, a nod to Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe’s famous response to a German surrender ultimatum during World War II, was the last communication Roth had with the Chinese consulate in Chicago. Wu later wrote an email expressing shock at his response, which he never replied to. But that interaction pushed him onto the offensive in Wisconsin.
It “awakened me to the real threats that our country is facing from the Communist Party of China,” said Roth, who is running for lieutenant governor in his state.
“Most people in the world probably don’t even know where we are, if we even exist, but they are trying to reach their tentacles even into Wisconsin,” he said.
By Eva Fu