FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – Governor Gavin Newsom opened a week-long trip to China on Monday with an assurance that his state will always be a partner on climate issues no matter how the U.S. presidential election turns out next year.

But California’s GOP Congressional delegation, which includes Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. David Valadao, have reservations about Governor Gavin Newsom talking to Chinese officials – or even being in China – due to what they say are “gross violations of human rights” by the Communist Chinese Party.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s visit comes as U.S.-Chinese relations witnessed a sharp deterioration in recent years due to trade disputes, U.S. support for self-governing Taiwan, and human rights concerns, among other contentious issues.

Newsom’s visit is described as “wholly focused on climate” letting federal partners deal with federal issues, such as alleged human rights violations in China. According to the letter, the California GOP Congressional delegation is calling Newsom to cancel his trip amid those allegations.

“Federalism should not serve as an excuse for you to avoid having difficult conversations about the Communist Chinese Party’s (CCP) gross violations of human rights and documented genocide of ethnic minorities,” the representatives stated in the letter.

“We believe that it would be an affront to California if you engage with these officials and fail to raise issues such as the genocide of minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, transnational repression of dissidents, and other gross violations of human rights.”

California’s GOP congressional delegation

As part of the visit, Newsom says he will visit the first Chinese city to deploy an all-electric bus fleet, tour an offshore wind facility and see Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory. He will sign agreements with leaders of various Chinese provinces to set mutual commitments on a host of climate goals.

Newsom’s agenda also includes conversations on “strengthening cultural ties and combating xenophobia,” and promoting economic development and tourism.

Asked if the only way to make progress on climate matters with China is not to mention human rights issues, Newsom denied the tradeoff, saying “we can do many things at once.”