|Date of death:||2014|
|Place of death:||China|
|Cause of death:||Execution|
|Played by:||Terry Chen|
|Appears in:||1 season, 5 episodes|
Xander Feng was a Chinese businessman and close associate of Raymond Tusk.
Back channel to the U.S.—China economic summit
Meeting VP Underwood at the behest of Tusk in May 2014 in Virginia's Spotsylvania County, Feng discussed upcoming economic project proposals between the US and China as part of back-channeling efforts to the US—China economic summit that was simultaneously going on in D.C. Underwood saw his participation at this Tusk-arranged back channel as another opportunity to loosen Tusk's grip on the President.
First item on the list, a rare earth elements refinery in China that the Chinese government had been keen to offer to Tusk as a 40-year lease, went off without a problem as it was a foregone conclusion that Tusk's company Clayton West would be winning the contract though Underwood warned Fang that the process would have to be opened up to official bidding for external appearances purposes. Second item was the Port Jefferson Bridge linking Port Jefferson, New York and Milford, Connecticut over the Long Island Sound — a project of major importance to the President's domestic agenda efforts of reducing the deficit — which the U.S. government's Committee on Foreign Investment had been planning to let a Chinese company build in return for a 25-year toll collecting contract. Expecting another easy item, VP Underwood was very much taken aback when Fang informed him that the Chinese side was prepared to kill the bridge project unless U.S. continues its currency manipulation lawsuit against China in front of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Figuring that the Chinese government's potential end to interventionist yuan (¥) foreign exchange policies could free up interest rates and reduce inflation in China, all of which both Feng and Tusk would profit from, Underwood was doubtful as to whether Feng's request for the U.S. to keep on with its WTO suit was really coming from the Chinese government or it was just Fang's own self-serving ploy (and by proxy Tusk's). Underwood figured Feng may very well have some support within the Chinese establishment for his open currency efforts, but also figured the Chinese Standing Committee to be divided over this issue. In any case, as a way of throwing a wrench into Feng's and Tusk's potential plans, Underwood decided on the spot not to relay Feng's original request to Secretary of State Cathy Durant in D.C. at the official summit, but to relay the exact opposite — that the Chinese won't do the bridge project unless the WTO suit is dropped — knowing the U.S. would immediately drop the suit as a result because the bridge was a priority one item for the President. Stamper expressed concern that the summit could be thrown into chaos should the Chinese delegation feel its hand is being forced by either Feng or the U.S. side, but Underwood was unwavering. And just to further keep Feng and Tusk off balance, he also decided to have Stamper immediately leak the information of U.S. dropping its WTO suit along with a hint that the info is coming from a person on the Chinese side close to the summit negotiations (knowing the Chinese press would likely connect that description to Feng) to someone from the gathered press pool as soon as Durant has presented it at the summit.
The info promptly got leaked to Ayla Sayyad and the story about the U.S. dropping its WTO suit appeared in the Wall Street Telegraph's online edition almost immediately. It subsequently also got picked up by Chinese press, which named Feng explicitly while hailing the decision as a Chinese victory. Unhappy at the way the events are unfolding, Feng first talked to Tusk, informing his business partner that VP Underwood hasn't relayed their message to Secretary of State accurately. That night, Feng and VP's chief of staff Doug Stamper met in tense circumstances. Stamper openly mentioned to Feng that the fact VP Underwood doubts his legitimacy is the reason his message hasn't been relayed to D.C. properly. Angry and passively aggressive Feng reacted by doubling down — directly telling Stamper to pass on the message that the bridge project is dead unless the WTO suit is reintroduced before warning Stamper (and by proxy Underwood) that should the message not be delivered properly this time, he would simply bypass Underwood completely, reminding them this back channel had been arranged by Raymond Tusk in the first place.
Stamper told Underwood of Feng's request of reintroducing the WTO suit, but once again, Underwood decided not to relay it to Washington, choosing instead to stay silent on it completely and concentrate on the bridge itself, interested to see how the official Chinese delegation at the summit would react the next day to the official announcement that the suit is dropped. By observing the official Chinese attitude towards to the bridge project, Underwood was also hoping to determine if Feng was bluffing when he said the bridge would be dead if the WTO suit is not reintroduced.
Fully prepared and expecting to take a bullet that could come from any direction due to the chaos his ploy has caused already, Underwood got summoned the next day to a teleconference with the President, Tusk, and Secretary Durant on the other side of the line. Furious that the Chinese side has now decided to take the bridge project off the table in reaction to the announcement of the WTO suit being dropped, President wanted the project back on the table by any means necessary and was completely dumbfounded as to why the Chinese have decided to remove it from the summit agenda when their back-channeled request through Feng has been met. Things looked even worse for Underwood when Tusk mentioned talking to Feng who accused Underwood of not relaying his message accurately. Underwood now went into full defense mode, dismissing Feng's words to Tusk as Feng's own business agenda slipping through as he stands to profit from open Chinese currency, before feigning outrage that his truthfulness is even being questioned and convincingly lying to the President he had relayed every word of Feng's request accurately, and finally even appealing to the President along the lines of "who do you believe more - your own vice-president or some corrupt Chinese businessman", which seemed to be enough for the President to dismiss Feng's accusation and become convinced of Underwood's version that Feng was attempting to play them all telling Underwood one thing and a completely different one to Tusk. However, the President was still none the wiser about why the Chinese have decided to take the bridge project off the table, with Underwood's suggestion that it's just negotiations leverage getting mild approval. The President made an on-the-spot decision to end all back-channeling for the time being, ordering both Underwood and Tusk to stop talking to Feng until the bridge project is back on the table.
Despite now being under direct orders from the President about stopping further back channeling efforts with Feng, Frank wanted to meet with the Chinese businessman again. They did so at night in the Spotsylvania woods right on the spot where Frank's grandfather's grandfather died, managing to pull the meeting off under the guise of paying respects to his confederate ancestor. At the unorthodox meeting, Feng tried to convince Underwood not to work against him, which Frank took as a request to submit to Feng and Tusk. When Feng asked the vice president to stop sabotaging the negotiations, Underwood countered by accusing Feng of using them for his own personal ends. Feng protested greatly, adding it took him seven years to convince the Standing Committee that open, free-flowing currency is the right course of action, which Frank deflated by reminding him that such course of action will also earn billions to Feng and Tusk. Now clearly irritated, Feng wondered why Underwood even arranged this meeting when all he's doing is attacking him. Underwood answered he arranged it to send a message to Raymond Tusk that the President and the Vice President are not his puppets. Feng barked back that the bridge deal is now dead and there would be no saving it, which Frank took in stride cynically answering he won't shed a tear. Reminded by Feng that the President will ascribe the failure to him, Underwood further shook it off saying he'll take on that risk. Frank now took the initiative, as the conversation devolved into veiled threats vie bringing up the manner in which Grant defeated Lee. Upon Feng's suggestion that he and Tusk have great resources at their disposal, aggressive Frank barked back saying "add up all your billions together and you get the GDP of Slovakia, I have the federal government of the United States of America, your money doesn't intimidate me, most that you can buy is influence, but I wield constitutional authority". The meeting ended in great acrimony.
Next day on a three-way call with Tusk and the President, Tusk confronted Frank with the fact he met Feng despite President's orders not to do so. Frank lied, denying meeting Feng and countering by asking Tusk why he communicated with Feng when he had also been under the same orders. Tusk said Feng reached out to him and he picked up. Getting more and more disappointed at what he's hearing, exasperated President directed a veiled suggestion at Frank that months of back channeling and clear prearranged terms are being messed up here to which Underwood answered that "we're dealing with a regime that is not being forthright and will seize upon the faintest whiff of trepidation", imploring the President "not to play their game" and end the talks. Tusk was completely against this, saying the economic fallout would be catastrophic, which Frank used to question Tusk's allegiances. Angered by Frank's suggestion, Tusk angrily barked back at which point the President stepped in, relaying his disappointment in both men, adding the whole thing was a mistake - both allowing Tusk to enlist one of his business partners for these talks as well as enlisting Frank who delivered "miscommunication instead of clarity and poor diplomacy". President then decided to pull out of the trade talks with China, addressing Frank specifically that it wasn't because he suggested it, but because he made such a mess of these negotiations that he had no other choice but a show of strength. He then hung up on both of them, prompting rattled Tusk to admit to Frank that was the first time in 20 years Garret's hung up on him.
After the resignation of President Garrett Walker, Feng's immunity was rescinded by President Frank Underwood in exchange for a mutual retreat between the US Navy and the Chinese Navy. Feng was escorted away by US Federal Marshals, and presumably executed for corruption after his extradition to China.