Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denounced Chinese Communist Party propaganda aimed at fueling U.S. civil unrest and seeking to further divide Americans.
“The Chinese Communist Party’s callous exploitation of the tragic death of George Floyd to justify its authoritarian denial of basic human dignity exposes its true colors yet again,” Mr. Pompeo said Saturday in a statement.
“As with dictatorships throughout history, no lie is too obscene, so long as it serves the party’s lust for power. This laughable propaganda should not fool anyone.”
Chinese diplomats and state-run media outlets in recent weeks have disseminated a steady stream of reports criticizing the U.S. government and Trump administration. Officials said the Chinese propaganda attacks are aimed at fueling racial and political tensions.
The official Xinhua News Agency and Global Times, the state-run hard-line Communist Party newspaper, published numerous stories criticizing the Trump administration’s policies on minorities.
The propaganda is coming from the Chinese government, which itself is under fire for imprisoning more than 1 million Uighurs in western China and other human rights abuses.
On Sunday, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said foreign adversaries like China, Russia and Iran are seeking to exploit the unrest for propaganda goals.
“I would say to those, particularly in places like China and Russia and Iran, who may want to use this for propaganda, let’s not be absurd,” Ms. Rice said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“This is not Tiananmen Square, where you’ve mowed down people who disagreed with the government,” she added.
Ms. Rice said the United States does not need to be lectured by Russian President Vladimir Putin or Chinese President Xi Jinping about peaceful protests “when they have themselves used their own force just because people wanted to criticize the government.”
“That is not what is happening here,” she said.
Mr. Pompeo said Beijing in recent days “showcased its continuing contempt for the truth and scorn for law.”
“The CCP’s propaganda efforts — seeking to conflate the United States’ actions in the wake of the death of George Floyd with the CCP’s continued denial of basic human rights and freedom — should be seen for the fraud that they are,” he said.
“During the best of times, the PRC ruthlessly imposes communism,” he said. “Amid the most difficult challenges, the United States secures freedom.”
Mr. Pompeo noted the stark contrast between the United States and communist-ruled China.
“In China, when a church burns, the attack was almost certainly directed by the CCP,” he said, using the acronym for Chinese Communist Party. “In America, when a church burns, the arsonists are punished by the government, and it is the government that brings fire trucks, water, aid, and comfort to the faithful.”
The officially atheist government of Mr. Xi has cracked down on unofficial house churches, which often are bulldozed to prevent gatherings of worshippers.
Mr. Pompeo also said peaceful protesters in China’s Tiananmen Square and in Hong Kong get clubbed by armed militia members for simply speaking out and reporters who cover the dissent are sentenced to long prison terms.
In the United States, law enforcement authorities bring rogue officers to justice, he said, and peaceful protests are welcomed while looting and violence are shut down.
“Our free press covers events wall to wall, for all the world to see,” he said.
Also, doctors and journalists in China who warned of the dangers of the new coronavirus outbreak were silenced and imprisoned. The Beijing government also lied about death totals and the extent of the disease outbreak, Mr. Pompeo said.
“In the United States, we value life and build transparent systems to treat, cure, and underwrite — more than any other nation — pandemic solutions for the globe,” he said.
Chinese authorities imprison people who diverge from CCP ideology or place them in re-education camps, the secretary said.
The secretary of state’s comments provide the first U.S. government acknowledgment that China is among the foreign actors seeking to further inflame racial tensions in the United States.
Attorney General William Barr said last week that he had evidence of “foreign actors playing all sides to exacerbate the violence” across the country.
FBI Director Christopher Wray also said foreign elements had “set out to sow discord and upheaval.”
A U.S. official said videos posted online recently showed what appeared to be personnel from the Chinese Embassy and consulates taking direct roles in riots in Washington and California.
“It’s massive propaganda aiming to further dividing America,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There are videos potentially implicating PRC embassy and consulate officials directly involved in the riots”
One video posted online by Epoch Times shows cellphone footage of rioters near the White House and a man nearby is heard saying in Mandarin Chinese, “Go, go, hurry up, leave quickly!”
Typical of Chinese propaganda targeting the U.S. riots were the comments of Hu Xijin, editor in chief of Global Times, the ultra-nationalist party newspaper.
Mr. Hu tweeted sarcastically, “Secretary Pompeo, please stand with the angry people of Minneapolis, just like you did with people of Hong Kong.”
Mr. Hu lashed out at President Trump later in a tweet after he vowed to use force to put down the riots.
“Just three days after unrest broke out in Minnesota, Trump threatened the use of ‘shooting’ and announced the army supports the governor,” the Chinese editor stated. “I strongly condemn such threats. Please protect the people of Minnesota, just like you sympathize with Hong Kong thugs.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, compared the riots to China’s opposition to pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
“Many people may want to ask this question: Why does the U.S. refer to those Hong Kong independence and black-clad rioters as heroes and fighters but label its people protesting against racial discrimination as thugs?” Mr. Zhou said.
“Why did the U.S. have so many problems with the restrained and civilized way of law enforcement by the Hong Kong police but have no problem at all with threatening to shoot at and mobilizing the National Guard against its domestic protesters? This double-standard way of behaving is so typical of the U.S.”
Mr. Zhao angered U.S. officials recently by falsely suggesting that U.S. Army troops brought the coronavirus to China as part of a major Chinese government disinformation campaign.