Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in 2018. (Photo by Andy Wong/AFP via Getty Images)
(CNSNews.com) – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday characterized China as a malign world actor, blaming the “repressive regime” for the spread of the coronavirus, aggressive behavior towards neighboring countries, and human rights abuses at home.
In remarks at the State Department guaranteed to draw a sharp reaction from China’s prickly state media and foreign ministry officials, Pompeo aimed his criticism at the very top of the Chinese Communist Party hierarchy.
In reference to deadly clashes along the disputed China-India border, for example, Pompeo argued that China’s “incredibly aggressive action” should be viewed “in the context of General Secretary Xi Jinping and his behavior throughout the region, and indeed, throughout the world.”
Elsewhere, he condemned the recent detention of prominent law professor Xu Zhangrun, who he said had been targeted “for criticizing General Secretary Xi Jinping’s repressive regime and the CCP’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
And towards the end of the press briefing, Pompeo again mentioned the Chinese president by name as he voiced confidence that many across the world were becoming aware of the CCP’s “true colors,” and would respond accordingly.
“I am convinced more than ever that the free peoples of the world will come to understand the threat that’s presented, not only internally inside of China, but importantly, that the impact that General Secretary Xi has on the world is not good for free peoples and democracy-loving peoples,” he said.
Pompeo took the CCP to task over its:
— Imposition of a national security law in Hong Kong, viewed by critics as designed to crack down on pro-democracy dissent.
–Policies in Xinjiang province, where minority Muslims are subjected to mass incarceration in re-education camps, and where recent reports have alleged a deliberate campaign of coerced sterilizations of women of child-bearing age.
–Vetoing (with Russia) of yet another U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria, this one aimed at extending cross-border humanitarian aid deliveries.
–Instigation of boundary and maritime disputes with neighbors, including India and now Bhutan on land, and Japan, Vietnam, and others in the East China and South China seas. “There aren’t many neighbors that could satisfactorily say that they know where their sovereignty ends and that the Chinese Communist Party will respect that sovereignty,” he said.
–Failure to come clean about the origins of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan late last year. “They’re afraid that the truth will be something that will not shine a happy light on what took place, and so instead they chose to hide and obfuscate and deny basic truth, basic scientific truths about what took place,” he charged.
‘Cooking up political lies’
Pompeo also referred to long-standing concerns relating to Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property. He quoted FBI Director Christopher Wray as saying in a speech on Tuesday that controversial Chinese tech giant Huawei is “a serial intellectual property thief, with a pattern and practice of disregarding both the rule of law and the rights of its victims.”
Wray’s speech at the Hudson Institute was a sweeping indictment of damaging CCP activity, including what he described as information and IP “theft on a scale so massive that it represents one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history.”
Beijing has yet to react to Pompeo’s no-holds-barred remarks, but the foreign ministry did respond earlier to Wray’s speech.
Spokesman Zhao Lijian told a briefing it was regrettable that U.S. foreign policy has been “kidnapped by FBI officials like Wray and other anti-China forces,” and accused administration officials of “cooking up political lies day after day.”
“The words of some U.S. officials are full of political lies in negligence of basic facts, exposing their deep-seated Cold-War mindset and ideological bias,” he said. “Certain U.S. politicians have been tarnishing China’s image and painting China as a threat with false accusations in an attempt to shift the blame and cover up their own problems. However, their intention will not lead to any result as it is seen through by the whole world.”
Although Zhao did not mention Pompeo by name on this occasion, he has frequently berated him in recent months. Last week he called Pompeo “a brazen liar” in connection with the Xinjiang sterilization claims, and earlier he advised the secretary of state to “stop poking his nose into China’s internal affairs,” in the context of Hong Kong.
Zhao is the foreign ministry spokesman who used his Twitter feed last March to promote a conspiracy theory accusing the U.S. Army of introducing the coronavirus to Wuhan in the fall of 2019.
Pompeo said Wednesday that Wray’s speech will be followed by two more in the coming days, first by Attorney General Bill Barr and then by himself, both focusing on the CCP threat.