Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed legislators at the Wisconsin State Capitol Wednesday urging them to remain cautious of the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to influence American institutions.
“We’re fighting to protect our wallets, our hearts, our minds, and our freedoms,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo’s visit, which he called “diplomatic business,” comes after Wu Ting, a consul at China’s consulate in Chicago asked Wisconsin Senate President Roger Roth to issue a resolution “praising China’s response to the coronavirus.”
Pompeo praised Roth’s skeptical dismissal of the email and passage of a resolution announcing that “the Communist Party of China deliberately and intentionally misled the world on the Wuhan Coronavirus,” but also warned legislators to be on guard against the lies of the CCP.
“The Chinese Communist Party knew how virulent the coronavirus was that originated in Wuhan. They censored and disappeared courageous whistleblowers and journalists who tried to sound the alarm. They allowed people from Wuhan to travel abroad,” Pompeo explained.
According to Pompeo, however, Ting’s attempt to push Chinese propaganda on a state legislature is not isolated. He cited examples such as a New York Police Department officer with close familial ties to the Chinese Communist Party who was arrested last week on charges of acting as an illegal agent of China and feeding sensitive information back to the CCP.
It is examples like these, Pompeo warned, that show the CCP’s persistence to infiltrate and undermine American institutions.
“The CCP thinks it can drown out American cries for accountability with shouts of racism. It wants to foment the kind of strife we’ve seen in Minneapolis, and Portland, and Kenosha. That’s disgusting. We can’t let that happen,” Pompeo said.
In addition to the CCP’s meddling in local government, Pompeo warned against the CCP’s attacks against American business and universities, encouraging legislators to crack down on enacting IP security, “engage with free and democratic Taiwan,” and examine state pension funds that might be connected to Chinese surveillance.
While Pompeo clarified that not all Chinese citizens or Chinese-Americans are working with the CCP, he urged legislators to be cautious when approached by Chinese diplomats claiming that “it is likely not in the spirit of cooperation, or friendship” and that they should question any offers of trips to China.
“They want you to believe that America’s righteous anger at the CCP over its handling of the coronavirus has something to do with race. It does not. It has everything to do with citizens who are no longer with us, the children who aren’t able to go back to school, and jobs that have been lost,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo also assured the legislature that while they need to be on guard against the CCP, the Trump Administration has taken major steps in counteracting the CCP’s attempts to spread its influence in the U.S.
“There is a bipartisan consensus in Washington of the challenges from the Chinese Communist Party. I say that because what the Trump administration has tried to do is, is for the first time take on this challenge in a serious way,” Pompeo said.
“Beijing’s best-laid plans are no match for American determination. The Trump administration rejects the idea Beijing is destined for hegemony. No top-down totalitarian regime can ever best the ingenuity, will, and power of the American people,” he added.