Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at the National Governors Association’s winter meeting on Saturday where he told governors to be on the look out for communist Chinese officials trying to infiltrate and affect state and local level politics.
” While there are still places we can cooperate, we can’t ignore China’s activities and strategic intentions. If we do, we risk the important components of our relationship that advantage both countries ,” Pompeo said.” The Chinese Government has been methodical in the way it’s analyzed our system, our very open system, one that we’re deep proud of. It’s assessed our vulnerabilities, and it’s decided to exploit our liberties to gain advantage over us at the federal grade, the country degree, and the local level .”
” What China does in Topeka and Sacramento reverberates in Washington, in Beijing, and far beyond. Competition with China is happening. It’s happening in your government ,” Pompeo continued.” In reality, I would be surprised if the majority of members of you in the audience has still not been lobbied by the Chinese Communist Party immediately. Chinese Communist Party friendship organizations like the one that I referenced earlier are in Richmond, Minneapolis, Portland, Jupiter, Florida, and many other metropolis all over the country .”
” But sometimes China’s activities aren’t quite that public, and I want to talk about some of that today. Let me spoke you an excerpt of a note from a Chinese diplomat. It was China’s Consul General in New York sent a letter last month to the speaker of one of your commonwealth legislatures ,” Pompeo continued.” Think about that. You had a diplomat from China ascribed here to the United States, one speaking on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party in New York City, sending an official letter urging that an American elected official shouldn’t exercise his right to freedom of speech. Let that sink in for only a time. And this isn’t a one-off event. It’s happening all across the country .”
Pompeo also highlighted how communist China was trying to shape the U.S. though the educational system, and how it works to steal sensitive info from U.S. institutions to can be taken to China.
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Thank you, Governor Hogan, Governor Cuomo. Nice to see you.
It’s great to be here with you all. I was watching basketball on my phone on the way in- Auburn 91, LSU 90- and I- it’s a final in overtime. Yes, precisely. I was reminded – you said I’m the 70 th Secretary of State. It ever reminds me President Trump is the 45 th President of the United Government, so there is a lot more turnover in my gig than there is in his.( Laughter .) So it’s good to be with you today.
I do want to thank Governor Hogan and the evil chair, Governor Cuomo, and everyone else here at NGA for hosting me here today.
It’s a hard act to follow, following the President’s State of the Union address the other night. I had not yet been honours of liberty to distribute here today.
Nor am I passing out transcripts, so you can’t tear them up when I’m done.( Laughter .)
I’ve gotten to know some of you as I’ve traveled throughout the states. I’ve probably traveled inside the country more than many secretaries of state. It’s something they usually don’t do so much better. I think it’s important that the American people are aware that our diplomats are doing around the world and why we’re doing it.
So I just wanted to mention that if you visualize me in your commonwealth, I’m not lost. Your state has not seceded from the union. I know where I am.
Although I know there are some folks in California who are clamoring for “Calexit, ” so President Newsom, I look forward to working with Secretary of State Feinstein when that comes to be.( Laughter .)
I can get away with California jokes. I grew up in southern California. My dad still lives in the same house I grown up in in Orange County. It’s a wonderful place.
Last year, I received an invitation to an event that promised to be, mention, “an occasion for exclusive deal-making.” It said, mention, “the opportunities for mutually beneficial economic growing between China and our individual states[ are] immense, ” end of quote.
Deal-making sounds like it might have come from President Trump, but the summon was actually from a former governor.
I was being invited to the U.S.-China Governors’ Collaboration Summit.
It was an event co-hosted by the National Governors Association and something called the Chinese People’s Association For Friendship and Foreign Countries. Tone fairly harmless.
What the invitation did not say is that the group- different groups I just mentioned- is the public face of the Chinese Communist Party’s official foreign affect agency, the United Front Work Department.
Now, I was lucky. I was familiar with that organisation from my occasion as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
But it got me thinking.
How many of you attained the connections between that group and Chinese Communist Party officials?
What if you made a brand-new friend while you were at that event?
What if your new friend asked you for prefaces to other politically connected and powerful people?
What if your brand-new friend offered to invest big money in your government, perhaps in your pension, in industries sensitive to our national security?
These aren’t hypotheticals. These scenarios are far too true-blue, and they impact American foreign policy significantly.
Indeed, last year, a Chinese Government-backed think tank in Beijing produced a report that assessed all 50 of America’s governors on their attitudes towards China. They labeled each of you “friendly, ” “hardline, ” or “ambiguous.”
I’ll let you decide where you think you belong. Someone in China already has. Many of you, indeed, in that report are referenced by name.
So here’s the lesson: The lesson is that competition with China is not just a federal issue. It’s why I wanted to be here today, Governor Hogan. It’s happening in your nations with consequences for our foreign policy, for their fellow citizens that reside in your countries, and indeed, for each of you.
And, in fact, whether you are viewed by the CCP as friendly or hardline, know that it’s working you, know that it’s working the team around you.
Competition with China is happening inside of your government, and it affects our capacity to perform America’s vital national security functions.
I want to set the context today for this topic.
At the end of the Cold War, America started to engage with China heavily. It made good sense. We thought that the more we interacted, the more it would become like a liberal democracy, like us here in the United States.
It didn’t happen, and you all know this.
Indeed, under Xi Jinping, the country is moving precisely in the opposite direction- more repression, more unfair competition, more predatory economic rules; indeed, a most aggressive military posture as well.
You should know this doesn’t mean we can’t do business with China. I had an operation when I ran Century International. We had a small office in Shanghai. We can find homes to cooperate when our own interest converge.
You can see that in the first part of the trade bargain that President Trump got done, signed last month.
We’re happy about that. It was the right thing to do. That was indeed a deal that was good for both the United Commonwealth and China. And these economic ties are powerful. They’re important and good. They’re good for your state; they’re good for America.
Look at the nearly 18 tons of medical supplyings the United States just flew to China this past week to help fight the coronavirus. Yesterday we announced more than $ 100 million in assistance to China and the countries that are affected by that virus.
And on that note, too, I just wanted to take just a moment to note I want to send my condolences to the loved ones of the United Commonwealth citizen who fell victim to the coronavirus in Wuhan over the last days.
But while there are regions we can cooperate, we can’t ignore China’s activities and strategic intentions. If we do, we risk the important components of our relationship that advantage both countries.
The Chinese Government has been methodical in the way it’s analyzed our structure, our very open system, one that we’re deep proud of. It’s assessed our vulnerabilities, and it’s decided to exploit our freedoms to gain advantage over us at the federal tier, the nation degree, and the local level.
Last year, I announced that I would give a series of speeches on China, and this is part of that. It’s the context in which state and local government officials ought to think about the course they produce with respect to our relationship. It’s important. China matters.
It’s been part of my mission at the State Department to mobilize all parts of the United Government Government. I was out in Silicon Valley a couple weeks ago to talk to America’s conducting tech companies about this very set of issues.
And I use your help, too.
What China does in Topeka and Sacramento sounds in Washington, in Beijing, and far beyond. Competition with China is happening. It’s happening in your state.
In fact, I would be surprised if most of you in the audience has still not been lobbied by the Chinese Communist Party directly.
Chinese Communist Party friendship organizations like the one that I referenced earlier are in Richmond; Minneapolis; Portland; Jupiter, Florida; and many other metropolis around the country.
But sometimes China’s activities aren’t quite that public, and I want to talk about some of that today. Let me read you an excerpt of a letter from a Chinese official. It was China’s Consul General in New York sent a letter last month to the speaker of one of your state legislatures.
Here’s what the note said in part. It said, quote, “As we all know, Taiwan is part of China … evaded engaging in any official contact with Taiwan, including direct congratulatory messages to the electeds, introducing invoices and proclamations for the election, transmitting officials and representatives to attend the inauguration ceremony, and inviting officials in Taiwan to visit the United States.” End of mention from the letter.
Think about that. You had a diplomat from China assigned here to the United Commonwealth, one speaking on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party in New York City, sending an official letter exhort that an American elected official shouldn’t exercise his right to freedom of speech.
Let that sink in for merely a minute.
And this isn’t a one-off event. It’s happening all across the country.
Chinese consulates in New York, in Illinois, in Texas, and two in California, bound by the diplomatic responsibilities and rights of the Vienna Convention, are very politically active at the state degree, as is the embassy right here in Washington, D.C.
Maybe some of you have heard about the time when the Chinese consulate paid the UC-San Diego students to protest the Dalai Lama.
Or last-place August, when former governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi received a letter from a diplomat in the consul’s office in Houston, threatening to cancel a Chinese investment if the governor chose to travel to Taiwan. Phil travelled anyway.
Last year, a high school- a high school, a high school in Chicago- disinvited a Taiwanese representative to serve on a climate panel after Chinese pressure.
It’s one thing to pressure the Secretary of State of the United Commonwealth of America. It seems quite something else to go after a high school principal. It evidences profundity. It demonstrates systemization. It shows intent.
Chinese Communist Party officials, too, are fostering relationships with county school board members and neighbourhood politicians- often through what are known as sister metropolitans programs.
Look, this Chinese competitor is something you all know. It sits in the back of your psyche. But you have many duties and you are busy people. But this competitor is under way. And while these might seem like neighbourhood matters to some, the cumulative effect is of enormous national importance and international significance.
Of course, too, our public educational institutions are another arena of rival with China.
I know, governors, you don’t move these institutions on a day-to-day basis, but you often have impact on the people that do. The FBI director and I envisage the Attorney general, too, talked yesterday about something called the “Thousand Talents Plan.” It’s a plan to recruit scientists and profs to transfer the know-how we have here to China in exchange for immense paydays.
The program has probably targeted campuses in your country. Indeed, the Department of Justice has indicted professors in my home state at the University of Kansas and at Virginia Tech and at Harvard.
A Texas A& M investigation reportedly discovered more than 100 professors participating in Chinese talent recruitment designs. Only five of them had declared that they were participating in this program.
And goodness knows what else we have not discovered.
There are indeed highly credible reported cases of Chinese Government officials pressuring Chinese students- students studying right here in the United Country of America- to monitor fellow Chinese students and to report back to Beijing.
One very prominent pro-democracy Chinese student on a college campus in the Northeast last year received death threats- death threats for exerting his right to free speech. The FBI became involved.
Make no mistake about it: We crave talented, young Chinese students to come study in the United Government of America. I see it at Wichita State University. These are wonderful young people. We ought to encourage them to be here. But they shouldn’t have to fear the long arm of Beijing, which are frequently reaches out via groups like the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.
Look, that’s just one of many campus groups immediately influenced by the Chinese Communist Party and its representatives right here in the United States.
Many of you are familiar with Confucius Institutes. Confucius Institutes purport to have the sole purpose of teaching Mandarin language skills and Chinese culture. A bipartisan Senate committee received last year in 2019 that the Chinese Communist Party self-controls nearly every aspect of the Confucius Institutes’ activities here in the United States.
Over the past few months, the University of Missouri, the University of Kansas, the University of Maryland have independently decided to close down their Confucius Institutes after conducting their own evaluations, and academies in 22 other governments are doing or have already done the same.
Sadly, China’s propaganda campaign starts even earlier than college. China has targeted K through 12 academies through its “Confucius Classrooms, ” the CCP’s program to influence kids at elementary, middle, and high schools around the world.
Do you know that we have no ability to establish similar programs in China? I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you. President Trump has talked about reciprocity in busines. We should have reciprocity in all things. Today they have free rein in our structure, and we’re altogether shut out from theirs.
As of 2017, there are still 519 of these classrooms in the United Country. Beijing knows that today’s kids are tomorrow’s leaders.
The China competition is happening. It’s happening in your states, and it’s a competition that goes to the very basic liberties that every one of us values.
And when it comes to do business, I’m asking you to adopt a cautious mindset. In the words of President Reagan, when you’re approached for an introduction or a connection to a deal, trust but verify.
I know you everyone has power over pension funds or the person or persons that extended them. As of its latest public filing, the Florida Retirement System is invested in a company that in turn is invested in surveillance gear that the Chinese Communist Party are applied to track more than 1 million Muslim minorities. California’s pension fund, the largest public pension fund in “the two countries “, is invested in companies that supply the People’s Liberation Army that throws our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines at risk.
And it is the case for many Chinese corporations, too- no Sarbanes-Oxley. Their volumes are not wide open, so it’s difficult to know if the transaction that’s being engaged in is transparent and fair and follows the rule of law.
Now, all of these things may well be legal. But the issues is: Do they demonstrate good judgment and preserve America’s national security?
I want to urge vigilance on the local level, too. In the District of Columbia, there have been concerns raised that the brand-new Metro cards manufactured by China could be vulnerable to cyber threats.
So again, it’s worth rely but checking. There are federal officials prepared to help you work your lane through these challenges when they arise. Don’t attain separate individual bargains and agreements with China that undermine our national policy. I know none of you would do so intentionally. Let us help you make sure we’re get it right.
We’re here to help. The Trump administration wants to help. There are so many things we have already done.
Last year, we issued a letter to state governments. It reaffirmed that Taiwan remains a key business spouse and a friend in every other way.
We have strengthened the review process for Chinese corporations that are investing in your states.
We have cancelled visas for so-called “research scholars” who abused their privileges by teaching in Confucius Classrooms, and shaped sure that they departed the United States.
We’ve censored scientists from the Department of Energy, which overseas America’s 17 largest national- excuse me, nuke laboratories, including our nuclear research facility in New Mexico. We did so because they were participating in Chinese talent recruitment programs.
We have directed two Chinese propaganda outlets, the Chinese Global Television Network and Xinhua News Agency, to register as foreign agents.
And we at the State Department have started to require Chinese diplomats to apply- comply with the same rules we comply with when we’re in China. Chinese diplomats now must inform the State Department in advance of official fulfills with government and local officials.
They must declare their official visits to U.S. education and research organizations as well.
This is just fairness, reciprocity, basic common sense. This is not an onerous restriction to put one over China.
Look, I know it’s 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon. There are lots of good things we could do. I hope you will all take on board what I’ve said today.
You all have important missions leading your governments. These are complex, difficult jobs. You have the task to create jobs and opportunity in your nation for your people, attract human capital, investment that undergirds our prosperity.
It’s a tough position, and you get curveballs every day from all across the place.
But don’t lose sight of the competitor from China that’s already represented in your commonwealth. Let’s all rise to the occasion and protect our security, our economy; indeed, all that we hold dear, all of those freedoms.
It’s what commanders must do.
It’s what we do as Americans.
I hope God will bless each of you, each of your governments, and the United Commonwealth of America.
Thank you for letting me be with you here this afternoon.
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