China’s state-run newspaper Global Times accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday of being an “extreme hardliner” who has “jinxed the very notion of 21st-century peace” by repeatedly condemning China, Iran, and other rogue states for incessant human rights violations against their people.
The Global Times article follows the publication of the State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Report last week, which found that China was systematically repressing citizens of all faiths, but most egregiously Uighur Muslims, who Beijing has rounded up by the hundreds of thousands and forced into what survivors call “concentration camps.”
It also follows a visit by Chinese Communist Party chairman Xi Jinping to North Korea, whose government announced in April would no longer engage in diplomacy with the United States under President Donald Trump fired Pompeo.
The Global Times‘ complaints about Pompeo mirror much of what North Korea’s diplomats objected to with the secretary of state, namely his insistence on holding rogue regimes accountable for their crimes.
Calling him “politically troublesome,” the Times predicts that “cheerleader of hatred” Pompeo will cause long-term damage to American diplomacy.
“The highest-ranking US diplomat has single-handedly activated an outdated mindset, smashing it to the point of climax,” the newspaper alleges. “Known as an extreme hardliner at the White House, Pompeo has redefined the traditional understanding of the chief diplomat’s role among the world’s major powers with his signature reckless behavior.”
The newspaper takes particularly offense at Pompeo having “bad-mouthed and tried to suppress China, Russia, and Iran.” Pompeo, it alleges, has single-handedly “destroyed the past China-US diplomatic language that was enjoyed for decades, preferring to use negligent words from his personal arsenal.”
“Pompeo has transformed himself into anti-China flag on two legs,” the newspaper proclaims. It goes on to call Presiden Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” illiterate,” and Pompeo “by no means an accurate consensus of the US public who also want to enjoy a harmonious existence.”
“By making volatile claims against China look reasonable, Pompeo has turned himself into a cheerleader of hatred, who uses slander and vitriol for pompoms,” the Times asserts. “Having a secretary of state of this caliber is a tragedy of US politics and the sorrow of international politics. The world needs to be exposed to the damage Pompeo has brought to humankind’s peaceful existence.”
“He is a stain upon the professional honor of diplomacy,” the newspaper concludes. “The global diplomatic community should detest his actions and join together in a crusade against him.”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned Pompeo on Monday, as well, though using much less vitriolic language. Spokesman Geng Shuang accused Pompeo of failing to “respect facts and abandon prejudices” by releasing the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report.
“In disregard of facts and full of ideological biases, the China-related content of this so-called report and the remarks of Secretary of State Pompeo wantonly slander China’s policy on religion and Xinjiang and constitute a blatant interference in China’s internal affairs,” Geng asserted. “China deplores and firmly opposes that and has lodged stern representations with the US side.”
“We urge the US side and Mr. Pompeo to respect facts and abandon prejudices, stop releasing such reports year after year to vilify China’s policy on religion and Xinjiang, and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs using religious and Xinjiang-related issues,” the spokesman said, accusing America, in turn, of being a “disturbing” environment for people of faith because, “According to publicly available statistics, the number of mosques in the US is even less than one tenth of that in Xinjiang.”
Xinjiang is China’s westernmost province and home to the nation’s Muslim Uighur ethnic minority. Under Xi Jinping, the Han Chinese government in Beijing began building concentration camps in 2017 now believed to house as many as 3 million Uighurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz Chinese people. Those who survived the camps say Chinese authorities forced them to memorize songs praising communism and Xi Jinping, learn the Han Mandarin language, and eat pork to distance themselves from their faith. China has also built sweatshops for slave labor at these facilities and conducted medical testing on prisoners consistent with non-consensual live organ harvesting there.
“The Chinese Communist Party has exhibited extreme hostility to all religious faiths since its founding. The party demands that it alone be called God,” Pompeo said last week, announcing the publication of the State Department’s report. “[I]n China, the government’s intense persecution of many faiths – Falun Gong practitioners, Christians, and Tibetan Buddhists among them – is the norm. … I had a chance to meet with some Uighurs here, but unfortunately, most Chinese Uighurs don’t get a chance to tell their stories.”
The State Department’s report featured a special Uighur repression section to address the abuses in China.
Pompeo has similarly condemned North Korea for its extensive use of labor camps to imprison dissidents and their families, widespread public executions, and other human rights crimes. He has also consistently rejected the idea of lifting sanctions on North Korea without Pyongyang definitively ending its illegal nuclear weapons program.
North Korea reacted similarly to China in response to this criticism. In April, Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the Department of American Affairs at North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, announced that North Korea refused to engage in diplomacy with Pompeo.
“[W]henever Pompeo pokes his nose in, the talks go wrong without any results even from the point close to success,” Kwon said. “I am afraid that, if Pompeo engages in the talks again, the table will be lousy once again and the talks will become entangled.”
Last week, Xi Jinping told North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un that he would do whatever he needed to help North Korea progress.
“In face of the profound and complex changes on the global and regional landscapes, China and the DPRK [North Korea] should strengthen high-level contact to guide the development of China-DPRK relations,” the state news agency Xinhua quoted Xi as saying. Xi, it added, was “ready to maintain close exchanges with Kim to consolidate mutual political trust and hold firmly the general direction of bilateral relations.”