Exclusive– Secretary Pompeo: Chinese Communist Influence Operations Inside America, Around World Present ‘Real Risk’

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens to a question from a member of the media at the press briefing room of the State Department December 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. Secretary Pompeo discussed various topics including the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov …
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Breitbart News that the United States considers efforts by the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing to build influence around the world and here in the United States to be a “risk” to the nation’s national security.

Appearing on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel, Pompeo explained efforts he has been leading to counter Chinese Communist Party influence operations around the world and here at home. In particular, the regime in Beijing has been through the Belt and Road Initiative and other global projects, building out its geopolitical dominance and control far beyond China’s borders throughout the Eurasian landmass into Africa and through moves to control significant shipping and maritime lanes like in the South China Sea and other strategically important waterways. Pompeo has, over the course of his time as Secretary of State, made a number of key moves to counter China’s global influence.

“The Chinese Communist Party working inside of their own country is one thing,” Pompeo told Breitbart News. “Their efforts to create control and influence around the world are quite another, and we have a responsibility to fix that. President Trump got this right in his campaign. He talks about it an awful lot. It’s something that presidents of both political parties have ignored for far too long. President Trump has taken it on squarely. You’ve seen it. It’s very public what he’s done on trade to try to make sure that that is fair and reciprocal. But to your point — your point about China’s efforts to use their wealth, state-owned enterprises, and their authoritarian regime in Africa, in straits and sea lanes all around the world, present a real risk to the United States of America and to free nations.”

Pompeo continued, “We are working to push back against that. We want good things for the Chinese people. We hold no brook against them. But the regime, the Chinese Communist Party itself, is acting in ways that are much to the detriment of the United States of America, and President Trump has made clear we’re going to make sure and protect and keep Americans safe and do everything we can to make sure Americans can operate freely around the world in a way that is fair and reciprocal and equitable.”

Breitbart News’s Pentagon correspondent Kristina Wong joined Pompeo on a trip to Finland last year in which he warned the Arctic Council — a group of eight countries: the U.S., Canada, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and Sweden — about the threat of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to influence the region. In February of this year, Pompeo traveled to Africa where he warned leaders there about the threat of a rising Communist China. In his trip this week to Israel, he warned Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu about state-backed Chinese technology company Huawei. He’s been warning almost every country anywhere he can about this, on every continent in every hemisphere all around the world.

The Belt and Road Initiative is China’s most ambitious effort to achieve geopolitical regional and eventual global domination. Several Asian and African nations have acceded to the Chinese regime’s plans, only to find themselves in serious financial distress afterward. The first major western country to agree to join Belt and Road — Italy — less than a year later became the European hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in a previous exclusive interview with Breitbart News, explained that workers from Wuhan, China, transplanted to northern Italy as part of the Italians’ agreement in the Belt and Road program is almost certainly how the coronavirus spread from its origins in China to Italy.

But, Pompeo noted in this exclusive interview with Breitbart News that aired on Saturday, it is not just overseas in distant lands that Americans need to worry about Chinese influence operations. Here at home in the United States, there are ongoing efforts by agents of the Chinese Communist Party to build influence in state and local governments as well as in American universities.

“This is connected to what you talked about with the Belt and Road Initiative, but it is also true here inside the United States,” Pompeo said. “I spoke to the National Governors Association a few months back where I shared that they are working to influence governors, mayors, school board members, private business owners to influence them to put the bright face of China on what is actually the Chinese Communist Party that’s seeking to exert their influence here inside the United States. This is primarily the responsibility of the FBI to police, but your listeners should know the State Department is doing its part too, and we put restrictions on their diplomats who are moving around America — the same kind they put on our diplomats as they move around China. This effort to influence what’s going on here in the United States is a very serious matter. You talked about our universities and our research labs. This is not about good Chinese people working on commercial projects. We find that acceptable. This is about the Chinese Communist Party exerting its influence here in the United States for missions that are deeply connected to the regime in China trying to exert influence in places where it ought not to be, and we’re doing everything we can to push back against that.”

Pompeo did indeed warn America’s governors that Chinese Communist Party officials are attempting to influence them and local officials across the country.

As for the issue of American academics with ties to the Chinese, it is a growing problem in the United States. In January, a Harvard professor — Dr. Charles Lieber, the chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University — was arrested by Justice Department officials and charged with “making a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement.” Lieber, the Justice Department said, lied about being part of the Chinese government’s “Thousand Talents Plan,” which buys off American and other western academics with huge salaries and expense accounts. He was reportedly given huge sums of cash and expenses to be part of the Chinese plan.

“Under the terms of Lieber’s three-year Thousand Talents contract, WUT [Wuhan University of Technology] paid Lieber $50,000 USD per month, living expenses of up to 1,000,000 Chinese Yuan (approximately $158,000 USD at the time) and awarded him more than $1.5 million to establish a research lab at WUT,” the Justice Department said in a press release. “In return, Lieber was obligated to work for WUT ‘not less than nine months a year’ by ‘declaring international cooperation projects, cultivating young teachers and Ph.D. students, organizing international conference[s], applying for patents and publishing articles in the name of’ WUT.”

The DOJ said that Lieber lied to federal investigators about his involvement with the Thousand Talents program as he was also getting money from U.S. taxpayers through grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was trying to hide his connection to the Chinese Communist Party.

Lieber is hardly the only one. Just a few days ago, another American professor — this one at the University of Arkansas — was arrested and charged with similar crimes.

“University of Arkansas engineering professor Simon Saw-Teong Ang, 63, of Fayetteville was arrested on May 8 with a court appearance on Monday,” the International Business Times reported this week. “The charge is wire fraud for failing to disclose ties, described as ‘close,’ to the Chinese government and businesses while trying to secure federal grants from NASA, according to the Justice Department. If convicted Ang could be looking at up to 20 years behind bars.”

Ang was also a member of the Thousand Talents Program and tried to hide it according to emails that surfaced as part of the investigation.



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