Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo on Wednesday highlighted the threat China poses to both security and freedom of speech on U.S. university campuses, warning that many U.S. colleges are “basically bought” by Beijing and that they are censored to avoid overthrowing the communist regime.
Pompeo has warned that the Chinese regime is “poisoning the wells of our higher education institutions for its own purposes” and that these are “undermining our freedom and America’s national security”.
“If we don’t train ourselves, if we’re not honest about what happened, Beijing will school him.”
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According to the top diplomat, many American scientists have been “lured” into their recruitment programs and are paid to do research in China or China, while others are simple targets for their anti-American messaging because of their own American bias.
While scholars and administrators can be expected to be “armed” by Chinese intervention, Pompeo says the opposite is true and colleges are self-censored.
“We see it too rarely, but why, why do schools censor themselves? They often do so out of fear of violating China, ”he said, adding that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was not interested in making comments at his university.
He said that although the censorship is allegedly being carried out for politically correct reasons, he doubts that is the real reason.
“Too often in American universities, we see that silence and censorship controlled by the Chinese Communist Party can usually be traced back to much less idealistic things – so many of our colleges are bought in Beijing,” he said.
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Pompeo cited cases where universities allegedly refused to protect their students because of multi-million dollar agreements with China.
– What other bad decisions do schools make because they are tied to Communist Party funds? asked.
He made a distinction between the Chinese government and innocent Chinese students, who are often victims of government repression. He noted that 400,000 Chinese students come to the United States each year.
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“American students are talking about safe spaces that are a haven from unpleasant ideas. Chinese students need safe places to get to know the ideas they love – what a stark contrast, ”he said.
Earlier in the speech, he mentioned the case of Professor Fei-Ling Wang, who was detained by security in China and raised about his time teaching at West Point.
“The lesson I think we can draw from this is clear: The Chinese Communist Party wants what we have and they will do everything they can to get it and get it, steal our stuff, put pressure on Chinese critics. The Communist Party is doing everything it needs to remain silent, ”he said.
The remarks came as part of the Trump administration’s ongoing aggressive approach to China, including on college campuses – where the U.S. designated the Confucius Institute’s American Center (CIUS) as its Chinese mission earlier this year.
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John Ratcliffe, director of national intelligence, recently told Fox News that China “intends to rule economically, militarily and technologically, and is the only country capable of comprehensively debating American superiority”.
This message was echoed by Pompeo, who said Chinese leader Xi Jinping was seeking to make China a prominent power abroad and to “build a high-tech oppressive state the world has never seen before” while building the People’s Liberation Army, manipulating the international organizations. and the continuation of “massive campaigns of influence abroad”.
Fox News Brooke Singman contributed to this report.