Dec 5, 2020 - World

U.S. ends 5 cultural programs with China

Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration on Friday ended five cultural-exchange programs with China that the U.S. says were used as "soft power propaganda tools" by the Chinese government.

Why it matters: President Trump is stepping up hardline policies against China in his final weeks in office, with a goal of making it politically untenable for the Biden administration to change course, per Axios' Jonathan Swan and Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian.

  • Earlier on Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new visa restrictions on members of China’s ruling Communist Party and their immediate family members — a move China called “an escalation of political suppression," per AP.

What he's saying: "While other programs funded under the auspices of the [Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act] are mutually beneficial, the five programs in question are fully funded and operated by the PRC government as soft power propaganda tools," Pompeo said in a news release.

  • "They provide carefully curated access to Chinese Communist Party officials, not to the Chinese people, who do not enjoy freedoms of speech and assembly," he added.
  • "The United States welcomes the reciprocal and fair exchange of cultural programs with PRC officials and the Chinese people, but one-way programs such as these are not mutually beneficial."
  • The programs Pompeo ended include the Policymakers Educational China Trip Program, the U.S.-China Friendship Program, the U.S.-China Leadership Exchange Program and the U.S.-China Transpacific Exchange Program and the Hong Kong Educational and Cultural Program.

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