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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.

Go deeper: Ratcliffe's long-term China play

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - World

Former Google CEO and others call for U.S.-China tech "bifurcation"

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new set of proposals by a group of influential D.C. insiders and tech industry practitioners calling for a degree of "bifurcation" in the U.S. and Chinese tech sectors is circulating in the Biden administration. Axios has obtained a copy.

Why it matters: The idea of "decoupling" certain sectors of the U.S. and Chinese economies felt radical three years ago, when Trump's trade war brought the term into common parlance. But now the strategy has growing bipartisan and even industry support.

Biden headed to the Hill as Democrats struggle to reach deal on spending bills

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday morning will meet with the House Democratic Caucus on Capitol Hill to provide an update about his Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal, according to a White House official.

Driving the news: The meeting comes as Democrats struggle to reach a deal on the spending bills. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN on Sunday that Democrats were planning to reach an agreement on the infrastructure package this week, before Biden's departure to Europe, which is slated for later on Thursday.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
43 mins ago - Economy & Business

Why it's so hard to tax wealth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The wealth tax that wasn't a wealth tax isn't even a tax, now. The Democrats had a meticulously constructed 107-page proposal to pay for a large chunk of their spending plans with a tax on billionaires, but it died ignobly on Wednesday, the same day it was unveiled.

Why it matters: The dream of a wealth tax will never die as it so neatly generates revenue by reducing inequality. But there are three main reasons why that dream is likely to remain just a dream for the foreseeable future.

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