Mike Pompeo says free world must change China or ‘China will change us’

Mike Pompeo says free world must change China or ‘China will change us’

  • US Secretary of state calls for countries to triumph over Beijing’s ‘new tyranny’ as four Chinese nationals charged with visa fraud

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has called on “free nations” to triumph over the threat of what he said was a “new tyranny” from China, in a provocative speech likely to worsen fraught US-China relations.

“Today China is increasingly authoritarian at home, and more aggressive in its hostility to freedom everywhere else,” Pompeo said in a speech on Thursday at the Richard Nixon presidential library in Yorba Linda, California.

“If the free world doesn’t change Communist China, Communist China will change us,” he said, Pompeo said Nixon’s worry about what he had done by opening the world to China’s Communist party in the 1970s had been prophetic.

“President Nixon once said he feared he had created a ‘Frankenstein’ by opening the world to the CCP,” Pompeo said. “And here we are.”

Pompeo’s remarks come as rivalry between the US and China has deteriorated sharply over the last few weeks. On Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying described Pompeo as an “ant trying to shake a tree” in a “futile” attempt to “launch a new crusade against China.”

On Friday, the ministry announced that it had ordered the US consulate in Chengdu in southwestern China to close, in response to the US shuttering a Chinese mission Houston earlier this week.

On Thursday, the US justice department charged four Chinese researchers with visa fraud, alleging they lied about their ties to China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army. Three have been arrested and one has taken refuge in the San Francisco consulate.