Pompeo blasts China: 'Callous attempts to exploit George Floyd's tragic death'

Pompeo blasts China: 'Callous attempts to exploit George Floyd's tragic death'

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIn Russian bounty debate, once again this administration lacks intelligence Trump administration sanctions Chinese officials over human rights abuses WHO sets up independent panel to assess global coronavirus response MORE hammered China for its criticism of the U.S.’s response to protests across the country over George Floyd’s death, accusing Beijing of trying to “exploit” the demonstrations. 

“The Chinese Communist Party’s [CCP] callous attempts to exploit George Floyd’s tragic death for its own political gain will fail. During the best of times, Beijing ruthlessly imposes communism. Amid the most difficult challenges, the United States secures freedom,” Pompeo tweeted.

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The rebuke comes as Chinese officials have seized on the U.S. protests as a way of hitting back at Washington for supporting pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong in 2019. 

Chinese state media has given the protests extensive coverage, with state news agency Xinhua describing the demonstrations as “Pelosi's beautiful landscape,” a reference to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSupreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress Pelosi on Baltimore's Columbus statue: 'If the community doesn't want the statue, the statue shouldn't be there' Pelosi says House won't cave to Senate on worker COVID-19 protections MORE’s (D-Calif.) remarks last year that the Hong Kong protests were “a beautiful sight to behold,” according to the BBC.

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, has often turned to Twitter to highlight the unrest, tweeting, “We strongly oppose all forms of racial discrimination and inflammatory expressions of racism and hatred” and “THUGS & HEROES HYPOCRISY.”

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The protests across the U.S. were sparked when Floyd, an unarmed black man, died while in the custody of a white police officer in Minneapolis. Many of the demonstrations have been peaceful, though some have devolved into rioting and looting.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' Marie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Trump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' MORE has taken an aggressive tone toward the protesters, calling them “thugs” and threatening to send in the military to quell the demonstrations. Tensions were heightened this week when the administration sent in law enforcement to disperse a peaceful gathering outside the White House so the president could pose for pictures in front of a nearby church that had been targeted by arsonists. 

Pompeo rebuked China's efforts to spread "propaganda" over the protests, challenging Beijing on its own human rights record.

"Beijing in recent days has showcased its continuing contempt for the truth and scorn for law. The CCP's propaganda efforts – seeking to conflate the United States’ actions in the wake of the death of George Floyd with the CCP’s continued denial of basic human rights and freedom – should be seen for the fraud that they are," he said in a later statement.

The broadside by Pompeo comes as Trump and leaders in Beijing engage in a bitter back-and-forth over a number of topics, including whether the U.S. or China is to blame for the coronavirus and a new Chinese law that could curtail free speech in Hong Kong.