Pompeo blasts China: ‘Callous attempts to exploit George Floyd’s tragic death’
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo 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.
The Chinese Communist Party’s 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.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) June 6, 2020
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 Pelosi’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.”
All lives matter. We stand firmly with our African friends. We strongly oppose all forms of racial discrimination and inflammatory expressions of racism and hatred. https://t.co/bRXvafrKZH
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) June 1, 2020
THUGS & HEROES HYPOCRISYhttps://t.co/rD7vvrvKfa
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) May 30, 2020
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 Trump 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.