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State Dept. terminates five exchange programs with China, calling them 'propaganda'

State Dept. terminates five exchange programs with China, calling them 'propaganda'
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoTrump: 'I can't imagine' any Republican would beat me in 2024 primary if I run Green New Deal's 3 billion ton problem: sourcing technology metals US condemns arrests of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong MORE on Friday announced that the State Department has ended five exchange programs with China, calling them “propaganda.”

Pompeo said in a statement that the programs are “fully funded and operated by the [Chinese] government as soft power propaganda tools.”

“They provide carefully curated access to Chinese Communist party [CCP] officials, not to the Chinese people, who do not enjoy freedoms of speech and assembly,” he said.

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The department terminated the Policymakers Educational China Trip Program, the U.S.-China Friendship Program, the U.S.-China Leadership Exchange Program, the U.S.-China Transpacific Exchange Program, and the Hong Kong Educational and Cultural Program. 

The programs were conducted under Section 108A of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act, which allows federal employees to travel using foreign government funds.

“The United States welcomes the reciprocal and fair exchange of cultural programs with [Chinese] officials and the Chinese people,” Pompeo said in his statement. “But one-way programs such as these are not mutually beneficial.”

Pompeo announced the move with less than two months left in the Trump administration, as relations between Washington and Beijing remain strained.

President TrumpDonald TrumpProsecutors focus Trump Organization probe on company's financial officer: report WHO official says it's 'premature' to think pandemic will be over by end of year Romney released from hospital after fall over the weekend MORE has battled China over its trading practices and response to the coronavirus outbreak, while members of both parties have said the U.S. should confront China over various other policies and actions on the world stage.

In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Director of National Intelligence John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeFormer Trump officials eye bids for political office Grenell congratulates Buttigieg on becoming second openly gay Cabinet member Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official MORE warned that China is the No. 1 national security threat, saying Beijing intends to “dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and politically.”

Pompeo announced visa restrictions on Friday that target Chinese officials who he said are involved in coordinating domestic and foreign influence operations.