‘Classic Communist Disinformation’: Pompeo Hits Back at Beijing’s Claim That US Is Lying About Pandemic

‘Classic Communist Disinformation’: Pompeo Hits Back at Beijing’s Claim That US Is Lying About Pandemic
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, U.S., April 22, 2020. (Nicholas Kamm/Pool via Reuters)
Cathy He

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called out the Chinese foreign ministry’s accusation that American politicians were playing “tricks to deflect blame” surrounding the pandemic, calling the comments “classic communist disinformation.”

“They know that this happened in their country. This is classic communist disinformation. This is what communists do,” Pompeo said during an interview with Fox on April 29. He was referring to recent remarks made by Geng Shuang, spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, who accused politicians in the United States of “lying through their teeth.”

Geng said at a Tuesday press briefing: “We advise American politicians to reflect on their own problems and try their best to control the epidemic as soon as possible, instead of continuing to play tricks to deflect blame.”

Pompeo pointed to the Chinese regime’s efforts to silence doctors who tried to sound the alarm about the outbreak during its early stages.

“Those are the kind of things that communist institutions do. We all know them from the Soviet days. We know the kinds of things that communist parties do to try and manage information inside of their own country and around the world,” he said.

Geng’s criticism came after President Donald Trump on Monday suggested the United States could seek “substantial” compensation from the Chinese regime for causing the pandemic.

“There are a lot of ways you can hold them accountable,“ Trump said. ”We are not happy with China.”

Pompeo in the Fox interview echoed Trump’s remarks, saying, “America needs to hold them [the regime] accountable.”

The state secretary was recently attacked by Chinese state media over his repeated calls for Beijing to be transparent about the outbreak. A recent commentary by hawkish Chinese state-run outlet Global Times called Pompeo “an enemy to world peace” after he said the Chinese regime will “pay a price for what they did” in its cover-up of the crisis.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV also directly criticized Pompeo during its prime-time news bulletins on Monday and Tuesday.

“In his position as a top U.S. diplomat, Pompeo has shown no professionalism or responsibility whatsoever,” CCTV said.

“Instead, he spreads a political virus of estrangement through falsehoods. He has turned himself into an obstacle setting back all humanity. One could say, he is an accomplice to the coronavirus.”

A growing number of countries have called for greater transparency and accountability from the Chinese regime over its handling of the outbreak, which resulted in the global spread of the virus.
Recently, Australia called for an independent review into how Beijing handled the crisis. Chinese ambassador Cheng Jingye then threatened an economic boycott on Australian goods if the government did not back down. Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne condemned the regime’s threats of “economic coercion,” and repeated calls for the probe.

Pompeo said he was “heartened” to see Australia and other countries demand an investigation into Beijing’s handling of the outbreak, “because while we know this started in Wuhan, China, we don’t yet know from where it started...And in spite of our best efforts to get experts on the ground, they [Chinese regime] continue to try and hide and obfuscate.”

Cathy He is the politics editor at the Washington D.C. bureau. She was previously an editor for U.S.-China and a reporter covering U.S.-China relations.
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