US Ends 5 Cultural Programs With China in Further Escalation

US Ends 5 Cultural Programs With China in Further Escalation
The US Department of State building is seen in Washington, on July 22, 2019. (Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images)
The Associated Press

WASHNGTON—The Trump administration has ended five cultural-exchange programs with China that it says were being used for the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda and had no benefit to the United States.

The terminations follow new visa restrictions announced by Washington limiting stays in the U.S. by members of the CCP and signal further erosion in relations with Beijing.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the exchange programs he ended were fully paid for and operated by the Chinese regime “as soft power propaganda tools.” They provided “carefully curated access to Chinese Communist Party officials, not to the Chinese people, who do not enjoy freedoms of speech and assembly,” he said in a statement late Friday.

The State 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. Each program allowed U.S. officials to travel in China at Beijing's expense.

Pompeo said the United States welcomes “the reciprocal and fair exchange of cultural programs” with China and the Chinese people, and that mutually beneficial ones will continue.

This past week, the U.S. announced new time limits on visas for members of the CCP and their families, cutting the period their travel documents are valid to one month from 10 years.

The Trump administration has taken a variety of punitive measures against communist China as disputes sharpen over human rights, the coronavirus pandemic, trade, technology, Taiwan, and many other issues. Trump's steps may be reversed by Democrat former Vice President Joe Biden if he is elected president.