by WorldTribune Staff, October 5, 2018
Stunned by a U.S. president who has confronted it, China has unleashed a far-reaching effort to meddle in American elections, Vice President Mike Pence said on Oct. 4.
“China has initiated an unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion, the 2018 elections, and the environment leading into the 2020 presidential elections,” Pence said in a major address at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.
The vice president quoted a senior U.S. intelligence official as telling him that “what the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country.”
Citing U.S. intelligence reports, Pence said the Chinese government circulated a sensitive “Propaganda and Censorship Notice” in June that stated Beijing must “strike accurately and carefully, splitting apart different domestic groups” in the United States.
Pence charged the Chinese Communist Party with “rewarding or coercing American businesses, movie studios, universities, think tanks, scholars, journalists, and local, state and federal officials.”
Trump, at the United Nations last week, had accused the Chinese government of attempting to interfere in the U.S. midterm elections and said Pence would release details in his Oct. 4 speech.
“… To put it bluntly, President Trump’s leadership is working; China wants a different American President,” Pence said.
“Beijing has mobilized covert actors, front groups, and propaganda outlets to shift Americans’ perception of Chinese policies,” Pence said.
At the UN last week, Trump cited a four-page advertising supplement that a Chinese-government media company placed in Iowa’s largest newspaper, the Des Moines Register, as evidence of the Asian country’s propaganda campaign. Trump said China was trying to undermine him because of his aggressive stance on trade, including his the imposition of tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods shipped to the U.S.
“When it comes to influencing the midterms, you need only look at Beijing’s tariffs in response to ours,” Pence said at the Hudson Institute. “They specifically targeted industries and states that would play an important role in the 2018 election. By one estimate, more than 80 percent of U.S. counties targeted by China voted for President Trump and I in 2016; now China wants to turn these voters against our administration.”
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said Pence’s remarks relied on “previously classified and unclassified information.”
Bolton said “much of what we know remains classified” and due to ongoing intelligence operations, as well as protecting sources and methods, more cannot be revealed at this time.
“I’ve never seen anything like the scope of the Chinese activities,” added Bolton. “It’s a very serious problem.”
A spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, Hua Chunying, called Pence’s accusations “unwarranted” and a “malicious slander on China.”