Mike Pompeo issues China chilling warning that US is ‘closely watching’

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During a press briefing on Wednesday, Mr Pompeo expressed concern that legislators in Hong Kong were “manhandled” this week as they attempted to prevent an irregular legislative move by pro-Beijing legislators. He condemned the move to to have top Hong Kong activists like United Democrats founder Martin Lee and entrepreneur and media owner Jimmy Lai “hauled into court”.

The former CIA director said: “Actions like these make it more difficult to assess that Hong Kong remains highly autonomous from mainland China,

“We’re closely watching what is going on there.”

Under the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, the US has until the end of the month to decide whether Hong Kong can stay autonomous from China.

The decision is a prerequisite for expanding the city’s preferential US trading and investment advantages.

The Secretary of State, often referred to in Washington as US President Trump’s “attack dog” on China, issued the warning as Trump’s administrations accumulates allegations against China and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

His comments come as Trump’s poll numbers flounder after the administration’s delayed response to the pandemic.

Earlier on Wednesday, Trump hit out on Twitter at “some wacko in China” for “blaming everybody other than China for the Virus which has now killed hundreds of thousands of people.”

“Please explain to this dope that it was the ‘incompetence of China’, and nothing else, that did this mass Worldwide killing!” he wrote.

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It is still unclear whom the president’s claims were about.

The tweet comes a day after Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian published a defence of China’s performance during the coronavirus crisis.

During a press conference, Mr Zhao said the US was taking aim at the WHO in an attempt to “shift the blame” from its own “incompetent response” to the pandemic.

On Wednesday, Mr Pompeo listed US’ worries concerning China, including domestic and foreign policies, as well as its general political approach.

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“China’s been ruled by a brutal, authoritarian regime, a communist regime, since 1949,” he said.

He made reference to the difficulties of getting “the Chinese Communist Party and China to behave in a way that’s consistent with how we ask every nation to behave”.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr Pompeo claimed the media was “missing the bigger picture” by concentrating on the virus rather than China’s actions.

In recent days, Mr Pompeo faced scrutiny over claims he had misused taxpayer money and government aircraft, as well as having diplomatic security staff walk his dog and collect takeaway food orders for him.

An agency whistle-blower referred to agent allegations that working for the Secretary of State was turning them into “UberEats with guns”, in reference to a food delivery app-based service. Pompeo has denied the claims.

Mr Pompeo also claimed on Wednesday that Beijing destroyed live virus samples rather than sharing them, refused to let investigators into its labs, censored debate within its borders and resisted calls for an independent investigation into the genesis of the pandemic.

He also claimed China was responsible for the deaths of over 92,000 Americans, 36 million US job losses and 300,000 deaths globally.

He said: “President Xi claimed this week that China has acted ‘with openness, transparency and responsibility’ – I wish it were so.

“If the Chinese Communist Party wants to demonstrate real openness, real transparency, it could easily hold press conferences, like this very press conference, and allow reporters to ask him anything that they would like.”

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