Pompeo made the comments on Wednesday during his virtual address to the Georgia Institute of Technology in a special speech.
“General Secretary (of the ruling Communist Party of China) Xi Jinping has made clear his intentions. You only have to listen to what he says. He says he wants total control at home, and to make China the number one power abroad. And he’s well on his way to working on that project,” Pompeo said.
“He’s building up the People’s Liberation Army. He’s manipulating international organisations for Beijing’s benefit. And he’s engaging – as we have seen in TV only just these last two days, he’s engaging in a vast influence campaign all across the world,” the top US diplomat said.
Xi, 67, has amassed power the likes of which has not been since Chairman Mao Zedong. He is now President, General Secretary of the CPC and Chairman of the Central Military Commission. In 2018, China’s Parliament removed the two-term limit on presidency, allowing Xi to remain in power for life.
“The Chinese communists used the wealth that was created by this to tighten their grip on power, their grip on power over the Chinese people, and to build a high-tech repressive state like the world has never seen,” he said.
The US last week imposed visa restrictions on Chinese officials and individuals engaged in overseas influence operations, the latest punitive measures against China by the outgoing Trump administration.
The restrictions are the latest measure taken against China’s leadership and economy in response to sharpening disputes over human rights, the coronavirus pandemic, trade, technology, Taiwan and a host of other issues.
Pompeo said that over the past year, he has talked to America’s governors in Washington about this, state legislators in Wisconsin, tech leaders in Silicon Valley, and many other groups.
“And that may for some of you sitting at home today seem like a long way away and a very ambitious touch for Xi Jinping to make, but I must say he has his eye on each and every one of us,” he told the students of Georgia Tech in his virtual address.
“Just think about it. Chinese Communist Party scientists aren’t pioneering cancer cures. We are. And it’s not North Korean biochemists that are producing safe Covid vaccines. We are. And Iranians aren’t ahead in supercomputing. No. In fact, we are. It is the free world and free peoples that produce these superior results. And we should be very proud of that fact,” he said.
“But we have an obligation to protect it, to preserve it, to make sure that that’s the case 10 and 50 and 100 years from now,” he said.
Pompeo said that the Chinese Communist Party knows it can never match American innovation.
“It has state-owned enterprises; it’s an authoritarian regime; it is a government-centric focus. That’s why it sends 400,000 students a year to the United States of America to study – 400,000 students a year studying in our universities come from one country. It is no accident,” he said.
“Much of the high-end industrial base inside of China is based on stolen technology, or technology purchased from other nations. It’s not home-grown. Beijing doesn’t want Chinese researchers to stay here in the United States. Indeed, after they’re trained, they want them to come back. They want to induce their return for the singular purpose of serving the Socialist Motherland,” he added.
“Look, the Party’s propaganda apparatus cannot tolerate pesky Americans or Chinese nationals exposing its bankrupt system, or the fact that the Chinese people can actually flourish when they are in free societies. It doesn’t want you to know what I’m about to tell you,” he said.
The Communist Party of China, he said, doesn’t just target Chinese nationals, they want to influence American students as well, professors and administrators too.
“Look, they know that left-leaning college campuses are rife with anti-Americanism, and present easy targets for their anti-American messaging,” he said.
“That’s why they planted Confucius Institutes on our campuses. And under President Trump, our State Department has made very clear these Confucius Institutes are literally up to no good. Many have gone away. Many campuses have seen that and they’ve chosen to close down these institutes. But right here in Georgia, Wesleyan College still has one in Macon,” he asserted.
“Look, it’s why there are groups on campuses called Chinese Students and Scholars Associations here too. They’re directed and almost always funded by the Chinese Embassy or a local Chinese consulate. Its purpose: to keep tabs on students and to press pro-Beijing causes,” he said.
Beijing has previously criticised Pompeo for his anti-China and anti-CPC remarks.
“Pompeo’s continuous fabrication of political lies to smear and attack China exposed his deep-rooted ideological prejudices and his nature of a politician to seek personal gains, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said in November.