Mike Pompeo imposes new limits on Chinese diplomats in US

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday imposed new rules banning Chinese diplomats from visiting US universities or meeting local officials without permission.

Pompeo said the restrictions on Chinese diplomats — likely to be met with retaliation — are simply a matter of “reciprocity.”

“For years, the Chinese Communist Party has imposed significant barriers on American diplomats working inside the PRC. Specifically, the Chinese Communist Party’s implemented a system of opaque approval processes, designed to prevent American diplomats from conducting regular business, attending events, securing meetings and connecting with Chinese people, especially on university campuses and via the press and social media,” Pompeo told reporters.

“Today, I’m announcing the State Department has established a mechanism requiring approval for senior Chinese diplomats in the United States to visit university campuses and to meet with local government officials. Cultural events with groups larger than 50 people hosted by the Chinese embassy and consular posts outside our mission properties will also require our approval.”

The Trump administration in May banned Chinese graduate students and researchers with links to the Chinese military, alleging that university studies were being used as a cover to steal US technology.

US-China relations plunged this year over Chinese concealment of early COVID-19 data and over the central government’s elimination of political autonomy in Hong Kong and human rights abuses against the Uyghur minority.

Mike Pompeo
Mike PompeoAP

Separately, Pompeo on Wednesday unveiled sanctions against International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, a citizen of The Republic of The Gambia, and associate Phakiso Mochochoko, a citizen of Lesotho, for investigating US troops.

“Individuals and entities that continue to materially support those individuals risk exposure to sanctions as well,” Pompeo said.

In June, President Trump authorized sanctions against ICC workers after the court’s appeals chamber authorized an investigation of possible Afghanistan war crimes, rebuffing previous US warnings, including Pompeo threatening visa bans on participants.

The sanctions, imposed by the US Treasury, will make it difficult for the pair to make financial transactions. Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, who recently got slapped with sanctions, has complained of credit cards not working, for example.

Pompeo called the ICC “a thoroughly broken and corrupted institution” and said “we will not tolerate its illegitimate attempts to subject Americans to its jurisdiction.”

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