Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new sanctions Friday on Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials involved in a broad range of coercive and threatening activities against political opponents in the United States and elsewhere.
Pompeo said in a press statement that the CCP “has long sought to spread Marxist-Leninist ideology and exert its influence all over the world.” He added that the Chinese government also uses “intimidation tactics” to silence opponents in academia, business, civil society, the global Chinese diaspora and minority communities in regions like Xinjiang and Tibet.
Today I announced visa restrictions on United Front Work Department officials who have engaged in malign activities to co-opt and coerce those who oppose Beijing’s policies. We call on the PRC to end its use of coercion to suppress freedom of expression.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 4, 2020
The announcement notes that the State Department would impose visa restrictions on CCP and other Chinese government officials “who have engaged in the use or threat of physical violence, theft and release of private information, espionage, sabotage, or malicious interference in domestic political affairs, academic freedom, personal privacy, or business activity.”
The sanctions also target officials involved with the United Front Work Department, a Chinese government agency that works to “co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin noted in a June op-ed that the United Front Work Department engages in covert operations targeting anti-CCP individuals and groups in the United States. (RELATED: Intel Chief: China Targeting Members Of Congress As Part Of ‘Massive Influence Campaign’)
One of the tactics used by United Front Work Department affiliates is “doxxing,” or releasing the personal details of targets and even their family members, Pompeo said in his Friday statement. He added that these tactics are used in “furtherance of the CCP’s authoritarian narratives and policy preferences.”
The Trump administration also announced new guidelines Thursday that limit all CCP members to one-month, single-entry visas if they apply for entry, The New York Times first reported.
China’s foreign ministry has long condemned diplomatic sanctions and visa restrictions imposed by the United States. Spokeswoman Hua Chunying referred to such measures as “extremist” during a Thursday press conference and accused the United States of having a “deep-seated Cold War mentality.”