US accuses China of using unrest over Floyd's death for propaganda

WASHINGTON • The US yesterday accused China of using the unrest triggered by the death of Mr George Floyd in police custody to justify denying its own people basic human rights.

"As with dictatorships throughout history, no lie is too obscene, so long as it serves the Party's lust for power," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement, referring to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). "This laughable propaganda should not fool anyone," Mr Pompeo added.

China has repeatedly criticised the US over the Floyd case, but it was not clear which of its comments Mr Pompeo was referring to. Beijing has long been infuriated by criticism from Western capitals, especially Washington, over its handling of the pro-democracy protests that shook Hong Kong last year.

And as unrest erupted across the United States over racial inequality and police brutality after the death on May 25 of Mr Floyd, an unarmed black man, Chinese government spokesmen and official media launched broadsides against the American authorities.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian had, on June 1, seized on the anti-racism protests in the US to accuse the country of hypocrisy, calling racism "a chronic disease of American society".

Washington's response to the death of Mr Floyd at the hands of police was a "textbook example of its world-famous double standards", Mr Zhao said. "Why does the US lionise the so-called Hong Kong independence and black violence elements as heroes and activists, while calling people who protest against racism 'rioters'?" Mr Zhao asked.

In his statement yesterday, Mr Pompeo said Beijing in recent days had shown "continuing contempt for the truth and scorn for law".

"The CCP's propaganda efforts - seeking to conflate the United States' actions in the wake of the death of George Floyd with the CCP's denial of basic human rights and freedom - should be seen for the fraud that they are," Mr Pompeo wrote. His remarks come at a low point in US-Chinese relations, with President Donald Trump harshly criticising Beijing for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 07, 2020, with the headline 'US accuses China of using unrest over Floyd's death for propaganda'. Print Edition | Subscribe