Did Secretary Pompeo’s RNC speech violate the Hatch Act?
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday announced new restrictions on Chinese diplomats in the United States – a move he said was in response to similar restrictions placed on American diplomats.
“For years the Chinese Communist Party has imposed significant barriers on American diplomats working in the PRC,” he said at a news conference, citing “opaque approval processes” that stop diplomats from conducting business, attending events and speaking to the Chinese people.
STATE DEPT. CONDEMNS CHINESE SANCTIONS ON SENS. CRUZ, HAWLEY, COTTON AS ATTEMPT TO 'EXTEND AUTHORITARIAN RULE'
“Today I am 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,” he said.
The State Department said in a statement that it had made “sustained” efforts for U.S. diplomats to have the reciprocal access that Chinese diplomats enjoyed, but Beijing had refused.
The new restrictions will also require Chinese diplomats to receive approval for embassy events with an audience larger than 50 people. Pompeo said the State Department is also acting to ensure that all official Chinese embassy and consular social media accounts are properly identified as Chinese government accounts.
“Should the PRC eliminate the restrictions imposed on U.S. diplomats, we stand ready to reciprocate,” the State Department said.
The move comes as tensions continue to simmer between Washington and Beijing. The U.S. has sought to crack down on Chinese power abroad, as well as seek accountability for the outbreak of the coronavirus and its incursions against freedoms in Hong Kong.
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Last month, China announced it would impose sanctions on 11 U.S. citizens – including Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
The State Department described the move as an effort by Beijing to “extend authoritarian rule beyond its borders.”
At the same press conference on Wednesday, Pompeo also announced sanctions on the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and other officials for her continued investigation of American citizens.
The sanctions include a freeze on assets held in the U.S. or subject to U.S. law and target prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and the court’s head of jurisdiction, Phakiso Mochochoko.
Fox News' Nicholas Kalman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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