Chinese effort to meddle US elections, influence opinion unprecedented: US NSA

Chinese effort to meddle US elections, influence opinion unprecedented: US NSA

'China is meddling in America's democracy, ' Pence said, calling it a 'a comprehensive and coordinated campaign to undermine support for the president, our agenda and our nation´s most cherished ideals.

In a blatant attempt to invert the script on election "meddling" and interference, Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday accused the Chinese government of seeking to undermine US democracy and charged, without evidence, that Beijing is acting malevolently because "China wants a different American president".

But Pence said: "As a senior career member of our intelligence community told me just this week, what the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country".

Pence also accused China of "reckless harassment" because of an incident on Sunday in which a US destroyer, the Decatur, traveled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea. "By one estimate, more than 80 percent of USA counties targeted by China voted for President Trump in 2016; now China wants to turn these voters against our administration", Pence says.

Pence said China has responded to Trump's tough trade policies against Beijing with tariffs of its own created to inflict maximum political damage.

In a blistering speech that expands on complaints aired by President Donald Trump at the United Nations last week, Pence accused China of waging an "unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion" ahead of critical congressional elections on November 6.

Pence's speech at the Hudson Institute think tank in Washington marked a sharpened US approach toward China that goes beyond the bitter trade war between the world's two biggest economies and includes disputes such as cyber activities, Taiwan, freedom of the seas and human rights.

Pence accused the Chinese of suppressing its citizens at home with the creation of "an unparalleled surveillance state", of brutally repressing religious minorities and of oppressing countries overseas through loan programs that favor Beijing and leave those nations beholden to China. As evidence, he pointed to a recent advertisement that a Chinese state media outlet placed in the Des Moines Register, an Iowa newspaper.

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More official United States criticism of China is due to be released in a Pentagon-led report on risks to the supply of materials vital to the USA military, Reuters reported on Thursday.

-China provides money to US universities, think tanks and scholars with the understanding that they will avoid ideas that the Communist Party finds offensive, Pence said. The app would "strengthen the Communist Party's censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers, " Pence said.

While the vice president stressed the threats posed by China to American interests, he emphasised that the USA desires a productive relationship with Beijing.

"China always follows the principle of non-interference in others' internal affairs and we have no interest in meddling in USA internal affairs and elections", she said.

In August, more than a dozen human rights groups sent a joint letter to Google and urged the company not to offer censored internet search in China.

She said China was a "builder of world peace" with no interest in meddling in U.S. elections. 'We will not be intimidated.

He condemns a Chinese ship passing this week within about 40 meters of the USS Decatur, calling it "reckless harassment".

Pence was also to use the phrase "debt diplomacy" in reference to China's efforts to expand its influence worldwide.

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