Trump Terminates Chinese Cultural Exchange Programs, Decries “Soft Power Propaganda Tools”

It’s but the latest in what has become near daily punitive actions leveled against China by the Trump administration, which as promised looks to continue right up until Trump leaves office next month.

On Friday the State Department announced it has shut down five cultural exchange programs, the origins of which go back a half-century, calling them “soft power propaganda tools,” according to Reuters.

AP file image

The programs were set up after the establishment of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act in 1961, signed into law by President John F. Kennedy which was aimed at boosting cultural educational ties with foreign countries. 

The programs which have been “terminated” according to the announcement on the State Department’s website include the Policymakers Educational China Trip Program, the U.S.-China Friendship Program, the U.S.-China Leadership Exchange Program, the U.S.-China Transpacific Exchange Program and the Hong Kong Educational and Cultural Program.

“While other programs funded under the auspices of the [Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act] are mutually beneficial, the five programs in question are fully funded and operated by the PRC government as soft power propaganda tools,” the statement said.

“They provide carefully curated access to Chinese Communist Party officials, not to the Chinese people, who do not enjoy freedoms of speech and assembly,” it added.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US would only maintain those foreign cultural exchange programs that “reciprocal and fair,” however while suggesting the Chinese programs are “one-way programs” that are “not mutually beneficial.”