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US State Department terminates 5 exchange programs with China

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The US State Department on Friday in a statement published Dec.4, said that five Chinese government-funded cultural exchange programs with China had been terminated.

The programs are 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.

These programs, conducted under Section 108A of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (MECEA), allow US government employees to travel using foreign government funds.

According to the State Department, the five programs in question are entirely funded and run by the PRC government as soft power propaganda tools and are predominantly used by CCP officials, not the Chinese people.

The US State Department said the United States welcomes the mutual and fair exchange of cultural programs with PRC officials and the Chinese people, but these one-way programs are not mutually beneficial.

The decision was announced a month after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to close all Confucius Institutes in the United States in October.

In response to Pompeo’s remarks on Confucius Institutes, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China urged the United States to stop politicizing educational exchange programs and regular person-to-person exchanges and to promote trust and cooperation between the two countries.

In May, Sweden closed the Confucius Institutes in the country citing security issues and the lack of respect for the human rights of religious and ethnic minorities persecuted in China.

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