Photos: Kashmir resort sees tourists after back-to-back shutdowns Influx of tourists a dramatic change for disputed region which faced the double whammy of COVID and security shutdowns.
‘Soft power propaganda tools’: US State Department ends five cultural exchange programs with China
The US State Department has axed five exchange programs with Beijing branding them as instruments of propaganda as relations between the states continues to deteriorate.
The cancelled programs are the Policymakers Educational China Trip Program, the US-China Friendship Program, the US-China Leadership Exchange Program, the US-China Transpacific Exchange Program, and the Hong Kong Educational and Cultural Program.
These “one-way” programs were funded and run by Beijing as “soft power propaganda tools,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
They provide carefully curated access to Chinese Communist Party officials, not to the Chinese people, who do not enjoy freedoms of speech and assembly.
The affected programs were ostensibly set up to foster bilateral ties and better understanding between Beijing and Washington.
For example, the Policymakers Educational China Trip Program is operated by the US-China Policy Foundation that was launched in 1995. It allows for short tours of US officials across China in order to provide them with “firsthand insight into the significant issues” between the states, according to the program’s website.
In August 2019, a group of American congressional staffers visited Beijing, Shanghai and Kunming, the capital of the southwestern Yunnan province, where they met with various Chinese state officials, diplomats and academics, and did some sightseeing. A similar trip was conducted in April 2019, when a US delegation visited Beijing and the Hainan Island in the South China Sea.