(Minghui.org) Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State, gave a speech at the Voice of America (VOA) Headquarters in Washington D.C. on January 11, emphasizing the threat posed by communist China and the responsibility of America to defend freedom and rights for the people.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, spoke on safeguarding freedom and countering the CCP.

“Keep Your Faith, And Tell The Truth”

Pompeo began his talk by thanking the staff members and leadership of the VOA. He described his past career as an army officer in West Germany during the Cold War, when VOA was critical in getting the message of freedom out to those who lived in authoritarian communism.

“VOA’s listeners wanted the truth, and that’s what you gave them,” he emphasized, quoting the pledge when the organization made its first broadcast in 1942, “The news may be good. The news may be bad. But we’ll tell you the truth.”

“Telling the truth” also aligns with Pompeo's personal beliefs and life. For example, he often told his son to “work hard, keep your faith, and tell the truth.” A similar view was also seen in the VOA’s mission of being “accurate, objective, and comprehensive” to “represent America,” as defined by its parental agency, the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM).

This is because freedom and democracy are America's core values. “We were indeed the first nation founded on the central belief that all human beings are endowed with certain unalienable rights and that governments are instituted to secure those God-given rights,” he explained.

There are also challenges. “We have always striven for a more perfect union. And goodness knows we don’t always get it right. Therefore we need both pride and humility about our past and our present. We need the truth,” he continued, “But it’s very clear that when Americans have united around our founding values, be it in Philadelphia, at Gettysburg, at Seneca Falls, or during Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, we have made good on our founding promise time and time again.”

Holding onto principles are even more important in these down times. “When the Chinese Communist Party attempted to exploit the tragic death of George Floyd to claim their authoritarian system was somehow superior to ours, I issued a statement, which read in part: ‘During the best of times, the People’s Republic of China ruthlessly imposes communism. But amid the most difficult challenge, the United States secures freedom,’” Pompeo continued.

“There is no moral equivalence. This is a self-evident truth,” he said, “It is not fake news for you to broadcast that this is the greatest nation in the history of the world and the greatest nation that civilization has ever known. Indeed, I’m not saying this to ignore our faults. Indeed, just the opposite; it is to acknowledge them. But this isn’t the Vice of America, focusing on everything that’s wrong with our great nation. It’s the Voice of America. It certainly isn’t the place to give authoritarian regimes in Beijing or Tehran a platform.”

“Your mission is to promote democracy, freedom, and American values all across the world. It’s a U.S. taxpayer-funded institution aimed squarely at that,” he added.

Bringing Truth and Light to People

Unfortunately, efforts to safeguard the freedom have dwindled since the Cold war ended. “The Soviet Union had collapsed. The Wall had come down... In fact, many wrote that history was over... and VOA lost its commitment to its founding mission,” Pompeo said, “Its broadcasts had become less about telling the truth about America, and too often about demeaning America.”

This is wrong. “We’re all parts of institutions with duties and responsibilities higher and bigger and more important than any one of us individually. But this kind of censorial instinct is dangerous. It’s morally wrong. Indeed, it’s against your statutory mandate here at VOA,” he explained, “Censorship, wokeness, political correctness, it all points in one direction – authoritarianism, cloaked as moral righteousness.”

“It’s similar to what we’re seeing at Twitter, and Facebook, and Apple, and on too many university campuses today,” he continued, “It’s not who we are. It’s not who we are as Americans, and it’s not what Voice of America should be.”

He said the Trump administration has worked on fixing these national security threats. “We want to reorient VOA to its mission of truth and unbiased reporting. We want to depoliticize what takes place here. It’s too important for the American people and for the world. Returning this organization to its charter and its charge to spread the message of freedom, democracy,” he added.

“This isn’t about politicizing these institutions. We’re trying to take politics out,” he said, “As Secretary of State, I am telling you all of this because I want the best for the people here and for this organization because you are vital to helping America shine light into the darkest places, with the power that only America can muster.”

The threat from communist is real. “Governments like those in China, Iran, North Korea, they don’t have the respect for the universal dignity of every human being in the way that America does. Indeed, that is what America was founded upon,” he explained, “We – we know that government exists to serve people. They – they believe that people exist to serve government.”

“There are oppressed people all over the globe who still turn to America for hope,” Pompeo said, citing a quote from George Washington to conclude his speech, “Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.”

Protecting Human Rights

After his speech, Pompeo also answered some questions submitted through VOA director Robert Riley.

When speaking of prioritization for fundamental rights, Pompeo mentioned a report from the The Unalienable Rights Commission. He said, “it’s a great report. It’s 50 pages. I’d urge you to go read it. You’ll agree with some of it; some you may not. But what it tried to do was to take this human rights project from the 20th Century has just fallen in – fallen away. It lost its capacity to understand the things that were contained in our founding about how human rights are formed. It had moved away even from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” he explained, “And what I wanted to do in that was to re-ground American foreign policy and how we thought about human rights, and I think the report captures it pretty well.”

Freedom of belief and freedom of speech are “two core rights that if a nation gets it wrong it will be less secure, it will be less prosperous, it’s people will be less whole,” he said.

There are also challenges to implement these in the American society and the situation varied from administration to administration. To address the threat from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), “President Trump rightly identified this when he started campaigning back in 2015 as the singular threat to the centrality of Western thought in the world, the idea that we’re going to have a rules-based system that respected property rights and human dignity. China is singular in the threat it poses to those things, and I do think there’s a consensus there.” Pompeo said, adding he had worked with Democrats on many important issues, on issues related to Hong Kong, Uyghurs in Xinjiang and others.

When asked about a recent joint declaration Pompeo signed with four other foreign ministers – Australia, the UK, New Zealand and Taiwan – regarding the recent arrests in Hong Kong, he said this was not a rushed move. Rather, it is part of the strategy to protect freedom and oppose the CCP. “One of the core problems – I gave some remarks where I talked about China and said no matter what it is they say, we must distrust and verify,” he added.

Pompeo condemned the communist China for arresting some 50 people in Hong Kong recently. “The Chinese Communist Party made a promise to the people of Hong Kong and they walked away from it. The Chinese Communist Party has a commitment, that set of understandings we have with respect to Taiwan. We need to hold the parties accountable to those commitments as well,” he added, “The Chinese Communist Party promised President Obama they wouldn’t arm islands in the South China Sea, and they turned around and did it and there was almost no cost imposed.”

The CCP regime is different from other political entities or countries. “We have attempted to deliver a clear understanding of the requirements that we have for the Chinese Communist Party and how it should behave that aren’t, frankly, very different from what we expect of any nation with respect to how they interact with the United States,” he explained, “And we do that because we have a responsibility to preserve and protect security and prosperity for the American people. Our policy with respect to the Chinese Communist Party has furthered that and this will be a long challenge.”

“The Chinese Communist Party has a clear intent for hegemonic dominance and we have an obligation and responsibility to the American people, and frankly to freedom-loving people around the world, to make sure that that is not the world that our children and grandchildren live in,” he continued.

That is why the Trump administration had taken it seriously. “The President placed tariffs on Chinese goods. He’s tried to stop intellectual property theft, denying tens of millions of jobs in the United States of America, because they would steal our information, take it back to China, build it, and then dump it here in the United States. It’s information; you talked about that. This is ongoing,” he remarked.

Since the CCP is the major threat, news media such as VOA can do a lot with it. “Every one of my ambassadors and chiefs of mission understands that China presents a challenge in their country, wherever they may be, in Africa and Latin America, in Southeast Asia for sure. And our team on the ground is working to protect American security from the Chinese Communist Party in the country that they have been assigned to,” he explained, “I hope your reporters, no matter where they find themselves, if they’re in South Africa or in Morocco, or wherever they are, observes the activities of the Chinese Communist Party inside of their country and how it impacts the people of those countries as well.”