China has mounted an unprecedented effort to not only meddle American elections, but also shape the public opinion of the country, which makes pale the efforts of other countries through lobbying, the White House alleged as it fielded the vice president to issue a strong warning to China and make Americans aware of the real Chinese intentions.
Hours after US Vice President Mike Pence delivered a major foreign policy speech on China, the US National Security Advisor John Bolton said Thursday much of the information about Chinese malign activities remain in the classified domain.
Bolton said that the Chinese actions are certainly aimed at affecting elections.
"I think the vice president talked about that. What we know of the Chinese intentions, with respect to the president. But it's also a far broader effort to influence political opinion through academic institutions, through think tanks, through intimidating individual scholars, Bolton said.
"It's not that other countries don't hire lobbyists and that sort of thing. But I've never seen anything like the scope of the Chinese activities.
"As the vice president indicated, a senior career intelligence professional said that what we were seeing from China really put all the other efforts, it made them pale by comparison, Bolton said.
Describing the Chinese efforts as a very serious problem, Bolton said the American people are a very independent lot and as such they want other people interfering US's our decision-making process.
"It's something that, really, is suitable for the public to debate. When we see other countries taking advantage of our openness and our freedom of speech to try and push us in a particular direction, obviously favorable to policies China wants to see. It something we should be concerned about, Bolton said.
Bolton said that the Chinese efforts is not to just influence US elections, but also influence American political opinion more broadly.
Pence, he said was using previously classified, as well as unclassified, information. And we expect there will be more on this subject in the days and weeks ahead.
"But the vice president's speech was a very important document, where we tried to lay out what we could, really, in public at this point, about this unprecedented Chinese effort," Pence said.
Senator Marco Rubio in a statement welcomed the new US policy towards China. welcome the Administration's heightened commitment to confront China's aggression. The American people deserve to know more about the scope and scale of China's political influence operations in the U.S, he said.