After warning that Chinese election interference is more dangerous to American democracy than Russian disinformation campaigns, Vice President Mike Pence spoke of Beijing’s track record of “rewarding and coercing” American movie studios—which he said successfully resulted in plot revisions for the films World War Z and Red Dawn.
“For the movie World War Z, they had to cut out a virus that originated in China,” the vice president told the Hudson Institute on Thursday morning. “Red Dawn changed the villain to North Korean, and not Chinese.
Pence’s remarks follow reports that the Trump administration will pursue a hardline against Beijing amid the trade dispute and increasing cyberattacks. While President Trump is not expected to publicly lambast Chinese President Xi Jinping, there is an “administration-wide” effort to cast China as a “boogeyman” alongside Russia, according to White House officials who spoke with Axios.
“What the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing,” Pence said in New York. “China is meddling in America’s elections… To put it bluntly: President Trump’s leadership is working and China wants a different American president.”
Calling Chinese attacks on the American political system “unprecedented,” Pence cited a four-page ad in Iowa’s Des Moines Register “paid for and prepared solely by China Daily, an official publication of the People’s Republic of China.” The ad targets Iowan voters with pro-China op-eds against the Trump administration’s trade policies.
“The supplement designed to look like a news article casts our trade policies as detrimental to Iowans,” said the vice president. “China is directly appealing to American voters.”