The name of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s key China policy adviser, Miles Yu, appears to have been chiselled out of a monument at a school he attended in southwest China, according to a video shared on social media.
Yu has attracted media attention in China since his interview with The Washington Times last month in which he was described as Pompeo’s “principal China policy and planning adviser”.
In a speech last week, Pompeo called for “a new alliance of democracies” to counter “the Chinese Communist Party’s designs for hegemony”. Beijing accused him of trying to provoke an ideological confrontation and leading the world into a new cold war.
In the video shared on Twitter on Tuesday by Chinese publisher Bao Pu, a person could be seen chiselling out the characters spelling Yu’s Chinese name, Yu Maochun, from a piece of stone. Bao said it was part of a monument celebrating academic achievers at Yongchuan Middle School in Chongqing.
The South China Morning Post called the school on Wednesday but the person who answered immediately hung up when the reporter introduced himself.
In his interview with The Washington Times, Yu, who is a professor at the US Naval Academy and a member of the US state department’s policy planning staff, was described as “a powerful behind-the-scenes force” within the Trump administration and had helped to reshape America’s China policy over the past three years.
Pompeo was quoted as saying Yu was “a central part” of his team, advising him on “how to ensure that we protect Americans and secure our freedoms in the face of challenges from the [Chinese Communist Party]”.
Josh Rogin, a columnist for The Washington Post, wrote in June last year about how Pompeo had tasked his policy planning chief Kiron Skinner and Yu to come up with a broad China strategy that could gain bipartisan support and outlive the current administration.
But Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of Chinese tabloid Global Times, questioned Yu’s understanding of Chinese politics.
“A man who left China in his early 20s and missed the key formative years of the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, Yu apparently did not have on-the-ground experience of these … he left China too early,” he said in a video published this month.
Global Times also ran an opinion piece with the headline: “Trump policy towards China skewed by academic fanatic”.
Yu has also faced personal attacks in articles published online in China.
In his Washington Times interview, the 57-year-old, who was born in Anhui province but grew up in Chongqing, talked about his childhood.
“My primary and middle school years were during the Cultural Revolution,” he said. “Those childhood experiences and memories forged my elemental distaste for revolutionary radicalism and my deep disdain for Western apologists for the Chinese Communist government and its many crimes.”
Yu studied at the prestigious Nankai University in the north China municipality of Tianjin. In 1985, he moved to the US where he completed a doctoral degree at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1994, he joined the US Naval Academy where he lectured on modern China and military history.
Describing the Trump administration’s policy and attitude towards China as being based on “principled realism”, Yu said in the interview US-China interactions had become “of substance and results-oriented”.
“[This] administration … has been conducting a most realistic, most active, most productive, most efficient China policy in recent memory, with strong bipartisan support, without apology, without illusion about ourselves and the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] government,” he said.
As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think big.