China Says 'Arrogant' Mike Pence Should Focus on America's Problems After VP Attacks NBA, Nike for 'Kowtowing' to Beijing

China's Foreign Ministry has hit out at Vice President Mike Pence after he criticized Beijing's human rights record and admonished the NBA and Nike for "kowtowing" to China's demands for self-censorship.

Pence pursued multiple lines of attack in his speech on Thursday, including the assertion that China was restricting "rights and liberties" in Hong Kong, criticism of its human rights abuses in Xinjiang and repetition of American support for Taiwan.

He also took aim at the NBA for "siding with the Chinese Communist Party and silencing free speech" over recent comments made by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey. Pence said the organization "is acting like a wholly-owned subsidiary of the authoritarian regime."

On Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China was "strongly indignant" at Pence's comments, and suggested the vice president should focus on sorting out America's domestic troubles rather than taking aim at Beijing, Reuters reported.

Hua said China would not allow interference in its internal affairs. "A handful of politicians with Pence at their head have confused black with white on these issues, making irresponsible remarks and creating rumors to slander others," she said.

China has consistently dismissed international criticism of its suppression of the restive majority-Muslim region of Xinjiang. More than 1 million people are believed to have been placed in "re-education camps" there, while authorities are working to destroy local culture and create a vast surveillance state to monitor communities.

China has claimed that the program is needed to combat separatist Islamist terrorism and that its camps are being used to re-skill inmates.

In semi-autonomous Hong Kong, Beijing has backed the regional government in opposing the demands of pro-democracy protesters who have driven months of mass demonstrations against China's encroachment on legal and political issues.

China is also maintaining pressure on governments and corporations to withdraw recognition of Taiwan. Beijing considers the island nation part of a unified China, making Washington's continued support for Taipei a long-time diplomatic flashpoint.

But Hua dismissed Pence as "easily arrogant" about other nations, suggesting the vice president was criticizing China to turn attention away from America's own problems.

She listed "the large-scale monitoring of the 'Prismgate' to frequent and serious shootings, from ubiquitous racial discrimination to the gap between the rich and the poor that is obvious at a glance, from sanctions against other countries, arbitrary withdrawal from international agreements, treaties, and misconduct."

Hua cited all this as evidence that "morality and trust" in the U.S. "have long since disappeared." Hua added that the U.S. should "cease actions that harm the relations and mutual trust between the two countries."

Mike Pence, China, NBA, Nike, human rights
This file photo shows Vice President Mike Pence at a press conference after a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, on October 17, 2019. ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images/Getty