The experience of seeing mask-less players and fans at the World Cup soccer matches in Qatar on TV this week sparked millions of Chinese to take to the streets to protest their continued home-confinement under their country’s severely restrictive covid lockdown policies. Videos of protesters being clubbed in the streets has sparked outrage around the world.
In the US, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif), likely to be the next House Speaker, tweeted: ‘The Chinese Communist Party’s lockdowns have imprisoned people against their will—many have died. As Chinese citizens bravely protest, Joe Biden and the corporate class shrug. Our Select Committee on China will do what Biden refuses—finally reckon with the pariah that is the Chinese Communist Party.”
Republican Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla), member of the House China Task Force, complained ‘The White House statement Monday reiterated ‘everyone has the right to protest’, but didn’t go far enough in condemning the Chinese Communist Party for their overt atrocities.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert tweeted: “The people of China are standing up and demanding freedom, even knowing the major risk of doing so in their country. People are born to be free, not oppressed by government regimes. They need our moral support.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken took a more balanced perspective, saying that “while we are sympathetic to the idea that people ought to be free to speak their minds and demonstrate to express their grievances, we also must recognize that China has the right to govern as it sees fit. How would we like it if foreigners tried to interfere with the lockdowns, mask requirements, and vaccine mandates that our President and many state governors have deemed necessary? Theoretically, people ought to be free, but from a practical perspective they must sometimes be forced to obey the government for the common good. We can’t be too critical of China’s positions and methods since we may one day have to take these same positions and use these same methods here.”