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The White House released a statement on Monday regarding China’s strict COVID lockdown policies, offering a tepid response following several days of protests across the communist nation.
Instead of offering support to back the freedoms of the Chinese people, the Biden administration focused on the difficulty of a “zero COVID” approach.
“We’ve said that zero COVID is not a policy we are pursuing here in the United States. And as we’ve said, we think it’s going to be very difficult for the People’s Republic of China to be able to contain this virus through their zero-COVID strategy,” a National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement.
New White House statement on the protests in China: “We’ve long said everyone has the right to peacefully protest, here in the United States and around the world. This includes in the PRC,” a National Security Council spokesperson says.
Full statement: pic.twitter.com/4yOBcb8PKL
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) November 28, 2022
The statement also focused on what the U.S. is doing rather than criticizing China’s government.
“For us, we are focused on what works and that means using public health tools like: continuing to enhance vaccination rates, including boosters and making testing and treatment easily accessible,” the statement added. “We’ve long said everyone has the right to peacefully protest, here in the United States and around the world. This includes in the PRC.”
Protests emerged across China on Thursday after 10 people died in a fire at a residential building in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang autonomous region, that was under lockdown. The Daily Wire previously reported that videos of the incident posted on social media spawned accusations that lockdowns contributed to the deaths.
Residents of the city have been locked down and prevented from leaving their homes for as long as 100 days at a time, Reuters reported.
The peaceful protests have led to increased security in Shanghai and Beijing, the outlet reported on Monday. Chinese President Xi Jinping has continued to push for strong lockdown efforts to eradicate the virus despite the calls for freedom.
The pushback by China’s citizens against lockdowns reaches back far earlier than last week’s deadly fire.
“Over the last two years, Mr. Xi backed himself into a corner by owning the zero-COVID policy. The most rational way for him to handle the situation if protests continue to grow is to pressure local authorities to crack down hard while distancing himself,” Ho-fung Hung, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University, said. “But then there is a risk that local authorities might refuse to follow the directive closely as they are worn down by the zero-Covid rigidities.”
Despite the Biden administration’s response, a growing number of conservative voices are speaking out over China’s severe limitations against freedom.
“China has had enough of the COVID tyranny,” Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs tweeted on Monday. “These types of draconian lockdowns are ineffective and crumble societies.”
China has had enough of the COVID tyranny.
These types of draconian lockdowns are ineffective and crumble societies.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) November 28, 2022
Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn also blasted the ruling Chinese Communist Party over its harsh treatment of both citizens and media.
“Authoritarian regimes like the CCP arrest and harass journalists in an attempt to rewrite the truth,” she tweeted on Sunday.