White House criticized for ‘pathetic’ reaction to China protests: ‘Sheer cowardice’

By | November 30, 2022

The White House came under fire on Monday for its response to protesters in China calling for “freedom” and the resignation of President Xi Jinping.

NSC strategic communications coordinator John Kirby told reporters Monday that President Biden “would not speak for the protesters” in response to a question about the president’s reaction to protesters in China chanting “freedom.”

The reporter followed and said, “so there’s no reaction?”

“These protesters are speaking for themselves,” added Kirby.

John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, attends the press conference by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at the White House in Washington, U.S., Aug. 1, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis

John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, attends the press conference by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at the White House in Washington, U.S., Aug. 1, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis

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Governor Asa Hutchinson, R-AR., said Biden should “always speak in support of freedom”.

“America stands with the protesters,” he said in response to a clip of the press conference published by The Washington Free Beacon.

Contributing editor of The Spectator Stephen L. Miller said the response was “cowardice”.

Protests have erupted across China in response to the country’s COVID-zero policies. Protesters clashed with police in various parts of the country.

Protesters hold candles as they march in Beijing, Sunday, November 27, 2022. Protesters angered by strict anti-virus measures have called for the resignation of China's powerful leader, an unprecedented rebuke as authorities in at least eight cities struggled to suppress the Sunday demonstrations that represent a rare direct challenge to the ruling Communist Party.

Protesters hold candles as they march in Beijing, Sunday, November 27, 2022. Protesters angered by strict anti-virus measures have called for the resignation of China’s powerful leader, an unprecedented rebuke as authorities in at least eight cities struggled to suppress the Sunday demonstrations that represent a rare direct challenge to the ruling Communist Party.
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

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Representative Dan Crenshaw, R-TX., also called the government.

“Why is it so hard for this government to support freedom? Pure cowardice,” he tweeted.

Michael Brendan Dougherty of the National Review also reacted to Kirby’s comments and said that the White House had the “right stance”.

“And if the president is going to comment on this, it shouldn’t be through a press secretary,” he said in a follow-up tweet.

“In this case, ‘speaking up for themselves’ requires risking great physical danger to themselves and their families,” said Rebeecah Heinrichs of the Hudson Institute.

Kirby, who was also asked about China’s “zero COVID” policy, responded that the White House supports the right to “peacefully protest”.

The Heritage Foundation’s director of media and public affairs John Cooper reacted to Kirby’s response and said he did not say the policy was “absurd or that China is violating basic human rights”.

“Just a dull nothing,” he said.

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Chinese police officers block access to a place where protesters have gathered in Shanghai on Sunday, November 27, 2022. Protests against China's strict restrictions

Chinese police block access to a place where protesters have gathered in Shanghai on Sunday, November 27, 2022. Protests against China’s strict “zero-COVID” policies resurged in Shanghai and Beijing on Sunday afternoon, continuing a round of demonstrations that have spread across the country since a deadly apartment fire in the northwestern city of Urumqi led to doubts about these strict anti-virus measures.
(AP photo)

Protesters gathered in Shanghai to mourn the victims of a deadly fire in Urumqi. The building had been in partial lockdown as part of the country’s zero COVID policies for nearly two months.

Crowds in Shanghai were heard chanting “I’m sorry”, directed at the Chinese government, and “Xi Jinping, resign”.

They were also heard chanting “Communist Party, resign”.

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