Biden administration reacts cautiously to Chinese protests

Biden administration reacts cautiously to Chinese protests
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“As we said, we think it will be very difficult for the People’s Republic of China to contain this virus with its zero-Kovid strategy,” the spokesperson said in a statement. said. it was more useful. “We’ve said for a long time that everyone has the right to peaceful protest here in the United States and around the world. That includes the PRC.”

At a White House press conference later in the day, NSC communications strategist John Kirby said Biden was briefed on events in China. Kirby acknowledged that Biden had warned that the world’s democracies faced challenges from autocratic movements, but declined to go beyond the NSC comment that he supports the US right to peaceful protest.

Dream. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Chris Smith (RN.J.) described the administration’s stance on the protests as “cowardly”. Two lawmakers accused Biden of “not opposing the CCP and not being in solidarity with the Chinese people.” Statement released on Monday.

In Washington by mid-Monday, protester numbers have dwindled in Beijing and Shanghai over the past 24 hours. But show reports are spreading Hangzhou city He noted on Monday that authorities had yet to quell the anger that has poured into the streets – including calls for an end to Xi’s leadership.

Biden aides are acutely aware that protest movements can be unpredictable. Protests in China are not uncommon, but are often limited in scope and location, and the Chinese Communist Party has tended to act quickly to suppress anything it perceives as a serious challenge to its authority.

A US official familiar with the matter, who, like others in this story, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal negotiations, said the Biden administration should consider a number of factors when deciding how to respond. For example, a harsh US statement could lead the Chinese government to turn its attention to the US and claim “foreign interference” rather than addressing the protesters’ frustrations.

Despite the harshness, the United States wants to maintain a basic level of stability and cooperation with China, an important global power and economic partner to which it seeks assistance in everything from epidemic preparedness to combating climate change.

Biden’s team’s reaction to the Chinese protests, possibly his own High level of rapid and vocal support for protests in IranContinuing since mid-September. But Iran is, at best, a regional power whose Islamist regime has been an outright enemy of America for over 40 years, and there is little trade or other cooperation between the two countries.

U.S. government officials still closely monitor developments in China—including how the government treats journalists covering the protests—and have regular inter-agency discussions about how to respond.

Talks include Biden administration health officials, who just Monday shared their assessment of the Covid-19 situation in China with the NSC and discussed the extent to which the virus could continue to spread across the country. According to a person with direct knowledge of these conversations, the rising number of Covid infections in China indicates that the virus has outstripped its current lockdown strategy and Beijing may need to impose even tougher restrictions in the coming days.

An NSC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the health-related controversy.

The US official familiar with the matter said the initial message about the NSC-led protests was a bit complicated because of the Thanksgiving holidays. “It’s not the US job to comment on the protests. It’s for the protesters,” the official added.

In a clear response to the protests, Chinese authorities have announced some minor changes to their zero-Kovid strategy. Beijing officials, for example, have said they will not install gates to block access to residential sites where infections are present. But, according to media reports While detailing the changes, there was no sign that the Communist leadership was backing down from the overall strategy of isolating every infected person to contain community outbreaks that could otherwise spread and overwhelm the Chinese medical system.

Xi gained extraordinary power in China and suppressed opposition along the way. His leadership was confirmed last month at a Communist Party meeting held every five years. It was surprising that any Chinese protesters called for it to go. During that party meeting, Xi stresses continued support for zero Covid policy.

Amid the protests, the US Embassy in Beijing issued a statement. and a Covid-focused statement Reassuring American citizens in China that their safety is their top priority. He encouraged them to “keep 14 days of medication, bottled water, and food for yourself and all members of your household.”

In recent weeks, US and European officials have debated whether and how vaccines should be shared with Beijing. This month, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced an agreement to allow German expatriates in China access to mRNA BioNTech footage. In response, Scholz said he would support the legal approval of Chinese vaccines in the European Union. China has not approved any mRNA vaccine for use in the country and instead relied on its own vaccine, which was not effective in controlling infection rates.

As news of the protests that eluded Chinese censors spread online, some US lawmakers made bolder claims. Despite widespread bipartisan antipathy towards Beijing in Congress, the Republicans appeared to be the most vocal.

“The Chinese people are stepping back against Xi’s authoritarian regime and the #CCP. Americans everywhere stand in solidarity with you… Freedom for China!” representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) tweeted.

“The CCP is an evil regime” you tweeted marsha blackburn (R-Tenn.) “The ongoing protests in communist China show that the Chinese people are begging for change.”

Protests took place in major urban centers such as Shanghai, Beijing, Wuhan, Chengdu and Xi’an.

Chinese security forces have deployed to protest areas in large numbers, but have so far responded to the protests with relative restraint. Police urged protesters to disperse in Shanghai on Sunday began detaining protesters those who remain at the major intersections of the city. there is also the police erected high barriers is choosing the streets in Shanghai to prevent the protesters from returning.

Chinese security forces were openly opposed to foreign media coverage of the demonstrations. shanghai shelf beaten, handcuffed and briefly detained BBC reporter Ed Lawrence filming the protesters on Sunday. Police later said they did this “for his own good in case he catches Covid from the crowd”. The Chinese Foreign Correspondents Club said in a statement. statement on Monday that he was “extremely disturbed” by police targeting foreign media at the protests.

The representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights urged Beijing to respect the right to peaceful protest. “No one should be arbitrarily arrested for peacefully expressing their views,” OHCHR spokesman Jeremy Laurence told reporters. on Monday.

The Chinese government refrains from commenting directly on the protests. Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Monday information denied Protesters demanding Xi’s resignation.

Zhao blamed”malicious forces“for linking the deadly Xinjiang fire to public anger about zero Covid protocols. Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs removed these questions and answers from the daily news briefing transcript.

Erin Banco and Kelly Hooper contributed to this report.

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