Many on the left and in the media have been advocating for increased censorship and limiting of freedoms. Their commitment to silencing opposition has led them to admire totalitarian regimes such as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). One recent article in the New York Times went so far as to claim China offers freedom.
Earlier this month, the New York Times ran an article entitled “In a Topsy-Turvy Pandemic World, China Offers Its Version of Freedom.” The article uses the anecdotal opinions of three men who have returned to China from other countries, including the U.S., to enjoy the “freedom” China offers. The article celebrates China’s COVID-19 response, claiming it has afforded its people the freedom of movement that those in the West are now denied. America’s “paper of record” has increasingly published Chinese propaganda as it celebrates China.
The article opens by profiling Duncan Clark, a businessman and author who was returning to China after spending nine months in the U.S. and France. It states that Clark had been spending more time outside of China to “get away from air pollution, censored internet and an increasingly depressing political environment…. But when he returned to China in October, he felt something new: safe, energized and free,” the article states. “‘The ability to just live a normal life is pretty amazing,’ he said.”
The article goes on to claim that China “has become one of the safest places in the world.” This is the same China that the State Department recently claimed is guilty of genocide against the Uyghurs. China’s reportedly low numbers of COVID-19 cases are celebrated compared to the numbers in the U.S. The article states that Chinese citizens can return to normal, and the Chinese economy is projected to surpass the United States by 2028:
“The pandemic has upended many perceptions, including ideas about freedom. Citizens of China don’t have freedom of speech, freedom of worship or freedom from fear — three of the four freedoms articulated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt — but they have the freedom to move around and lead a normal day-to-day life. In a pandemic year, many of the world’s people would envy this most basic form of freedom.”
The author continues by criticizing U.S. freedoms, noting:
“The global crisis could plant doubts about other types of freedom. Nearly half of voting Americans supported a president who ignored science and failed to take basic precautions to protect their country. Some Americans assert that it is their individual right to ignore health experts’ recommendations to wear masks, putting themselves and others at increasing risk of infection. The internet, which was supposed to give a voice to the voiceless, became a useful tool for autocrats to control the masses and for political groups to spread misinformation.”
The irony is palpable. The Chinese government controls the spread of information in China and the Internet serves as its tool. The CCP deliberately suppressed vital information about COVID-19 in the beginning stages of the pandemic but has continually blamed the United States for the crisis. Now, China is spreading doubts about the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and suggesting that the virus originated in a U.S. military laboratory in order to save face regarding the ineffectiveness of its own vaccine.
Meanwhile in the U.S., tech giants have begun censoring political speech it doesn’t like, going so far as to ban a sitting U.S. president from social media. Yet those on the left celebrate a few billionaires controlling the flow of information. The New York Times is also its own source of irony, as it has routinely published Chinese propaganda. While the paper has removed some propaganda, it continues to publish articles celebrating the CCP’s response to COVID-19.
The New York Times’s glowing celebration of Chinese communism is disturbing to say the least. The article claims that in comparison to the failures of the United States regarding COVID-19, China’s response has “given currency” to the Chinese model of promising “prosperity and stability in exchange for its unrelenting grip on political power.”
The author writes, “But the West may find it has to work harder to sell its vision of freedom after China has made its model seem so attractive.”
There is nothing attractive about the Chinese model. The New York Times claims Chinese citizens don’t have freedom of speech, freedom of worship, or freedom from fear, yet they are somehow freer than those in the West because they are allowed to shop and travel within the cities. Notice the New York Times uses FDR’s freedoms, not the Constitution’s, which promises not the freedom of worship, but the free exercise of religion which the government may not infringe upon.
If we are to believe China’s COVID-19 numbers, which are highly suspect considering that the CCP was willing to sacrifice the safety of the entire globe in order to save face and continues to spread misinformation, this is an example of exchanging freedom for supposed security. As the New York Times admits, the CCP does not even offer security as its citizens are not free from fear of the government itself.
The CCP detains religious minorities; attempts to eradicate them through torture, sterilizations, forced abortions; restricts religious freedom; alters religious texts and sermons; censors speech; and tracks its own citizens. China doesn’t offer a different version of freedom — it offers no freedom.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” The CCP and its state-run media can declare China a utopia, but there are no utopias on this earth free from suffering, and any government that makes such promises will undoubtedly be the cause of such suffering.
The American media has grown increasingly fond of censorship and control by elites and has uncoincidentally continued to increase its admiration for the CCP, which also loves censorship and control.
Let us never buy into the American left’s promises of security or “a different version of freedom” at the cost of true freedom.