A senior White House adviser decried the “shocking lack of diversity in voices” under the Chinese communist regime during the first known speech given by a U.S. official in Mandarin Chinese.
Matthew Pottinger, the White Houses deputy national security adviser on Asia, highlighted the regimes suppression of those who sought to speak the truth amid the CCP virus outbreak, including whistleblower doctors and citizen journalists, and heralded them as “civic-minded citizens” who committed “big acts of bravery.”
“The cliché that Chinese people cant be trusted with democracy was … the most unpatriotic idea of all,” Pottinger said in a speech given in Mandarin Chinese during a virtual panel event held by the University of Virginias Miller Center on May 4.
Pottinger said he gave the speech in the Chinese language so he could open up a conversation with citizens in China and the Chinese diaspora.
Under Chinas Party-state system, “its sometimes difficult to cut through the noise, from whether its propaganda, from the wholly state-owned media in China or the carefully curated social media ecosystem,” he said.
Pottinger studied the Chinese language 25 years ago in Beijing and went on to become a China correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. While reporting, he was once arrested by government agents. On another occasion, he was punched in the face by agents while investigating a Chinese companys illicit sales of nuclear fuel to foreign countries, according to his written account published in the Journal.
He said Beijings lack of tolerance for critical voices has taken a turn for the worse in recent years.
“It takes courage to speak to a reporter—or to work as one—in todays China.”
Despite the regimes iron-fist rule, sparks of free thought have not ceased, Pottinger said, citing the months of non-stop protests in Hong Kong to resist the Chinese regimes encroachment into the region, which at times brought millions to the streets.
“When small acts of bravery are stamped out by governments, big acts of bravery follow,” he said.
Other recent acts of bravery he cited: regular citizens who were punished for speaking their minds about the regimes early cover-up of the virus outbreak; journalists who went missing after they filmed video footage of what was happening in Wuhan, where the virus broke out; and doctors punished for raising the alarm about the virus spreading.
Pottinger quoted a social media post by Li Wenliang, a whistleblower doctor who eventually died of the virus he warned others about: “I think there should be more than one voice in a healthy society, and I dont approve of using public power for excessive interference.”
The top advisers speech comes as the United States escalates its calls for China to be held accountable over the pandemic.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently called out Chinese officials for spreading “classic communist disinformation” to deflect attention on Chinas mishandling of the virus, while President Donald Trump has suggested imposing economic sanctions on Beijing over its role in the outbreaks global spread. Attorney generals in Missouri and Read More – Source