Monday 28 November 2022 11:09 PM White House REFUSES to condemn China's crackdown on COVID protesters chanting ... trends now
The White House steered away from speaking out against China's response to protesters on Monday, saying it supported anyone's right to peacefully protest - but falling far short of offering solidarity with demonstrators demanding the removal of President Xi Jinping.
Earlier Chinese police tightened security at the sites of weekend protests in Shanghai and Beijing.
Crowds had gathered in anger over China's zero-Covid policies, and in some cases demanded the removal of Xi.
'We want freedom,' has become their rallying cry.
While President Joe Biden has recently spoken up enthusiastically in favor of protests in Iran, this time officials said he had no plan to comment on China.
'The president's not gonna speak for protesters around the world,' said White House National Security Council official John Kirby when asked about Biden's response to protesters freedom chants.
'They're speaking for themselves ...
'What we are doing is making it clear that we support the right of peaceful protest.'
White House spokesman John Kirby on Monday said the administration supported the right to peaceful protest, but avoided any more forceful endorsement of protests in China
Protesters in China have taken to holding blank pieces of paper, in a symbol of what they aren't allowed to say - seen here in Beijing on Sunday amid 'zero COVID' protests
Epidemic-prevention workers in protective suits line leave a testing station as outbreaks of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue in Beijing. The country's policy of using lockdowns to contain outbreaks has triggered a wave of demonstrations and anger
The cautious approach has angered Republican lawmakers who believe the Biden administration should take a tougher stance.
However, it mirrors previous approaches to demonstrations in China, where authorities have been keen to portray legitimate grievances as the result of foreign interference.
For his part, Kirby steered carefully around China's zero COVID policy.
'We've made it clear ...that a lockdown is not a policy that we're going to support here,' he said.
'We've come a long way over these last three years ... in terms of treating COVID and preventing COVID.
'So we've said you know, a lockdown is not a policy that we support here.
'But obviously there are people in China that that have have concerns about that, and they're protesting that and we believe they should be able to do that peacefully.'
President Joe Biden has recently expressed hope that protesters in Iran would soon find freedom, but has steered clear of any similar sentiment when it comes to demonstrators in China urging the removal of Xi Jinping (right) from power
It followed a similar statement issued by the White House in which it expressed support for the principle of peaceful protest and reservations about a 'zero COVID' policy.
That was not enough for China hawks, such as Republican Rep. Mike Waltz who dismissed Biden's response as 'weak.'
Waltz, one of the 15 members of the House China Task Force, told DailyMail.com: 'The White House statement Monday reiterated 'everyone has the right to protest', but didn't go far enough in condemning the CCP, according to Republican lawmakers.
'The Biden Administration isn't doing enough to call out the Chinese Communist Party for their overt atrocities and this isn't just about COVID policies,' Waltz told DailyMail.com.
'Weakness is provocative and Biden can do more than simply issue a press statement to call out the repression taking place in many cities and factories across China that supply American corporations.'
Texas Senator Ted Cruz weighed in on Twitter, calling the statement 'pitiful.'
The Biden administration's statement regarding anti-COVID lockdowns in China didn't go far enough to condemn the CCP, Rep. Michael Waltz told DailyMail.com. Pictured: Protesters march at a rally in Beijing Monday against China's 'Zero COVID' policies
Waltz said Biden's response to the CCP 'atrocities' shows 'weakness' considering no action was taken against Beijing
'At a potentially historic inflection point, Dems shill for the CCP,' the GOP lawmaker added. 'Pure weakness from the Biden administration. It's almost as if Biden wishes he was driving a tank in Tiananmen Square…..'
Waltz is one of the most hawkish members of Congress when it comes to cracking down on China, even claiming that there is a 'Cold War with the Chinese Communist Party.' He was the first member of Congress to call for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics due to Beijing's genocide of Chinese Uyghur populations.
China is imposing some of the world's strictest COVID measures under a policy known as 'Zero COVID', which includes mass lockdowns, quarantines or isolations and widespread testing in areas where cases are reported.
This has led to tens of millions of people being forced to live under some kind of lockdown.
The White House National Security Council said:
'We've said that zero COVID is not a policy we pursuing (sic) here in the United States,' the NSC spokesperson wrote in their statement. '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.'
'We've long said everyone has the right to peacefully protest, here in the United States and around the world,' they wrote. This