American mom who fled China’s COVID restrictions lectures US on virtues of ‘co-parenting’ with Communist Party

The New York Times is under fire for publishing a “CCP propaganda” piece by an American who wishes the U.S. was more like China.

The piece is by fashion designer Heather Kaye, who raised her two daughters while living in Shanghai for 16 years before returning home because of China’s draconian COVID lockdown policies.

Yet despite returning home because of China’s bad policies, in the piece she expresses gratitude over her kids being “co-parented by the Chinese government” — i.e., the same Chinese government that locked her down.

The piece begins with her describing the birth of her two daughters.

“In 2008 and 2010 we delivered two healthy daughters in Shanghai and faced the choice of all expatriate parents in China: between pricey international schools and enrollment in local schools, overseen by the government and with an immersion in Chinese culture and values,” it reads.

“We weighed the pros of the Chinese route (our girls would learn fluent Mandarin and, hopefully, a broadened worldview) and the cons (exposure to Communist Party propaganda and potential social isolation of being foreigners in a group of Chinese students). We took the plunge,” it continues.

This is when the so-called co-parenting began.

“The girls’ Chinese kindergarten lectured us on everything, including how many hours our daughters should sleep, what they should eat and their optimal weight. Each morning all of the students performed calisthenics in straight rows and raised China’s red flag while singing the national anthem. Classroom windows were usually kept open to increase air circulation and prevent contamination by airborne illnesses, even during winter, when the kids would attend class wearing their coats,” Kaye explained.

“Over time, the benefits kicked in. Constantly served up moral, history and culture lessons on pulling together for the sake of the Chinese nation, our girls came home discussing self-discipline, integrity and respect for elders. With school instilling a solid work ethic and a total drive for academic excellence, my husband and I didn’t need to push the girls to complete homework; the shame of letting their teachers and classmates down was enough to light their fires,” she continued.

Notice how she celebrated her kids being “served up moral, history and culture lessons on pulling together for the sake of the Chinese nation.”

Critics wondered if the left-wing Times would be just as comfortable with someone being served up such positive “moral” lessons about the United States.

Kaye continued her piece by contrasting Chinese education with U.S. education.

“The prevailing student-centered American approach to education emphasizes the needs of the children and what engages them and promotes independent thought. China stresses that you can succeed — as long as you obey your teachers and work hard,” she wrote.

So the Chinese stress submission to authority, and Kaye believes this is a good thing. Except of course for when she left China because of the authorities’ decision to crack down on COVID lockdown violators.

Kaye wrote that her kids were also exposed to blatant China propaganda.

“To celebrate Chinese culture and offer an alternative to Western influences, government-funded events were always on offer, like traditional musical performances, operas and plays. At times, our girls would repeat propaganda or, concerned about keeping up with their peers, despair that we hadn’t tutored them earlier in math,” she explained.

She added that she appreciated all the “heavy censorship” by the Chinese government because it resulted “in a kid-friendly internet, and national limits on how many hours young people can spend playing online video games.”

She also appreciated the lack of crime.

“Ironically, the tight control of the Communist Party surveillance state results in its own kind of freedom: With crime and personal safety concerns virtually eliminated, our daughters were riding the subway unsupervised in a city of around 26 million people from the age of 11. A constant but benign (and mostly unarmed) police presence kept order; streets and the green spaces around every corner were kept immaculate, and the sense of civic pride was palpable,” she wrote.

But as noted earlier, the COVID lockdowns proved to be too much for her.

“The pandemic laid bare cracks in the system. The punishing Covid lockdown of Shanghai that began in late March last year kept us confined at home for two months, dependent at times on government food rations. We had already made the difficult decision to leave China after nearly three years of being unable to see our families, largely because of Chinese pandemic restrictions, and moved to Washington, D.C., last June,” she wrote.

But now that she’s back, she wants to lecture other Americans about how the United States should be more like China.

“As an American parent in China, I learned to appreciate the strong sense of shared values and of people connected as a nation. Parenting, like governing, is an imperfect art. Priorities must be set, and tough choices made. There’s never been a more crucial time for us to learn from one another and build new bridges across the street, nation and world. Attention to the common good is a fundamental value I seek in an American government co-parent,” she wrote.

Her piece has not been well-received:

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