The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz isn’t the first member of the media to praise China’s authoritarian COVID policies, nor will she likely be the last.
Indeed, left-wing members of the media have been cheerleading China’s COVID policies since the beginning of the pandemic.
Flashback all the way to January of 2021, when The New York Times ran a puff piece describing the authoritarian hellhole that is currently China as one of the “safest places in the world” because of its draconian COVID diktats.
My latest on how the pandemic has upended many perceptions, including ideas about freedom. Chinese don’t have freedom of speech, freedom of worship or freedom from fear, but they have the freedom to move around and lead a normal day-to-day life.
— Li Yuan (@LiYuan6) January 5, 2021
“Surveillance and censorship bolster Beijing’s uncompromising grip on power. But in the country’s cities and streets, people have resumed normal lives,” the Times’ Li Yuan wrote, eagerly celebrating China’s response to the pandemic.
Years later, life in China is anything but normal. Whereas the U.S. is mostly pandemic-free policy-wise, with people freely moving about unmasked and without social distancing, in China residents are still being locked down at home.
But the Chinese lockdown isn’t like the U.S. lockdown, where people were still allowed to move around for important errands and also for exercise. When you’re locked down in China, that means you aren’t going anywhere, even if there’s a fire.
Last month, 10 apartment dwellers died, including children, because of a fire that was made that much worse by the nation’s lockdown policies.
“The blaze took more than three hours to extinguish, according to authorities — largely because the building’s entrances had been blocked off and many of the doors locked, according to neighbors and witnesses,” as reported by NPR.
Families in a hi-rise in China were locked into their apartments as their building caught fire. Urumqi, in Xinjiang Province
They burned alive as they couldn’t escape and no one could get to them in time
This is directly on the CCP and Xi’s Zero-Covid lockdown strategy pic.twitter.com/AWQ4oJA7Qg
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) November 28, 2022
Yet even in the face of such tragedy, Lorenz has been cheerleading China’s policies, portraying them as somehow superior to those of the U.S.
For instance, late last month The Washington Post — the same paper Lorenz works for — wrote a piece slamming the “critical flaw” in China’s strategy: “a vast population without natural immunity.”
In response, Lorenz burst a gasket.
“There is no lasting ‘natural immunity’ to COVID. You can get covid over and over and over again bc there are so many endlessly evolving strains and antibodies wane. Also, choosing not to kill off millions of vulnerable people (as the US is doing) isn’t a ‘critical flaw,'” she angrily tweeted.
She basically made it sound as if she prefers China’s absurdly strict, authoritarian policies to the more loose, liberty-minded policies of the U.S.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) November 27, 2022
But as noted earlier, she’s not alone in this appreciation for authoritarianism.
Exactly one year ago, Bloomberg ran a piece claiming China’s authoritarian diktats had been “vindicated” because of the emergence of the Omicron variant.
“The emergence of the highly-mutated form of the virus has provided some vindication for China’s Covid Zero approach, which saw the country close its border indefinitely at the beginning of the pandemic, and intensify its stringent curbs ever since. While other places pivot to living alongside the virus, China has prioritized weeding out every last infection, saying the health of the population is its main priority — and economic benefits will follow,” according to Bloomberg.
One year later, the Chinese economy is in tatters precisely because of its previously championed COVID diktats.
“The economic effects of China’s attempt to rid itself of the virus have never been clearer. The movement of people has been severely curtailed. During the week of November 14th, as covid cases rose, the number of domestic flights fell by 45% year on year. China’s three biggest airlines lost a combined 74bn yuan in the first nine months of 2022,” The Economic Times notes.
“Subway traffic in China’s ten largest cities was down by 32% year on year, according to Macquarie, an Australian investment bank. Box-office revenues, a gauge of people’s willingness to go out and about, tumbled by 64%. Only 42% of China’s cinemas were open on November 27th. Some of the largest cinemas have closed down altogether,” according to the Times.
The emergence of a new coronavirus variant has provided some vindication for China’s Covid Zero approach, which has kept strict border controls in place since the start of the pandemic https://t.co/rKXBo8kYkp
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) December 1, 2021
Dovetailing back to the U.S. media, they’ve also spent an inordinate amount of time and resources defending China from the lab leak theory.
The credible theory states that COVID formed in a Chinese laboratory and then accidentally leaked out to the wider public.
Despite copious evidence suggesting the theory is legitimate, the media have downplayed it ad nauseam from day one.
“Numerous outlets … claimed that the coronavirus lab leak theory in Wuhan was a ‘debunked’ ‘conspiracy theory,’ including the Post, even though no final determination about the origins of the virus have been made,” Fox News noted.
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