NY Times Spent Two Years Boasting How China Beat Covid by Squashing Freedom

December 4th, 2022 1:09 PM

While the New York Times is now accurately covering the backlash of the Chinese people to the Communist regime’s authoritarian and counterproductive attempts to eradicate COVID, the paper hailed the success of China’s authoritarian approach, when the regime first made the West believe it had somehow conquered a highly contagious airborne virus.

One particularly sordid example of worshipping state coercion appeared in the paper in February 2021: “Power, Patriotism and 1.4 Billion People: How China Beat the Virus and Roared Back.” Reporters Steven Lee Myers, Keith Bradsher, Sui-Lee Wee, and Chris Buckley gushed:

In the year since the coronavirus began its march around the world, China has done what many other countries would not or could not do. With equal measures of coercion and persuasion, it has mobilized its vast Communist Party apparatus to reach deep into the private sector and the broader population, in what the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, has called a “people’s war” against the pandemic -- and won.


Beijing’s successes in each dimension of the pandemic -- medical, diplomatic and economic -- have reinforced its conviction that an authoritarian capacity to quickly mobilize people and resources gave China a decisive edge that other major powers like the United States lacked….

Even while the Times was admitting the evil of the CCP, the next paragraph would carry the message, “but it worked.” Now we know it didn’t.

In so doing, the Chinese Communist authorities suppressed speech, policed and purged dissenting views and suffocated any notion of individual freedom or mobility -- actions that are repugnant and unacceptable in any democratic society.


In many countries, debates have raged over the balance between protecting public health and keeping the economy running. In China, there is little debate. It did both.

Li Yuan in January 2021 wrote “Freedom Through a Chinese Looking Glass.” Yuan followed China resident Duncan Clark who gushed, “The ability to just live a normal life is pretty amazing.”

Yuan contrasted the authoritarian regime’s so-called success with the science-ignoring Donald Trump, and dubiously pushed cotton masks as life-savers.

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….

China’s freedom of movement comes at the expense of nearly every other kind. The country is about the most surveilled in the world. The government took extreme social-control measures at the beginning of the outbreak to keep people apart -- approaches that are beyond the reach of democratic governments.

And yet the Times embraced China’s approach.

Reporter Javier Hernández also bragged on China in October 2020:

Unlike the Trump administration, which has said it is prioritizing opening the economy while essentially giving up on controlling the pandemic, China moved aggressively to stop the virus. The result: China’s economy is growing and life there is returning to a semblance of normal, while the United States is struggling with a third wave of infections and the prospect of new restrictions….China’s authoritarian government has the ability to act in a way that democracies that must be accountable to the public cannot. But it has demonstrated that the way to open the economy is to first safeguard public health.

How is that working out now?