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GOPers push ‘pitiful’ Biden to get tough with China over ‘zero-COVID’ protests

Republicans demanded the White House take a harder line toward China Tuesday after the Biden administration issued a tepid statement supporting the protesters, with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) urging the president to warn the Beijing regime that there will be “massive consequences” if they crack down on the anti- “zero COVID” demonstrations.

Cotton, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Fox News the White House should go beyond merely expressing support for the protesters and be more forceful to prevent a reprise of 1989’s Tiananmen Square bloodshed.

“[Biden should say] that if there is such a massacre, if the Chinese Communists use force against their own people, there will be massive consequences — not just sanctions on those responsible in China’s government or … their family members, but concrete actions like withdrawing China’s ‘most favored nation’ status,” he said.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton urged the Biden administration to take a tougher tone on China in the wake of protests over the country's "zero COVID" policies.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

“We should stand with these voices of freedom inside our No. 1 adversary,” Cotton added.

The Arkansan went on to caution Biden about being afraid to appear as if the US is meddling in China’s affairs.

“Everyone knows that these organic protests of the Chinese people are not just about COVID policies, but about their yearning for freedom, and they are dying to hear from America — from the leader of the free world — that we support their deepest aspirations,” Cotton said.

President Biden, taking part in a virtual meeting with China's Xi Jinping on Nov. 15, said his administration supports the Chinese protesters but did not address whether Xi should be removed.
Getty Images

The rare nationwide demonstrations broke out over the weekend — the most significant challenge to Community Party rule in more than three decades — over Beijing’s policy of strict COVID-19 lockdowns.

The White House National Security Council on Monday released a statement saying “everyone has the right to peacefully protest, here in the United States and around the world. This includes China.”

Protests are breaking out across China over the communist government's strict lockdowns as part of its "zero-COVID" policy.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

But the carefully worded statement did not address the status of Xi’s iron-fisted rule

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the Biden administration’s response “Pitiful.”

“At a potentially historic inflection point, Dems shill for the CCP,” he posted on Twitter, referring to the Chinese Communist Party. “Pure weakness from the Biden administration. It’s almost as if Biden wishes he was driving a tank in Tiananmen Square.”

In a statement issued by his office, Cruz continued to call on the administration to act with more resolve.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the G20 summit in Indonesia on Nov. 15.
Getty Images,

“The Biden administration’s response has been worse than expected. The CCP should know that one way or another, in the coming months or in the coming years, the United States will hold accountable each and every CCP official responsible for atrocities against these protesters,” it said.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who’s likely to become the speaker when Republicans take control of the chamber in January, said his caucus will address the issue of China. 

“The Chinese Communist Party’s lockdowns have imprisoned people against their will—many have died. As Chinese citizens bravely protest, Joe Biden & the corporate class shrug,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on Twitter.

“Our Select Committee on China will do what Biden refuses — finally reckon with the pariah that is the CCP,” he said.

Republican House members have also said they will launch investigations into the president and his son Hunter’s business relationships with companies linked to the Chinese government.

Hunter Biden, whose shady investments The Post exposed in a series of articles in October 2020, still reportedly owns a 10% stake in a Chinese state-backed private equity firm.

Sen. Tom Cotton appears on Fox News to address the Biden administration's response to the Chinese protests.
FOX News

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, released a statement with Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) pointing out China’s record of human rights abuses involving Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang and the crackdown on pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong.

“The Biden Administration’s weak rejection of the CCP’s zero-Covid policy and refusal to call out General Secretary Xi’s totalitarian grip is nothing short of cowardly,” the two Republicans said in the statement.

“Just weeks after shaking hands with Xi in Bali, President Biden and his administration have once again demonstrated that they are unwilling to stand up to the CCP and stand in solidarity with the Chinese people,” the statement added.

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island and Brooklyn) implored the White House not to remain silent.

“The people of China, fed up with communism, are protesting the authoritarian Xi regime,” she said in a Twitter posting. “The leader of the free world must stand with them in their quest for freedom & liberty.”