China has expanded its crackdown on protesters over the government’s authoritarian measures to control Covid, including arresting and beating a BBC reporter. The crackdown follows comments last week from World Economic Forum (WEF) founder Chair Klaus Schwab who declared China to be a “role model” in how to handle the virus.
Last week, Schwab told a Chinese media outlet in Bangkok, Thailand, that “the Chinese model is certainly a very attractive model for quite a number of countries.”
What Schwab calls “an attractive model” includes the denial of free speech and associational rights as well as brutal confinement conditions for millions. That approach also included the failure to promptly notify the world of the outbreak and the refusal to share information on the origins of Covid 19.
This was not the first such crackdown over China’s zero tolerance policies, which has include forced confinements and arrests.
Schwab is not alone. The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz have swatted back critics of the Chinese crackdown and defended the regime as “choosing not to kill off millions of vulnerable people (as the US is doing).”
The Schwab statement is reminiscent of the article by Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona law professor Andrew Keane Woods declaring that “China was right” on the need for censorship of the Internet. They declared that “in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong.” (Recently, Professor Goldsmith insisted that I misrepresented the article and that he does not support censorship in any form, a position that I continue to question).
Schwab’s praise before the recent crackdown fulfills the stereotype of those who criticize globalist relativism in praising China for its economic power while ignoring human rights and environmental problems. Likewise, the zero tolerance policy is praised for its firm response to the pandemic without considering the cost in civil liberties.
For the students, reporters, and protesters being beaten in the streets of cities like Shanghai, the “attraction” clearly remains in the eye of the beholder.