After 26 years in operation, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Apple Daily was forced to shut down on June 24, after Beijing froze its assets and arrested several of its journalists for violating the “National Security Law.”
“It is a sad day for media freedom in Hong Kong and around the world,” President Joe Biden said in a June 24 statement, hours after the publication’s formal closure. While stating that people “in Hong Kong have the right to freedom of the press,” Biden called on Beijing to “stop targeting the independent press and release the journalists and media executives that have been detained.”
One of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “Wolf Warriors” wasted no time hitting back at Biden’s criticism. Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a newspaper run by the CCP, tweeted the same day, “What about Trump’s Twitter account?”
While I agree that banning a former president’s social media account violated the First Amendment and is unprecedented in a free, democratic country, I must remind Mr. Hu that it’s Twitter, a private company, not the U.S. government, that restricted the former president. Unlike in China, Big Tech and other private companies are not ultimately controlled by the government.
Perhaps it’s because Hu knows that he and the Global Times are ultimately owned and controlled by the CCP, so he and the paper bark at whoever the boss ordered them to.
Or it’s simply because Hu, along with many Chinese, have long fallen victims to the CCP’s century-long brainwashing propaganda, in which they were made to believe that the CCP, which celebrated its 100th anniversary on July 1, represents, or is equivalent to, the country of China, a country that has more than five thousand years of rich history. You support the CCP, you’re a patriot; you criticize the CCP, you’re a traitor.
It’s interesting to note that while Hu used his Twitter account to accuse the Biden administration, he forgot the fact that Twitter, along with Facebook and YouTube, is entirely banned in China. Netizens have to rely on Virtual Private Networks (VPN) or other software to break the information blockade, which can get you in trouble with the authorities.
I also want to remind Hu that the CCP is no stranger to the practice of silencing its political opponents, including its own leaders.
In 1989, Zhao Ziyang, then the general secretary of the CCP, was silenced for sympathizing with the student groups and for refusing to order the military to crush the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. He was stripped of all his positions and placed under house arrest for the rest of his life, until his death in January 2005. To date, the details of his life remain censored in China.
Hu appeared to have more concerns about the constitutional rights of a former U.S. president than of his own countrymen. He told Biden that Trump and his supporters have a “right to freedom of expression.” He accused the U.S. government of “denying basic liberties and assaulting democratic institutions and processes.”
But, Mr. Hu, what about the basic liberties of millions of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China?
What about the rights to freedom of expression and religion of millions of Falun Gong practitioners persecuted in China?
The CCP regime has been accused of committing crimes against humanity and genocide against the Uyghur population. More than one million Uyghurs are detained in the “re-education camps” or forced labor centers. Women are being forcibly sterilized.
The persecution of Falun Gong has become one of the largest campaigns of religious persecution in the world over the past 20 years.
Millions of innocent people in China have been fired from their jobs, expelled from school, jailed, tortured, or killed simply for practicing Falun Gong.
For the tens of millions of people who practice Falun Gong today in China, each day they live at risk of being taken away by Chinese authorities to be jailed, tortured—or worse.
Hu challenged those who “lament closure of Apple Daily today, please also call on Twitter to reinstate Trump’s account.”
For the past twenty years, the Falun Gong practitioners around the world, along with the international community as well as various human rights groups, have been calling on the CCP regime to stop the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
All fell on deaf ears.
Perhaps Hu should challenge the CCP regime to lift the ban on Twitter in China so we can launch a social media campaign to demand the stop of the persecution.
Han Zhou was born in China and has lived in the United States for more than 30 years. She uses a pen name to protect her family in China from possible consequences of her speaking the truth.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.