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Disgrace: University Sides with Pro-CCP Students to Shut Down Criticism of Regime, Reverses Under Pressure

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

In a post addressing embarrassing on-air comments from a Northwestern journalism professor and ESPN sports pundit last week (which we covered briefly yesterday), Allahpundit dismantled the woke left's moral incoherence when it comes to criticism of the Chinese Communist Party's dystopian system of oppression. A morally-depraved talking point emerging among some American leftists is that due to our own flaws on issues of injustice, "systemic" racism, etc., who are we to criticize China? 

Any progressive rando can lazily parrot the line that reducing early voting from three weeks to two is “the new Jim Crow.” Those who really care are willing to compare it to actual concentration camps. Maybe that’s the new endpoint on the spectrum of American wokeness. There’s woke, then there’s extremely woke, then ludicrously woke, and finally anti-anti-genocide. Congrats to J.A. Adande on having achieved that exalted degree of social enlightenment, and to his co-panelists on declining to challenge him over it.

My personal theory on why so many of those who preen about "equity" and "social justice" and "human rights" cannot be bothered to extend their virtue signaling to cover China's truly horrific abuses is threefold: (1) In some cases, it comes down to money. Pandering to the woke crew is a domestic business decision, but the underlying "values" are fraudulent. Faced with a choice between standing up for professed principles, versus bending over backwards to avoid raising CCP hackles (thus jeopardizing financial interests), they choose door number two every time. (2) Too many on the left simply have trouble condemning Communists and Communism, and that aversion is heightened with the CCP due to identity politics. It's just not very woke to admit that any left-wing government's actions are evil, especially when the government in question is comprised of people of color. They swallow whole the lazy, illogical Beijing propaganda line that criticizing China's regime is tantamount to racism (strangely, many of the same leftists will defend explicit racial discrimination against people of Asian descent in college admissions, thanks to a separate 'equity' quirk).

(3) Right-wingers and conservatives are vocally anti-CCP, so tribalism requires some feeble-minded lefties to reflexively break in the other direction. Even if they're tempted to join the "right side of history," as they love to frame it, that flirtation is complicated by the Bad People being on the anti-genocide team. So "anti-anti-genocide" it is. Which brings us to the scandal at George Washington University, in our nation's capital. You may have seen some of this devastating art, which I'm sure the Chinese regime considers very angering and subversive, circulating on social media around the launch of the Beijing Olympics. These images were created by a Chinese artist in exile, and they're both brutal and powerful: 


Mary Katharine Ham has some background on the artist calling himself Badiucao: 

As you may have gathered from that last tweet in the thread, George Washington University chose to suppress the art, based on complaints from pro-CCP students. The university president himself declared the posters offensive, pledging to have them removed, and the "offenders" investigated. It's hard to overstate how disgraceful this is, despite yesterday's cowering reversal (see below): 


That email appeared to be authenticated by the Chinese student group (Chinese Cultural Association) responsible for the speech-squelching complaint, which boasted that university officials joined in their taking of offense over the "unauthorized" posters. The CCA's statement says that the school tasked campus police with investigating the art, which a 'Diversity and Equity' officer described as "hurtful and offensive," adding that the posters had a "negative impact on the Chinese student community." The statement went on to confirm that President Mark Wrighton had personally deemed the art offensive. In an Orwellian twist, the CCA claims to support free speech, cautioning that its members "do not regard misleading and offensive propaganda as within that scope...everyone has the right to freedom of expression; however, incitement to racial hatred and ethnic tensions, regardless of national boundaries, is not tolerated." In other words, they are "in favor" of free speech in the same way the Chinese Communist Party is – which is to say, they are not.

These CCP stooges, and that's what they are, insist that American free speech norms should not apply to negative views of the regime, while conflating critiques of a government with "incitement to racial hatred." This is outrageous and false no matter how you slice it, but it's especially ludicrous given that the artist himself is Chinese. I'm also told that at least some of the individuals who hung the posters around campus are Asian, as well. "Racism" is a total red herring here – pun intended – and it's the latest example of CCP propagandists seeking to exploit the twisted pieties of American wokeism in order to shut down criticism. To be clear: Offensive speech is free speech. And what's actually offensive here is not a Chinese artist calling out his native country's regime for numerous human rights violations; it's the numerous human rights violations. The Chinese government's victims are Chinese people, including (and especially) minorities. One must be morally blind, or in the thrall of a strange ideological cult, to miss these obvious points.

It is disgusting and, frankly, frightening that GW's president chose to affirmatively agree with the CCA's grievances and take action against the free expression. On an American campus. Perhaps it's not terribly surprising at this point (remember this pathetic display?), but it is nevertheless shockingly scandalous. A prominent Human Rights attorney adds some context to Wrighton's priorities: 


A major free speech organization waded into the contretemps: 

And as the mess and backlash grew, it quickly became a major black eye for George Washington University, as it should be. Then came the backtracking on Monday afternoon, in which Wrighton pleaded ignorance: 

Last week, the university learned of posters on campus depicting images that alarmed some members of our community, and we began to receive a number of concerns through official university reporting channels that cited bias and racism against the Chinese community. I also received an email directly from a student who expressed concerns. At that time, and without more context on the origin or intent of the posters, I responded hastily to the student, writing that I, too, was concerned. University staff also responded to ensure the posters were removed. These responses were mistakes. Every member of the GW community should feel welcome and supported, but I should have taken more time to understand the entire situation before commenting.

I have since learned from our university’s scholars that the posters were designed by a Chinese-Australian artist, Badiucao, and they are a critique of China’s policies. Upon full understanding, I do not view these posters as racist; they are political statements. There is no university investigation underway, and the university will not take any action against the students who displayed the posters.  I want to be very clear: I support freedom of speech—even when it offends people—and creative art is a valued way to communicate on important societal issues. 


He did much more than express hasty "concern," of course. Re-read his original email. I'll leave you with this arresting and upsetting piece about the abysmal treatment of minorities by the CCP: 

Will the GW CCA seek to have distribution of this essay barred on campus, too? They respect free expression, remember, unless it's "misleading and offensive" – so I'm guessing they'd seek to banish the article. What's truly disturbing about this hypothetical question is that the university leadership very well could be initially inclined – once again – to take the side of illiberalism, censorship and genocide cover-up. Astounding. 

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