FCC Chairman to Chinese spokesperson: Can I speak to this long list of “disappeared” coronavirus whistleblowers?

Last Sunday the NY Times published a piece by China’s ambassador to America titled “China and the U.S. Must Cooperate Against Coronavirus.” On the surface it’s meant to sound like polite international blather about unity but what it mostly sounds like is Chinese propaganda about their terrific response to the virus. Here’s a sample:

Let’s acknowledge there has been unpleasant talk between our nations about this disease. But this is not the time for finger-pointing. This is a time for solidarity, collaboration and mutual support…

At a time when solidarity is essential, we need to keep cool heads and clearly say “no” to the folly of fanning racism and xenophobia, and to scapegoating other countries or races.

A shorter version would say: Stop blaming the virus on the CCP! Notice there’s no mention of China’s global PR effort to blame the virus on U.S. soldiers. As of today, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman who spread that lie is still on the job.

On Tuesday a State Department spokesperson offered a response to the ambassador’s piece which had the same superficially friendly tone and the same underlying edge. It asked that international teams be allowed to “investigate how the outbreak began in China.” That’s more subtle than saying “Chinese virus” as Trump has done but the point is pretty much the same. And for good measure she threw in a request that China “allow citizens free speech.”

The bit about free speech was apparently too much. Yesterday a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman responded by first suggesting people in China were free to talk about the virus and secondly suggesting people in America, specifically Captain Crozier, were not. This is literally the country that has put over a million Uighurs in re-education camps trying to lecture the United States about respecting personal freedom.

And that’s when FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr dropped the hammer on the Chinese flak by asking to speak to a number of Chinese whistleblowers who have disappeared, starting with Dr. Ai Fen and followed by Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin.

And he just kept going:

He asked to speak to Dr. Li Wenliang, who died from the virus two months ago. Clearly, Carr is just trying to pour salt in the wound.

And of course these are just the names we know. But China has cracked down on thousands of people for deviating from the party line on the coronavirus. Hundreds of those people ended up in administrative detention. Carr’s final tweet is just a thing of beauty: “@SpokespersonCHN does your offer still stand? Or has it suddenly disappeared as things tend to do over there?”

I’ve rarely seen a more brutal beatdown on Twitter or one more richly deserved. People responded to the thread with gifs.

It’s just a shame that Twitter, along with most western social media, is blocked by the Great Firewall. But apparently some Chinese users escape the censors using virtual private networks. Hopefully this thread is being copied over to Chinese sites and shared widely today.

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