Guest Editorials, Opinion

Need another hero like the man from Tiananmen Square

History will never forget a Chinese man who stood alone to block a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square.

It was June 5, 1989, and the world was watching.

The world is watching again. Stocks have fallen as worries climb over protests in China over harsh COVID-19 lockdowns. Protesters in Shanghai and Beijing are even calling for China’s Xi Jinping to step down as president because of it.

The Chinese response? Police have been dispatched to clamp down on the protests.

The People’s Daily, the communist party’s mouthpiece, quoted Xi saying about lockdowns: “Facts have fully proved that every version of the prevention and control plan has withstood the test of practice.”

What about the origin of the COVID-19 virus? That question has never been fully vetted as the world still copes with the pandemic with warnings about a harsh winter ahead for all of us.

China is the world’s second-largest economy and Xi’s “zero-COVID” policy is rattling economies across the globe because, once again, the lack of transparency and freedom crushes all free market instincts.

“No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the greater part of the members are poor and miserable,” Adam Smith wrote in the “Wealth of Nations.”

President Joe Biden, according to numerous reports, failed to pin Xi down on the origin of the coronavirus and the fentanyl crisis. Both have roots deep in China. Now even Xi’s own fellow citizens are voicing their discontent.

We’ve said it in this space before, but if China wants to belong to the world economy the country must abide by basic human rights. COVID-19 caught fire in Wuhan and the rest of us have been forced to live with the deadly consequences.

In the U.S., the likes of Dr. Antony Fauci and the CDC have been grilled for stumbles as the pandemic ripped into daily life. We’ve climbed out, but the virus isn’t done with us.

China should allow for peaceful protests and look to loosen the “zero-COVID” policy and announce a scientific examination into the origins of the virus and turn the corner and get ahead of these unsettling few years.

If not, we are doomed to repeat the errors of 2020. Xi was reelected his party’s leader with a mandate to keep China strong. He’s doing just the opposite. The world — especially Biden — needs to take note and stop caving in.

Just emulate that lone hero of Tiananmen Square.

This editorial first appeared in the Boston Herald. This commentary should be considered another point of view and not necessarily the opinion or editorial policy of The Dominion Post.