Biden White House ‘not taking a side’ on anti-lockdown protests in China

The Biden White House is responding cautiously to anti-lockdown protests sweeping China, with national security spokesperson John Kirby telling Fox and Friends Sunday that the protesters are “speaking for themselves.” 

In a contentious interview, Kirby repeatedly asserted that Biden supports the right of the protesters to assemble but emphasized, “we are not taking a side.”

White House responds to anti-lockdown protests

The protests are the biggest show of dissent against China’s communist party in decades, but the Biden White House has approached with caution, wary of inflaming already simmering tensions with Beijing.

Kirby was grilled by Fox and Friends to make a definite statement on the protests, but he repeatedly dodged the issue.

“Steve, we’re on the side of peaceful protest. We’re on the side of individuals being able to freely assemble and to express their views, whatever those views are. We’re not taking a side in terms of what these protestors are about,” Kirby said.

But Kirby did say that “we don’t believe, here in the United States, that lockdowns are the answer,” sticking to White House talking points criticizing China’s “zero COVID” policy.

While China’s oppressive lockdowns are more extreme than measures imposed in the U.S., Biden and his party have consistently supported repressive “public health” restrictions since the pandemic’s emergence in 2020, from lockdowns to coercive vaccine mandates.

Lockdown hypocrisy

Kirby’s claim that the administration has been “very, very consistent” about the right to protest is also disputable. As Politico has reported, Biden worked hand-in-glove with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to stop anti-lockdown protests in the winter of 2021.

Those protests finally ended after Trudeau used draconian means to crush dissent, including freezing the bank accounts of demonstrators.

Kirby told Fox and Friends that the administration won’t put words in the mouths of Chinese protesters who are being censored by the communist regime with the assistance of Apple, which limited its AirDrop feature at China’s request.

In a separate Fox interview, Kirby insisted that Apple is a “private company” despite the Biden White House warning Monday that they are “keeping an eye” on Twitter following its takeover by Elon Musk, who has loosened anti-conservative censorship.

“Apple is a private company. They have to make decisions, and they have to speak for those decisions. But here at the White House, here in the administration, we want to see that individual citizens, whether they’re protesting or not… are able to communicate freely and openly,” Kirby said.