The New York Times editorial page is apparently now on board for promoting “law and order,” so long as it’s from the Communist Party of China.
In a breathtakingly tone-deaf and hypocritical move, the NYT published an op-ed Thursday glorifying the Chinese government’s crackdown on Hong Kong pro-democracy protestors, just months after it guillotined its own editor for allowing Sen. Tom Cotton to defend law and order in the same opinion pages.
The propaganda piece, bluntly titled “Hong Kong Is China, Like It Or Not,” was written by Beijing frontwoman Regina Ip. The Hong Kong Executive Councilwoman and legislator used the influential outlet to insist the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement was just bad for business and order. As such, “something had to be done, and the Chinese authorities did it.”
Included in the piece is her support for conveniently delayed elections and a gleeful recounting of how democratic groups have been forced to flee after Xi’s “security” law was enacted — a policy she used her government position to make happen.
The law, which was passed in July with no approval from the people of Hong Kong, mandated harsh punishments for dissidents. Violations of the law can include any attempt of protesters to work with the international community, any talk of independence, and even charges of “terrorism” for demonstrators who disrupt traffic. Punishments include lifetime imprisonment.
The New York Time’s appears to have ruled this a perspective befitting their editorial and moral standards just four months after Cotton’s op-ed was deemed dangerous.
Cotton’s essay drew a clear line of difference between violent looters and peaceful protesters, and is clear that law abiding demonstrators are well within their rights. The senator and combat veteran’s position was supported by 58 percent of the American public at the time of publication — hardly a radical’s corner.
Ip’s article, on the other hand, casts the entire pro-democracy movement as violent and disorganized, while calling supporters “radical” on account of their opposition to Xi Jinping’s security law.
The difference in New York Times staff reaction to each op-ed is stark. After Cotton’s op-ed ran, young, progressive writers unwittingly exposed to an opposing argument were outraged, and the Times quickly fell into full retreat.
Running this puts Black @nytimes staff in danger. pic.twitter.com/nI887cUYjQ
— Kwame Opam (@kwameopam) June 3, 2020
The hammer fell swiftly on the head of James Bennet, the editor of the opinion page who explicitly disagreed with Cotton’s ideas but thought the paper would be better “debating influential ideas openly, rather than letting them go unchallenged.”
After “discussions” with the corporation’s owner, and solemnly apologizing for his “error in judgement,” Bennet fell on his own sword.
Reading Cotton’s piece now, you’ll see a prefix and apology from the NYT’s editor. It states that “given the life-and-death importance of the topic, the senator’s influential position and the gravity of the steps he advocates, the essay should have undergone the highest level of scrutiny.” The editor goes on to call the piece “needlessly harsh and falls short of the thoughtful approach that advances useful debate.”
A few questions, then, for the New York Times. Given the life-and-death importance of the fall of Hong Kong for its citizens, did this essay go through the same level of scrutiny as did Sen. Cotton’s? Would supporting the exile of those placing their lives in danger to fight for democracy fall under the category of “needlessly harsh?” And would you call Ip’s words the thoughtful approach the New York Times aspires to?
We look forward to hearing your answers.
This article has been edited since publication.