A Chinese government spokesperson criticized American “freedom” Tuesday even as China is gripped by rare, large-scale protests demanding an end to its strict “zero-COVID” policy.
Hua Chunying, an assistant minister of foreign affairs and Foreign Ministry spokesperson, tweeted that deaths by gunfire, COVID and fentanyl overdose are “the price of ‘freedom’” in the U.S.
Hua’s remark came one day after the Biden administration offered its first comments on the ongoing protests. National security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters Monday that people should have the right to peacefully assemble, and when asked if the administration supported the protests, he said “the White House supports the right of peaceful protest.”
The protests across China erupted late last week after 10 deaths in a house fire were blamed on COVID restrictions that prevented effective escapes and rescues, which Chinese authorities denied. Since then, some protesters have called for the country’s Communist leadership to step down.
Hua’s tweet references the more than 1 million COVID deaths the U.S. has seen since 2020 as a “price of ‘freedom.’” According to World Health Organization data, China, where the virus originated, has had just 30,192 COVID deaths – and virtually none between April 2020 and February 2021. China’s COVID data is considered questionable.
The tweet also refers to “107,622 Fentanyl deaths in 2021 alone.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021 saw that many drug overdoses in general, not just from fentanyl. Fentanyl contributed to about 66 percent of the overdoses.
A crowdsourced Twitter fact check also linked to a Drug Enforcement Administration report indicating China, along with Mexico, is the “primary source” of fentanyl arriving in the U.S.
Chinese crime data is also considered unreliable, but the U.S. and China are worlds apart on firearms. Private Chinese citizens generally can’t own guns, while in America, 40 percent of adults say there is a gun in their household.