I was literally getting ready to go to sleep when former Vice President Joe Biden’s gaffes hit social media like a firestorm. Honestly, I’ve never laughed as much as I have tonight.
I know I should be more sensitive to the situation because I’m actually concerned about Biden’s well being. But his statements are just mind blowing and Democrats are avoiding the elephant in the room.
Biden actually said during his online discussion that President Donald Trump is wrong to hold China accountable for the Coronavirus outbreak because Americans can’t distinguish “between a South Korean and someone from Beijing.”
The Democratic presidential hopeful also made strange comments and gaffes during the online appearance regarding nurses that tended to him at Walter Reed. He said that nurses would drive home to get him pillows and some of them would blow in his nose to get him to move.
If I’m actually asleep and dreaming this I hope someone wakes me up.
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CHINA: Republicans demand answers from State Department on diplomats detained by CCP
House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY-1) and House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken requesting information on American diplomats being detained by China in COVID-19 quarantine camps.
According to the letter, citing “U.S. Embassy officials in Beijing,” China has held 16 U.S. diplomats and their relatives in COVID-19 quarantine camps against their will, and they have been “subjected to strict confinement measures with no definitive release date.”
The letter expresses concerns that these diplomats are at risk of divulging intelligence and classified information while being in these camps. The letter cites a Washington Post article from July and whistleblowers as stating that the Chinese government has “engaged in a sustained campaign to deprive U.S. diplomats of their liberties under the guise of COVID-19 containment.”
Examples that the letter gives, citing “documents on file with committee” [which is presumably either the Committee on Oversight and Reform, or the Committee on Foreign Affairs] include China “improperly” testing US diplomats for medical conditions beyond COVID-19, isolating diplomatic families in “fever clinics” for prolonged periods of time, and attempting to separate diplomats’ children from their parents.
In January, US diplomats had petitioned the State Department to allow them to leave China over China’s treatment of them during the pandemic. At that time, two anonymous sources spoke to Reuters claiming that some in the embassy believed that “the U.S. government has been unwilling or unable to exempt American officials from strict quarantine measures.” According to Reuters, at one point as much as a quarter of US embassy staff and their family in China wanted to be evacuated.
The letter also claimed that China has killed over 30 American intelligence assets in China during the Obama administration.
Chinese officials claim the allegations surrounding the quarantining of US diplomats and their families are false. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning called the allegations “absurd and groundless,” and praised China’s COVID-19 quarantine policies as “open and transparent,” stating that China “adopts a science-based and effective epidemic prevention protocol for both Chinese and foreigners coming to China without discrimination.” Mao also accused the Congressmen who authored the letter of “China phobia.”
China similarly denied the allegations after the Washington Post story broke in July. At the time, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stated that China had been following the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and that “[f]oreign diplomatic and consular personnel in China are obliged to respect and comply with the Chinese regulations on pandemic prevention[…].”
China’s detention of American diplomats under the cover of quarantine demonstrates that the Chinese Communist Party can act against American interests with impunity. Coupled with the recent story that China maintains a covert police station in New York City, China continues to erode American power both in the US and abroad. The State Department should act swiftly to protect American diplomats and their families in China.
You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic
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