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Statue of freed slave kneeling in front of Abraham Lincoln in Boston is removed



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A statue of a freed slave appearing to kneel before former President Abraham Lincoln in Boston was removed Tuesday morning, the Associated Press reports via The New York Post.

Early Tuesday, workers took down the Emancipation Memorial, known also as the Emancipation Group and the Freedman’s Memorial, from a park near Boston Common where it had been since 1879.

Back in late June, after criticism toward the design of the bronze statue amid the renewed national discussion around racism and police brutality this past summer, city officials had agreed to remove the memorial. Earlier that month, Mayor Marty Walsh (D) recognized that the statue made both fellow Bostonians and visitors “uncomfortable,” the AP notes.

The statue of Lincoln and the freed slave is a copy of a monument that was put up in Washington, DC three years prior. Because Boston was home to the statue’s creator, Thomas Ball, the statue was erected there.

While freed Black people funded the original memorial in the nation’s capital, white politician and circus showman Moses Kimball bankrolled the copy in Boston. On both memorials, the inscription reads: “A race set free and the country at peace. Lincoln rests from his labors.”

Created to commemorate the freeing of slaves in the United States, the statue was based on an escaped slave named Archer Alexander, who assisted the Union Army and was the last Black man recaptured under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

There have been differing interpretations as to the exact meaning and message of the now-removed memorial. While some people perceived the shirtless freedman as rising to his feet as he shakes off the broken shackles around his wrists, others saw him as kneeling before Lincoln, his white emancipator, the AP explains.

Prior to Tuesday’s removal of the statue, over 12,000 individuals had signed a petition urging it be taken down and the public arts commission of Boston voted unanimously for its removal. The statue was to be held in storage until the city determines whether or not to exhibit it in a museum, the AP reports.

“The decision for removal acknowledged the statue’s role in perpetuating harmful prejudices and obscuring the role of Black Americans in shaping the nation’s freedoms,” the commission said in a statement posted on its website.

Since at least 2018, the controversial statue had occupied the city’s mind. That year, Boston commenced an extensive review into if public sculptures, monuments, and other artworks reflected the city’s diversity and didn’t offend communities of color, according to the AP. The arts commission said it was paying extra attention to works with “problematic histories.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Shanghai: China’s Potemkin Village



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Following a recent outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has imposed a month-long draconian lockdown on the residents of Shanghai. The CCP has used the outbreak to persecute its own citizens, including through forced evictions and quarantines, and placing alarms on doors to prevent COVID-19 people from leaving their homes. The harsh measures have resulted in food and healthcare shortages and separation of families.

But of course, we wouldn’t know that by reading the CCP-run press readily available in the United States. Instead of presenting the facts, the CCP engages in a comprehensive propaganda campaign that props up Shanghai as a Chinese Potemkin village. The CCP media asserts that China’s actions in Shanghai are benevolent and wise, while Western criticism is a product of malice. Chinese state-run media also insists that the Shanghai lockdown promotes economic stability in China and the world.

Claim 1: China Has the Best Policy for Combating COVID-19

The CCP media portray the Shanghai lockdown as the best and ideal policy. As cited by a XinhuaNet editorial, “China’s dynamic zero-COVID approach” is “the best option to save lives,” according to a “Rwandan researcher and publisher,” “…a miracle for us to learn,” according to a Kenyan scholar, and “a very ideal response,” according to Ethiopia’s National COVID-19 Response Task Force Coordinator. According to CCP media, Chinese citizens have greeted the Shanghai lockdown warmly, even with “[a] mixed sense of intensity, unity and hopefulness,” according to China Daily.

Claim 2: The West Hypocritically Defames China

The CCP press also accuses the West of lying about the Shanghai lockdown, and using COVID policies for nefarious ends. According to XinhuaNet, “Shanghai…has never imposed what Western media described as a ‘lockdown.’” Other CCP editorials actually accuse the West of malice. One Global Times editorial claims that the lockdown “has been deliberately exaggerated by the West.” Another Global Times editorial asserts that the Western approach of “coexisting with the virus” amounts to a way “…to drive out a large number of the vulnerable people with low immunity,” and a form of “cruel social Darwinism.”

Claim 3: China’s COVID Policies Result in an Economic Windfall to China and the World

The CCP also portrays the lockdown as necessary to achieve great economic growth in China and beyond. One Global Times editorial, while conceding that the lockdown amounted to a “sealing-off,” it is “a temporary measure to better resume work and production and to make the economy and society function more effectively. Its effectiveness has been proven.” According to another Global Times editorial, China’s policy is “widely considered to be the best strategy…to both contain the epidemic and ensure stable economic development.”

In an Orwellian fashion, Chinese press claims that China is solving, not causing, the world’s economic problems. According to XinhuaNet, “China has played a decisive role in stabilizing the global economy and resuming the supply chain disrupted by COVID-19.” Citing a Bloomberg article, the same XinhuaNet editorial claims that China “has prevented a huge number of deaths at home and ensured that everything from iPhones and Teslas to fertilizer and car parts continues to flow to the rest of the world.” Chinese citizens, of course, are collateral damage: Ji Qiwei, vice-general manager of SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle, stated that “The domestic market may be impacted a little by the COVID-19 outbreak this year, but our export market will continue to see strong growth,” according to China Daily.

While the world continues to suffer economic and human damage as a result of COVID-19, China continues to revise history regarding its role. Through its propaganda in its English publications of Xinhua, China Daily, and Global Times, China seeks to portray itself as a benevolent force in the fight against the virus.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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