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American cities are just like Chinese re-education camps

People on the left are sometimes accused by people on the right of having knee-jerk anti-American tendencies. Sometimes those claims are overstated but not in this case. A far left writer and Twitter troll named Matt Bruenig really did side with a Chinese propagantist who suggested American cities were comparable to Chinese re-education camps. But let’s start at the beginning.

A deputy foreign affairs minister for China named Lijian Zhao posted tweets Wednesday saying there was no “moral equivalence” between China and the US because, unlike the US, China “upholds peace, development & justice while US pursues selfish gains at the expense of others & walks away from commitments.”

As you might expect, this take got ratioed pretty heavily by people who’ve noticed that China’s moral commitment to human rights is extremely flexible, to put it mildly. But Lijian Zhao literally gets paid (and promoted) to spread this kind of nonsense, so he was back at it Thursday with a discourse on race relations in the US, in particular in SE Washington DC:

There’s more but you probably get the gist. It’s worth noting that the premise of his first tweet is somewhat at odds with present reality. A big story in DC over the last several years has been gentrification. One study found that DC was the only city in the country where residents were actually being displaced by a surge of wealthier people moving into traditionally black neighborhoods. That change has already impacted Ward 6 and is starting to create housing pressures on people in Wards 7 and 8, i.e. SE Washington, DC. So it’s not true that no white people go to SE Washington. In fact, there are concerns among some residents that too many white people are moving there and changing the neighborhoods.

In any case, the comparison prompted Bloomberg opinion columnist Noah Smith to respond “Oh man, Chinese diplomats trying to act woke to divert attention from their concentration camps is just…PAINFUL.” But Matt Bruenig was quick to side with the Chinese apparatchik. He has since deleted his tweets so here’s an image from the archive:

Noah Smith expressed some genuine disbelief at the comparison but according to Bruenig the nation’s capital isn’t much different from Chinese re-education camps:

At this point, Bruenig shifts from comparing swaths of DC to a Chinese prison camp to comparing actual prisons to a prison camp:

Even this revised argument is absurd. You can certainly argue that America incarcerates too many people and that black Americans are incarcerated disproportionately (which is true), but all of those people were charged and convicted of crimes by juries of their peers. That’s not what is happening in China.

As I wrote recently, Chinese authorities had to come up with talking points to explain to students returning home why their parents were suddenly missing. They were missing because hundreds of thousands of people had been sent to brutal re-education camps on the grounds they’d been infected with the “virus” of Islamic extremism. There were no trials and no juries, just the government ordering people into crowded prison camps for a year or more until they can recite communist propaganda by heart in Mandarin. Those who don’t get with the program are beaten until they do.

No matter what the Chinese do to their own people, there will always be those on the far left eager to claim America is worse. That’s why Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can refer to America as “dystopian” and her online fan club either doesn’t notice or cheers her on.