Trump and the Senate Republicans on China: Compare and contrast

This is the 70th anniversary of a dark day in history — the founding of the Chinese Communist dictatorship. Jay Nordlinger correctly calls this dictatorship “one of the great tragedies and horrors of modern times.”

John McCormick provides examples of the horrors:

A decade [after the revolution], Mao’s Great Leap Forward killed perhaps 45 million people. The Communist regime still denies its people freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and has imposed a policy of forced abortion. At the present moment, China has detained something like 1.5 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in re-education camps. Its crackdown on Hong Kong escalated this week, when a protester was shot in the chest.

President Trump marked the 70th anniversary of the commencement of China’s tragedy with a congratulatory tweet:

Congratulations to President Xi and the Chinese people on the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China!

Some GOP Senators had a different take, as McCormick points out. Our friend Tom Cotton said this:

To see the price of the PRC’s anniversary celebration, look no further than what’s happening in Hong Kong: a ceaseless war against those who wish to live in freedom. From the Great Leap Forward to the Cultural Revolution to the camps in Xinjiang today, it has been a ghoulish 70 years of Chinese Communist Party control.

Josh Hawley said:

Seventy years ago, the Chinese Community Party seized power from the Chinese people. Since then, its ruthless rule has resulted in the deaths of millions of its own citizens.

Here is Ben Sasse’s comment:

Today Chinese tyrants celebrated 70 years of communist oppression with their typically brutal symbolism: by sending a police officer to shoot a pro-democracy protester at point-blank range. The freedom-seekers in Hong Kong mourn this anniversary, and the American people stand with them against those who deny their God-given dignity.

All three statements are spot on.

To fair to Trump, he is the first president in decades to stand up to China, albeit on trade, theft of intellectual property, etc. rather than human rights. He has done so at considerable political risk. For this, Trump deserves great credit.

And unlike U.S. Senators, Trump has to deal with China. He’s trying hard to strike a trade agreement that would serve American interests.

But how does Trump’s congratulatory message help get him a trade deal? I very much doubt that the Red Chinese can be sweet talked into trade and other economic concessions through a tweet congratulating them on the establishment of their regime. The regime’s leaders are as tough as they come, an obvious reality that Trump has acknowledged.

Trump need not use the anniversary to call out the Chinese Reds as Cotton, Hawley, and Sasse did. He need not call China an evil empire, as President Reagan did the Soviet Union (with positive, rather than negative, consequences).

But congratulating a murderous regime that’s the antithesis of everything America stands for is going too far. Silence would have been vastly preferable.