You know America's moral compass has gone COMPLETELY off the rails when the "paper of record" NYT runs an article comparing China's zero-COVID policy (designed to and extremely successful at saving millions of lives!) with the holocaust 🤮

A long 🧵…
No, one trillion times no, the countless volunteers (because they often are volunteers) who operate China's 0-COVID policy can't be compared with "banally evil" nazis.

On the contrary, they are part of the most ambitious life-saving initiative the world has ever seen.
Are there tragic missteps like with the pregnant lady who lost her baby because she couldn't get to the hospital? Yes, that's true.

And lessons need to be learned, and were: the policy changed, people were fired. That doesn't mean the 0-COVID policy isn't fundamentally virtuous.
And for every misstep there are also heartwarming, beautiful stories.

My long experience in China has taught me that far from the "banality of evil", I see a "banality of heart" here.

Let me share what happened to us this summer when my daughter sectioned her finger.
Those who follow me for a while know that this summer we did a 31-day, 6,000km road trip around China in an RV.

And that in the middle of the Gansu countryside my daughter unfortunately sectioned her finger in the RV's door 👇
We were at the time at a sensitive moment for COVID. There were cases popping up in many places and policies extremely strict.

People were especially nervous about me because I was a foreigner driving a Zhengzhou-licensed RV and Zhengzhou was the epicenter of COVID at the time.
When it happened we were at a service station on the highway.

You can imagine the anguish: my daughter in extreme pain, blood everywhere, my wife screaming her lungs off, total panic.

We checked the map and the nearest hospital was 1hr away. We immediately drove off.
Thing is, due to COVID, every exit on the highway had a COVID checkpoint with often long queues.

You had to prove you were complying with the local COVID policy before being allowed off the highway.

When we finally exited the highway, it didn't fail: long queue and checkpoint.
I was nervous because when you have an injury like this you only have so much time to deal with it before it's too late.

As soon as we arrived at the back of the queue my wife literally jumped off the RV and ran to speak with a policeman there.
Seeing my wife's distress, the man didn't hesitate a single second.

He immediately made room so we could jump the queue and drive through the checkpoint, without needing to show we complied with the COVID policies. He didn't even ask about it.

"Banality of evil", you said?
When we finally arrived at the hospital in Wudu, Longnan, Gansu it was the same story. COVID didn't enter the equation.

When they saw my wife running with our bloody daughter in her arms, she was in front of a doctor in less than a minute.

"Banality of evil", you said?
Sadly, that hospital didn't have the right equipment to reattach my daughter's finger.

They told us the only thing they could do was cut off what was left hanging and cauterize the wound.

BUT they knew of a small clinic in the same town that might be able to do something.
We thought it was worth a shot so we got back in the RV and drove towards the clinic.

When we arrived there and saw the walls covered with photos of surgeries of sectioned fingers and toes, we knew we were in the right place!
Same story there: no COVID considerations whatsoever. They gave us top priority and my daughter was lying in the operating theater less than 2 minutes after we arrived.

"Banality of evil", you said?
The cost of the operation was almost derisory 👇 and the surgeon connected with us on WeChat so we could ask him follow-up questions, which we did at least a dozen times.

The cost of this? Free. He did it out of kindness.

"Banality of evil", you said?
A few weeks after when we removed all the bandages, we all cried in relief. A brand new little thumb!
This is just a story among the 100s I could share from the years I've lived in China

So many random acts of kindness, literally dozens of strangers giving us food, presents or helping us in one way or another

There is no "banality of evil" in China, there is a banality of heart
Does China have a*holes and idiots? Of course, like everywhere.

But don't be fooled, don't let the media dehumanize the Chinese as banally evil. THIS is actually what the nazis did with the Jews, as a prelude to the horrors that came next.

Don't let them get away with it.

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More from @RnaudBertrand

12 Jan
Today I learned about the story of peace activist S. Brian Willson.

Both his legs got cut by a U.S. government munitions train in California that purposefully didn't stop when he was protesting US weapon sales to Salvadorian death squads.
He wrote a book about his journey with an intro by legendary journalist Daniel Ellsberg (of Pentagon Papers fame).

The cover is a very powerful image of the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. One of those attending to Brian's legs is Holly Round, Brian's partner at the time.
The obvious parallel is Tank Man. Only in his case the tanks stopped for him and he left unharmed. It's all on video.

Tank Man is often presented as a symbol of man against a soulless gvt machine. But the fact is: the tanks did stop, humanity won. Willson didn't get that chance.
Read 4 tweets
8 Jan
You've heard of the Thucydides Trap but have you heard of the Kindleberger Trap?

Both invented by Harvard professors (respectively Graham Allison & Joseph Nye), they both describe mechanisms when an emerging power displaces an existing one.

That's where the similarities stop.
Kindleberger was an economist who argued that the disastrous decade of the 1930s was caused when the US replaced Britain as the largest global power but failed to take on Britain’s role in providing global public goods.
What are public goods? Simply put, things that everyone benefits from - clean air, public security, etc.

Internationally public goods are things like financial stability or freedom of the seas. Great powers mechanically have to play a bigger role to provide them.
Read 12 tweets
8 Jan
To understand what drives the systematic lies on China in Western media, I like the neighbor metaphor.

What story would you tell yourself if your formerly poor neighbor, who incidentally is of a different race & culture than you, was suddenly to become much richer than you?
What if, to top it all, he proved wiser than you in many respects, foreseeing trends so as to make decisions that prove correct one after the other?

Would you accept it all with a smile or would you be incredibly bitter about it?
Would you say it’s all well deserved or that he somehow must have cheated or, worse, cheated you?

Sadly we know about human nature…
Read 8 tweets
8 Jan
History will undoubtedly find that those who most undermined human rights are those governments and organizations, like Human Rights Watch, who most pretended to defend them.

When you weaponize and politicize something, you kill it. It's that simple.
People will wake up to the fact that when those gvts and orgs defend a so-called "human rights" issue it isn't only often false but there are hidden self-serving motives behind.

Like with the boy who screamed wolf, this will lead to deep cynicism. Increasingly, it already does.
Take for instance the Xinjiang "slave labor" issue which, when you study it 👇, is disguised as wanting to "help people" when it in fact aims to destroy their livelihood so they'll - presumably - be more inclined to revolt.
Read 6 tweets
6 Jan
Wow! If you ever needed more proof that the Huawei/5G security concerns were totally made up by the US.

Here's Vince Cable, former UK Secretary of State under David Cameron:

"I happened to deal with [the Huawei issue] in government over a 5-year...

...period and I was repeatedly reassured by the intelligence community, who should know, that our dealings were totally safe.

And the same judgement was followed by Theresa May when she succeeded the government I was in.

The reason we have disengaged from China and...

...Huawei and 5G has got nothing to do with British national security.

It's because we were told by the Americans that we had to."

Read 4 tweets
6 Jan
Setting context with a few data points on Kazakhstan:
1) The world's largest producer of uranium 👇
2) Shares a border with China & Russia
3) Currently has good relations with its 2 big neighbors
4) Asked Russian-led CSTO bloc for military help
5) Key partner in China's BRI Image
Other data point: the "ordinary protesters" seem trained enough to know how to use military-grade weaponry and were well privy of highly strategic and confidential information such as where the government stored its weapon arsenals.
Other data point: one of the 3 key demands from the protesters is to "withdraw from all alliances with Russia".

If I were protesting gas prices I would definitely make this one of my key demands as well 😏
Read 4 tweets

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