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‘Not Taking a Side’ on Cause of China Protestors, We Support Right to Protests and Don’t Believe Lockdowns Work

On Wednesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” White House NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby responded to a question on whether the White House agrees with protestors in China that Xi Jinping should go and COVID restrictions should be lifted by stating the White House is “on the side of peaceful protest” and isn’t “taking a side in terms of what these protestors are about.” He later said frustration over China’s “very severe, very stringent COVID policies” is “what’s really been driving all this public protest.”

Kirby stated, “I would not say at all that we would agree with criticism that we’ve been less than firm or consistent. In fact, Brian, we’ve been very, consistent about the right of peaceful protest and we’ve been very vocal about it in China just over the last few days. We believe that these individuals should be able to peacefully protest and assemble and to make their minds known to their government there in China just like we’ve said the same in Iran and around the world. And we stand up for peaceful protest, and again, we’ve been very consistent about that.”

Co-host Steve Doocy then asked, “Absolutely, the White House is always for peaceful protests, but, John, you know what the protesters are saying, they’re saying, hey, Xi Jinping’s got to go or loosen the COVID restrictions that are keeping people stuck in their houses for months. So, between he’s got to go or loosen restrictions, which side is the White House on when it comes to supporting the protestors?”

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Kirby responded, “Steve, we’re on the side of peaceful protest. We’re on the side of individuals being able to freely assemble and to express their views, whatever those views are. We’re not taking a side in terms of what these protestors are about. Largely though, Steve, you know that these protesters are really out there about the lockdown. Their main concern, what drove them to the streets was the very severe, very stringent COVID policies by Xi’s administration, and that’s what’s really been driving all this public protest.”

Kirby added that the White House isn’t going to put words in the mouths of the protestors. He also stated that “we don’t believe, here in the United States, that lockdowns are the answer.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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