The Chinese president on a visit to the United States told a group of people that he met on the street that they needed to challenge their government and change the status quo, and that people’s privacy must be respected if they are to breathe free.
You did not hear about this? That was because it did not happen. If a foreign leader on a state visit to the US incited Americans against their government, there would of have been howls of outrage and the media would have had blanket coverage.
And yet vice president Joe Biden on a state visit to China did the equivalent, telling a group of regular people that they needed to “challenge the government, challenge religious leaders”, that “innovation can only occur where you can breathe free”, and that “children in America are rewarded – not punished – for challenging the status quo”.
These are all sentiments that I heartily agree with but I find it grating when Americans feel that they can lecture other countries on how they should behave, as if they are the paragons of virtue and uphold the qualities they find wanting in other nations. After all, we know how well rewarded Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning were for challenging the status quo.