Gov. Ron DeSantis is speaking out against the Chinese government’s approach to COVID-19 mitigation, supporting protesters and suggesting “zero-COVID” should be consigned to the “ash heap of history.”
DeSantis, speaking to media and supporters at Cecil Airport Tuesday in Jacksonville, said that the “people of China are right to be able to speak out and protest” against a “zero-COVID policy” that is “draconian” and “violates people’s liberties and is completely unscientific.”
“This Chinese Communist Party has a maniacal desire to exert total control over its population. Zero-COVID is really just the pretext for what they want to do anyways. And that is not a model that can work over the long term. The people of China are finally speaking out against it. And I just think we need these draconian COVID policies to go to the ash heap of history where they belong,” DeSantis said to applause.
The Governor’s comments come in the wake of protests in major Chinese cities, including but not limited to Beijing and Shanghai, which seem to be the most severe challenge leader Xi Jinping has faced in his rule, as citizens rebel against lockdown policies.
DeSantis has been a frequent and fierce critic of the Chinese regime, and COVID-19 has intensified those criticisms, with the Governor calling for “accountability” for the country’s origination of the virus.
“The (World Health Organization) is in the pocket of the Communist Party of China. They basically were having everybody look the other way,” he said in 2021. “The idea was to try to whitewash the role of the CCP in this virus and it wasn’t just WHO, it wasn’t just bureaucracies. You saw the academic community largely circle the wagons and defend the CCP.”
DeSantis is not the only prominent Florida Republican roiled by Chinese suppression of COVID-19 restriction protests. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has said Beijing’s crackdown should be a “wake up call for the world.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.