Chinese State Media Asks: Is George Floyd the ‘Rosa Parks of Our Time’?

Joshua Broussard kneels in front of a memorial and mural that honors George Floyd at the Scott Food Mart corner store in Houston's Third Ward where Mr. Floyd grew up on June 8, 2020 in Houston, Texas. The funeral and burial for George Floyd will be held June 9. Floyd …
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

China’s government-controlled media outlets used the anniversary of the death of Minnesota man George Floyd on Tuesday to condemn “U.S. society” for its allegedly irreparable racist core, asking if Floyd was “the Rosa Parks of our time.”

The government of China is currently undertaking a campaign multiple free states and human rights experts have identified as a genocide against ethnic minorities in the country, particularly the Uyghur people of western Xinjiang province. Beijing has funded the construction of as many as 1,200 concentration camps to imprison Uyghurs, and other ethnic minority Muslim people, throughout Xinjiang, where survivors say they have endured torture, rape, slavery, and other atrocities. The Communist Party has also outlawed the practice of any religious faith by minors and launched a campaign of forced sterilization of Uyghur women to prevent the group’s population from sustaining itself.

Floyd died on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis after a prolonged struggle with police. Officer Derek Chauvin, filmed pinning Floyd to the ground with his knee for nine minutes immediately prior to the latter’s death, was convicted of murder and manslaughter and has since appealed the sentence. Floyd’s death triggered widespread looting and riots in many major American cities last year. President Joe Biden is hosting Floyd’s family at the White House this week in honor of his death anniversary.

The Global Times concluded Tuesday that the riots and looting did not result in any improvements in race relations in the United States.

“[O]ne year after Floyd’s death, U.S. society has not seen a turning point toward a better situation. Many U.S. ethnic minorities are still living in discrimination and inequality,” the Global Times claimed in a column published Tuesday. “Ethnic minorities, especially African Americans, still ‘can’t breathe.'”

“Some U.S. media used to dub Floyd ‘the Rosa Parks of our time,'” the column continued, explaining to international audiences who Rosa Parks was. “But unfortunately, facts have proven that Floyd’s death has not caused such great an impact.”

While pondering if Floyd would rise to the level of one of the Civil Rights Movement’s greatest heroes, the Chinese state publication concluded that such a fate was “very unlikely” — not because Floyd, prior to his death, did not have a record of civil rights advocacy, but because “the current U.S. lacks such a political and social environment” as the one that gave rise to the civil rights movement. “Floyd’s death will only play a limited role in resolving racial discrimination in the US,” the newspaper concluded.

The Global Times cited a Chinese researcher as well, who recommended Biden “launch a huge social revolution” to end racism.

George Floyd and the Marxist Black Lives Matter movement, which attached itself to Floyd’s situation, have increasingly become a staple not just of state-sponsored Chinese media, but of propaganda directly from the highest levels of the Chinese Communist Party. Last year, shortly following Floyd’s death, the Global Times suggested China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), the Communist Party’s rubber-stamp legislature, pass a “George Floyd Human Rights Bill” to sanction the United States.

“The U.S. has fallen from the moral high ground as a self-proclaimed human rights defender. It’s time for the international community to scrutinize the deplorable U.S. human rights situation,” the Global Times asserted at the time. “If the U.S. cannot face up to its own problems, it’s imperative for the international community to step in, for example, setting up a special committee and starting an inquiry.”

The editor-in-chief of the Global Times, Hu Xijin, claimed Chinese citizens “are cheering” the widespread riots and looting underway in June 2020 shortly after that declaration.

During a disastrous meeting for the United States in March between top diplomat Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and counterparts Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Politburo member Yang Jiechi, Yang cited Black Lives Matter in an extended condemnation of American democracy. The meeting, held in Alaska, was allegedly meant to give the representatives of their respective governments space to open dialogue and improve relations.

“We hope the United States will do better on human rights. China has made steady progress in human rights, and the fact is that there are many problems within the United States regarding human rights, which is admitted by the U.S. itself as well,” Yang claimed. “The challenges facing the United States in human rights are deep-seated. They did not just emerge over the past four years, such as ‘Black Lives Matter.’ It did not come up only recently.”

Yang asserted the Biden administration had no moral standing to condemn China for its ongoing genocide of Muslim ethnic minorities.

The Communist Party also published a “human rights” report in March accusing Washington of alleged atrocities, which cited Floyd’s death as an example.

Human rights reports from legitimate sources, citing eyewitnesses and accounts by visitors to Xinjiang, have unveiled a much more dire situation for ethnic and racial minorities in China. Survivors of the Uyghur concentration camps have testified in the past three years to routine gang rape practices against Muslim women and the use of torture devices such as electric batons to rape women in the camps. Men have said they are subject to rape and torture as well as slavery, both on the premises and in factories throughout China. Evidence suggests China may be killing prisoners and selling their organs on the black market. Doctors and victims alike have attested to widespread, non-consensual sterilization of women, as well as forced abortion and infanticide of Uyghur children.

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