Oscar Wilde once said that “you can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies.” The same holds true for a nation. And, on that front, the US is despised by all the right people—including, most recently, Chinese Communist Party official Zhao Lijian.
The Chinese government evidently disdains Americans’ right to bear arms and freedom to defend themselves. Spokesperson Zhao Lijian railed against gun culture and violence in the US in a recent speech that he posted to Twitter Tuesday.
Shocker: CCP Official Zhao Lijian Hates the Second Amendment
NOW – China's Foreign Ministry on Americans' Second Amendment rights: "That's the freedom the US advocates — mean freedom to shoot other people."pic.twitter.com/LzRBxvkdy6
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) January 25, 2022
“Behind the numbers concerning gun violence in the US are heartbroken families who have lost their loved ones,” Zhao Lijian said. “This is both shocking and poignant. One gunshot after another left countless bullet holes in the American dream. The smell of gun powder drifting set people thinking and questioning… does the democracy the US champions have no regard for life? Does the freedom the US advocates mean freedom to shoot other people?”
“Gun violence has become a malignant social tumor in the US, interwoven and interlapping with other issues, including a pandemic raging unchecked, drug abuse, and racial discrimination,” Zhao Lijian continued. “It has become a severe systemic human rights issue.”
“I hope these shocking numbers will have a sobering effect on these people,” the Communist Party official concluded. “So they can reflect on themselves and take some concrete actions to improve their domestic human rights conditions.”
Before we dive into the shocking hypocrisy and sheer audacity of a Communist Party official lecturing the US on human rights, let’s run through some quick facts to dispel the substance of this narrative.
Just How Bad is Gun Violence in America?
The idea that the US is riddled with a gun violence crisis is largely a myth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.5 people out of 100,000 die each year from various forms of firearm homicide. That compares to the 12.4 out of 100,000 people who die in car accidents every year, or the 20 out of 100,000 who die from accidental poisoning.
Additionally, it is important to note that the vast majority of gun deaths in the US are due to suicide or accidents, not gun violence. While they’re all tragic, it’s disingenuous to lump all these deaths together as anti-gun rhetoric so often does.
So, too, the idea that we’re drowning in mass shootings is mostly a product of reckless, wall-to-wall coverage of isolated incidents.
How Common Are Mass Shootings in the US?
Mass shootings account for less than 1 percent of homicides. And to be classified as a “mass shooting” an incident need only include four victims. This means things like gang shootings get lumped into the image of a lone gunman attacking a crowd that the media has constructed.
What’s more, in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed, Harvard instructor David Ropeik explained that according to his calculations, “the statistical likelihood of any given public school student being killed by a gun, in school, on any given day since 1999 was roughly 1 in 614,000,000.”
In contrast, the odds of winning the lottery are 1 in 300 million.
And the right to bear firearms in self-defense is actually a net public safety positive for Americans. In fact, according to the Institute of Medicine, guns are used in self-defense more times per year than guns are used in violent crimes.
Now let’s talk about the sheer audacity of Mr. Zhao Lijian.
The Chinese Communist Party’s Human Rights Hypocrisy
The Chinese Communist Party is currently engaged in a genocide against the Uighur people, a religious minority. They actually welded people’s doors shut trapping them in their homes to (unsuccessfully) stop the spread of COVID-19. They regularly “disappear” journalists, doctors, and others who speak out against the government.
They have no right to look down on America or lecture us about “human rights.” (Even if the US is certainly imperfect on this front, we’re roughly one million times better than the literal Communists.)
But it’s more than just hypocrisy. Their own human rights atrocities reveal the real reason the Chinese Communist Party despises the Second Amendment and our culture of self-defense.
The notion that the Second Amendment protects us from government tyranny is much-derided. And yes, it’s certainly true that the military has nukes and bombers and we couldn’t overcome that with an AR-15. However, this is something of a non sequitur.
The Real Reason the Second Amendment Helps Preserve Freedom
The more realistic argument for the Second Amendment, outside of human rights and self-defense, is that an armed population raises the cost for would-be oppressive governments. Sure, the US military in some futuristic scenario could overcome an armed resistance and round people into camps, but not without a protracted and bloody fight first. That’s a very real deterrent. (Alongside our constitutional restraints on the government.)
Nobody knows this reality better than those who’ve lived where citizens are unarmed, helpless, and at the government’s mercy. I made a good friend during my college years, Victoria. She was a few years younger than me and a Chinese international student attending my college.
I’ll never forget Victoria asking me in the middle of a conversation: Wait… Americans can own guns? Not just the government? Her eyes widened when I answered in the affirmative and she simply said, “Wow… that’s amazing.”
Indeed, it is, at least from the citizen’s point of view. But that’s exactly why authoritarian governments and their shills can’t stand the Second Amendment.