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NR Is Not Concerned about Offending China

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Chinese President Xi Jinping walks to the lectern to deliver his speech during the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 18, 2017. (China Daily via Reuters) We rely on the support of readers like you to maintain this level of independence.

I’m the “senior political correspondent” at National Review, which is what they call a political correspondent who gets old. I’m asking for your support.

One of the many serious journalistic advantages of working at National Review is that when some weird virus seemed to come out of nowhere on the other side of the world, throwing the entire globe into chaos, I was free to dive in and uncover as much information as I could, just because I wanted to know about it and our readers wanted to know, too.

In my morning newsletter, which usually was mostly about day-to-day politics, I was free to suddenly spend a lot of time on examining viruses and treatments — and translating medical and scientific journals into plain English. And the entire time, no one at National Review ever told me, “Stay in your lane.” No one told me I shouldn’t bother trying to cover all of these complicated topics, given that, after all, I’m not regularly a science or medical reporter. And I never had to worry that anything I wrote might irk the Chinese government and jeopardize our parent company’s access to the Chinese market.

So I was free to write, back on January 30, 2020,

Authoritarian regimes don’t like admitting mistakes, don’t like admitting that problems are really bad, and don’t like admitting that they need help from outsiders. . . . Probably the single most frightening aspect is the possibility that either the Chinese government is still guessing at how far the virus has spread, or that they’re not being honest about the risk.

And I could point out that the lockdowns in Shanghai and Beijing suggested the threat was much worse than the Chinese government was admitting on

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