by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) declared that communist China has done more to alleviate poverty than any country in history during a Tuesday appearance on HILL TV’s Rising.
Granting that it is unfortunate that China is “moving” toward authoritarianism instead of democratic governance, the presidential candidate argued its record on poverty is the best in the world.
“China is a country that is moving, unfortunately, in a more authoritarian way in a number of directions,” Sanders said. “But what we have to say about China in fairness to China and its leadership is, if I’m not mistaken, they have made more progress in addressing extreme poverty than any country in the history of civilization. So they’ve done a lot of things for their people.”
Sanders had just finished denouncing “far-right authoritarian leaders” such as President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, both elected leaders of liberal democratic nations, when he was asked about China. …
… He did not address how China’s communist government has oppressed religious people and minorities, putting at least one million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps while instituting one of the most comprehensive surveillance states in history. In China, the Communist Party requires all religions to pledge ultimate loyalty to President Xi Jinping, who is atop a one-party system that does not allow political opposition.
While Sanders did say trade with China is potentially bad for workers because of labor competition, he did not address China’s violations of trade rules, such as intellectual property theft. As a socialist, Sanders has been a vocal opponent of free trade for decades.