Joe Biden Handing Out Good Advice in China, He Should Try it on Obama

Free press, questioning authority


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Joe Biden has spent the last week in China, his trip announced as tensions in the South China Sea escalated, but the vice president did not publicly comment on the Air Defense Zone dispute when meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He did make a lot of other comments, dispensing advice to China's people and government, advice it's not clear his own government supports or follows.

For example, speaking to the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing on the second day of his trip, Biden urged China to expand press freedoms and to stop punishing news agencies that report critically of the government, an astonishingly tone-deaf and oblivious thing to say even for Joe Biden, given the Obama(-Biden) Administration's veritable war on journalism. Attempts to punish news agencies for unfavorable coverage is not unknown to the administration either, with the White House media arm starting Obama's first term by trying to pick a fight with Fox News.

Biden started his trip to China with a surprise visit to the consular section of the US embassy in Beijing, where he seemed to urge Chinese youth to challenge authority. Just this May, President Obama told American youth to "reject" cynical voices that warn of tyranny "always lurking just around the corner." Obama made those comments just a few weeks before the first of the NSA revelations and the string of deceptive and untrue statements he made in defense of the disclosed activities

Joe Biden gave the Chinese some good advice. Free speech and questioning authority certainly helped make America what it is, as Biden noted. But he should also realize its advice he should be dispensing in his own administration first, especially as he looks to how far coattails can take him in 2016.