A Thursday New York Times op-ed defended the Chinese Communist regime's hostile takeover of Hong Kong.
The article, titled "Hong Kong Is China, Like It or Not" and written by Hong Kong Executive Council member Regina Ip, attempts to justify Beijing's "national security" law and violent crackdown on the island city's pro-democracy activism and activists this summer.
"Something had to be done, and the Chinese authorities did it," Ip wrote. "Beijing’s national security law is saving ‘one country, two systems' by ensuring that Hong Kong does not become a danger to China."
China, which asserts that it has always had sovereignty over the island, has imprisoned and censored countless pro-democracy Hong Kong activists. Most recently, the regime imprisoned famous pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai for refusing to comply with the draconian new national security measures.
Lai's arrest flies in the face of Ip's claim that the national security law is "constructive" in nature and merely fills gaps in existing protocol in Hong Kong.
The Times‘s choice to publish the op-ed astonished intellectuals on both sides of the political spectrum.
"I wonder if NYT will apologize for running this op-ed, which is clearly so dangerous to the advocates of democracy and autonomy in Hong Kong," tweeted American Enterprise Institute fellow Hal Brands.
Liberal commentator Yascha Mounk offered even harsher criticism.
"The boss of the NYT op-ed page was fired because he ran a controversial op-ed by a sitting U.S. Senator," he wrote on Twitter. "But a few months later, a propagandist for an authoritarian regime gets to argue that a violent putdown of peaceful protests was needed in the same pages. This is just nuts."
The New York Times‘s issues with abetting Chinese influence go beyond approving Ip's op-ed. The newspaper received money from such Chinese state-run media as People's Daily to post pro-China advertorials. It eventually took the ads down with little fanfare, the Washington Free Beacon reported.