hinese state media appears to have found a new foreign friend and martyr in the form of a self-described “documentarian, independent investigative journalist, and diehard researcher” from the United States.
People’s Daily posted a video clip on Thursday of the “reporter” named Jaron Lines interviewing a befuddled protester on the street of Hong Kong about demonstrators’ demands for the right to elect their own government officials.
“So, you think it would be better because at least if you had democracy, you could vote for whoever you wanted, right?” Lines asks. “Do you know that Adolf Hitler was elected through democracy? Do you know that?”
When the confused protester fails to respond, Lines gets the Cantonese translation for “Hitler” and reiterates that “Hitler was actually chosen through democracy.”
“I don’t really know,” the protester finally responds.
Undaunted, Lines then continues on to his next question, asking: “If Hong Kong had really done ‘universal suffrage’ how would the democracy guarantee to make Hong Kong any more free? Just because you can vote, it doesn’t mean Hong Kong would be more prosperous and civil, does it?”
“Uhhhhhhhh,” responds the baffled the protester.
While the protester’s silence clearly comes from him not understanding Lines’ loaded question, some netizens have instead argued that he was stunned to silence by Lines’ logic. The clip has been watched over 10 million times.
On Friday morning, the People’s Daily then broke the news on Weibo that Lines’ own YouTube account had been shut down, sharing an image which implies that the suspension came because he was “spreading truth of what’s currently happening in Hong Kong.”
In the thread, thousands of Chinese protesters have attacked the West for supporting Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s freedom of speech but not Lines’ own right of free expression. “Where is America’s treasured free speech now?” asks one Weibo user.
However, it’s unclear why Lines’ YouTube account was actually shut down. He also shares his videos on BitChute where they remain available. Along with slanted coverage of the Hong Kong protests, the videos are filled with your standard conspiracy nonsense (9/11, vaccines, Israel, Ben Shapiro), Bible verses, and forex trading schemes.
In one video, Lines cries as he describes how Halloween “glorifies demons.” It’s obvious from watching any of the videos that Lines is not mentally well.
According to information dug up by one Twitter user, Lines previously pursued a career in online motivational speaking, dubbing himself “The Life Ignitor,” and lives in rural Hong Kong where he moved to work as an ESL teacher for toddlers before also trying to get into FX trading.
American-born wumao Jaron Lines seemed to have a Chinese girl following him everywhere. Has she read anything from the anti-espionage pamphlet about foreign boyfriends? pic.twitter.com/lHE89PJwqL
— Sinocalypse (@64mdyft8) October 18, 2019
Chinese state media has featured Lines’ reporting on Hong Kong before. Last week, CGTN shared a clip of Lines of describing the protests thusly:
“This is not freedom. This is rioting and destruction, violence. These people are not democracy, freedom fighters, as you hear on the lamestream media in the West. These people will beat you until you’re bloodied just for talking your point of view.”