Speed Reads

2020 Democratic debates

CNN's debate livestream was apparently cut off in Beijing after candidates started talking about Chinese human rights abuses

We know some people who definitely aren't watching the final Democratic debate of 2019.

Moderators asked whether the U.S. should consider more aggressive action against China Thursday night, which probably wasn't the best decision for boosting the debate's international viewership, seeing as Beijing reportedly nixed CNN's livestream as soon as the country's human rights abuses were brought up.

CNN international correspondent Will Ripley showed what appeared to be an image of a black screen after the moderators asked about China's human rights record and the mass detention of Muslim minorities.

For their part, the Democratic candidates mostly condemned the Chinese government for its human rights abuses, with Mayor Pete Buttigieg saying "any tool ought to be on the table, especially social, diplomatic, and economic tools" to pressure China to improve its human rights record.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who was the lone Asian candidate (and sole person of color) onstage, made a more personal statement on the subject.

"I have family in Hong Kong," Yang said. "I spent four months there and seeing what's happening on the streets, it's shocking."

Although maybe the Chinese wouldn't have been so quick to pull the plug had they heard billionaire businessman Tom Steyer, who indicated the U.S. needs to be China's "frenemy." Which, as pointed out on Twitter, is probably the first time a candidate has used the word "frenemy" on the debate stage.