Forget his joke about a slave ship, or his choice to go “red face” in an imitation Indian headdress. This time the Senate candidate John Hickenlooper praised a modern institution of slavery — the People’s Republic of China.

In a Zoom meeting with supporters, Hickenlooper called China a “great” nation deserving of American respect. He's either naive or does not care about slavery and human rights atrocities that target men, women and children.

"They do not want to rule the world," Hickenlooper said. "They don't want to dominate. They want to be safe and be respected as one of the great nations of the world, which they are. And we should — I think that's what we should recognize."

Maybe next he’ll suggest we respect the old Confederacy as a “great nation” that produced affordable crops.

China is not a free republic controlled by the people. It is led by a tyrannical communist regime that enslaves more than 4 million men, women and children who are captive and forced to work without compensation.

The Chinese government captures, abuses, enslaves, indoctrinates and often kills Muslim Uygurs for their ethnicity and religious beliefs. Armed guards hold them hostage in internment camps operated by the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region government.

Drone footage captured in 2019 and released this summer shows dozens of Uygurs blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs. The slaves were part of a mass transfer, in China packs humans into freight cars like chattel. A video shows a Uygur man agonizing because his wife and children are starving.

Most people of China are great, as are those of Chinese origin who live free around the globe. Conversely, China as a country is brutally cruel. One cannot praise China as a “great” nation without giving tacit approval to mass enslavement and some of the world’s most barbaric human rights abuses.

“Hickenlooper is a propaganda tool of the Communist Chinese Party,” said Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, the man Hickenlooper hopes to unseat in November. “If John Hickenlooper wants to be a tool for China, we don’t need him for Colorado.”

Gardner is chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy and an expert on China. That’s why he was among the first in Congress to sound the alarm about COVID-19. He called an emergency coronavirus hearing Jan. 24. As Senate Democrats tried to remove President Donald Trump from Office that day, only 11 other senators showed up to learn about the threat.

As much as Gardner warns about China, Hickenlooper cozies up to the communists. A propaganda agency of the communist party has a smiling picture of Hickenlooper on its website. Hickenlooper owns stock in Alibaba, a Chinese corporation that developed a propaganda app for the communist government. He has been featured on Chinese state media. During his presidential campaign, Hickenlooper condemned tough trade policies intended to protect American assets.

Along with keeping slaves, the Chinese tortures and abuses women. Hickenlooper should ask Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a fellow Democrat who knows something about it. Polis recently informed a member of The Gazette’s editorial board about a “horrific” and sweeping practice of China forcing sterilizations and abortions on minority women.

“Mandatory birth control, required sterilization, and forced abortions are immoral and inexcusable,” Polis texted, explaining governments should have no role in a woman’s reproduction.

Here’s how the Associated Press explains the gender-based atrocity.

“The Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uygurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population, even as it encourages some of the country’s Han majority to have more children,” the article explains.

That sounds like Nazi Germany bolstering “the master race.” Such a “great” nation, Mr. Hickenlooper.

If Hickenlooper thinks China lacks a brutal expansionist agenda — “they don't want to dominate” — he should talk to the people of Taiwan, Hong Kong, East Turkistan (Xinjiang Province), and all of the Belt and Road Initiative countries. He should research the Free Tibet movement so popular among genuine old-school liberals of the Democratic Party.

Maybe Hickenlooper forgot how China allowed the escape of a killer virus to infect the rest of the world. No one could travel from Wuhan to the rest of China, but the government allowed Wuhan residents to travel anywhere else. Just like a "great" nation would.

Combine Hickenlooper’s admiration for China with his ethics convictions — for accepting illegal gifts in office — and it equals one big reason for concern. China is known for schmoozing American politicians with extravagant gifts. Hickenlooper is just the type they like to befriend.

Hickenlooper told the world, in no uncertain terms, he is “not cut out to be a senator.” Indeed. Colorado cannot have a senator who jokes about slave ships, insults Indians by costuming in “red face,” and calls a massive slave-owning regime “one of the great nations of the world."

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