Kirby is a very smart and able guy. Unlike many administration lightweights who convey that they are in over their heads, he knows exactly what he is saying. He is well aware that his appeasing message is crushing to people who are risking their lives. Those people know that Xi’s regime despises America, yet sees that America is too cowed to speak up for them. They are not expecting a U.S. military invasion. They just crave the kind of encouragement that, in 1981, President Reagan gave to Poles who defiantly revolted against the Soviets and their puppet regime in Warsaw. The Chinese protesters just expect a self-proclaimed beacon of freedom to act like a beacon, not a power failure.
At the risk of belaboring what I’ve been saying for a couple of years, the Biden family scandal — the millions of dollars that agents of the Chinese government (among other agents of corrupt and hostile regimes) poured into the family coffers during the Obama and Trump years — cannot be disaggregated from Biden administration policy positions on China.