(East-West Question) Wu Bin: Under the new crown pneumonia epidemic, what is the root cause of American Qiu Ya?

  China News Agency, Beijing, April 16th: Wu Bin: What is the root cause of America's hatred of Asia under the new crown pneumonia epidemic?

  Author Gao Chuyi

  According to NBC News, in February this year, a white man in New York, USA, attacked seven Asian women, aged 19 to 57, within 2 hours without provocation.

The "2021 Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States" published by China's State Council Information Office pointed out that discrimination and attacks against ethnic minorities, especially Asians, in the United States have intensified. Hate crimes against Asians in New York City alone have soared by 361% compared with 2020.

  Recently, Wu Bin, translator of "The Creation of Asian-Americans: A History" and associate professor of the Institute of American Studies at Northeast Normal University, said in an exclusive interview with China News Agency "East-West Questions" that the "Chinese Exclusion Act" in the United States was promulgated nearly a century and a half ago. Since then, racism and xenophobic prejudice are still common in the United States, reflecting the deep-rooted "white supremacy" in the United States.

The anti-Asian violence under the epidemic is not only the latest expression of racism and injustice in the United States, but also a manifestation of xenophobia, which in turn evokes the painful historical memory of Asian-Americans.

The following is a summary of the interview transcript:

China News Service: What do you think are the common features of the current U.S.-China incidents?

Wu Bin:

Since the outbreak of the epidemic in the United States, Asian Americans have also faced secondary threats of "racism" and "Asian hatred" due to the new crown virus, and have become the target of persistent harassment and attacks by stubborn Asian haters.

The hate words and deeds suffered by Asians are one after another, and there is a tendency to intensify.

  First, vulnerable groups are more vulnerable to attack.

Most of the targets of Asian hatred in American society are the elderly and women of Asian descent.

Of the 6,603 incidents recorded between March 19, 2020, and March 31, 2021, 64.8 percent of the reports came from women, according to data released by the U.S. civil rights organization Stop AAPI Hate.

Second, in the hate violence against Asians, verbal insults are the main form, including pushing and attacking, and the proportion of violence involving physical contact is relatively low.

Third, most of the unprovoked attacks on Asians take place in public places.

Almost all anti-Asian violence in the United States occurs without provocation by Asians.

Fourth, Qiu Ya incidents occur more frequently in areas where Asians are concentrated.

Nearly 44 percent of all reported Qiu Ya incidents were from California.

Finally, the Chinese are the main target of Qiu Ya's words and deeds.

In March 2021, a volunteer security patrol team spontaneously formed by businesses and residents of Chinatown in Oakland, California, USA, patrolled Chinatown to prevent discrimination and violent crimes against Asians and maintain local security.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Liu Guanguan

China News Service reporter: What problems did the racist incident represented by Qiu Ya cause?

What are the effects on American society?

Wu Bin:

On the one hand, the anti-Asian violence in American society has caused panic and mental trauma among Asian Americans.

Asian Americans are once again "aliens," and their sense of belonging in the United States has taken another hit.

On the other hand, this panic has also disrupted the daily life of Asians.

Asian hatred in the U.S. has raised concerns about growing hostility to Asian-Americans, and it also shows the vulnerability of Asian-Americans in American society.

  In addition, the Qiu Ya incident is a portrayal of the tearing of American society.

Many incidents with obvious racism against Asia have not only seriously interfered with the normal order of American society, but also greatly depleted the international image and soft power of the United States.

  In the United States, racism is both a continuation of a historical tradition and a heavy international burden.

The "lofty ideals" and "human rights" promoted by the United States abroad are in sharp contrast to the situation at home.

As the United States shifts its diplomatic focus to the Asia-Pacific region, Asian hatred will undoubtedly hinder the achievement of the U.S. diplomatic goal.

The surge in anti-Asian violence has touched the sympathy of the migrants' home countries, prompting restraint or fierce diplomatic condemnation from other countries.

  In fact, the United States has never fully realized its professed ideal of "human rights", and some politicians have only made the gap between this ideal and reality more pronounced.

And the negative impact of this kind of tearing on the credibility and image of the United States cannot be recovered in a short period of time.

In April 2021, hundreds of people participated in a rally against discrimination against Asian Americans in Millbrae, the San Francisco Bay Area.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Liu Guanguan

China News Service reporter: What do you think is the historical and cultural origin of the hatred of Asia in the United States and the reasons for the hatred of Asia among some people in American society?

Wu Bin:

The current hatred of Asia in the United States seems to have happened by accident, but it is actually caused by a variety of factors.

First, anti-Asian racism and "white supremacy" in American history.

Chou Asia is not new, but part of systemic racism in the United States.

After the mid-19th century, this racism evolved into xenophobic nationalism that "sanctified" and defended the "purity" of the "American exception" race and culture.

Nearly two centuries of anti-Asian racism and nationalism are at the root of the current anti-Asian sentiment in the United States.

Anti-Asian violence is a form of "white supremacy".

  Second, the current attacks on Asians in American society are directly related to the fact that Asians are regarded as "scapegoats" for the outbreak of the new crown pneumonia.

The subconscious mind of American racism sees them as carriers of disease.

This has happened from time to time in American history.

Chinese immigrants are often accused of being responsible for outbreaks of infectious diseases such as smallpox, syphilis, leprosy and plague, and Chinatown is seen as a breeding ground for these diseases.

  Third, the misleading words and deeds of U.S. government officials and some media have fueled hatred against Asians in American society and aggravated attacks against Asians in American society.

One of the co-founders of Stop AAPI Hate, Huayao Zhang, a professor at San Francisco State University, proved through investigation and analysis that "xenophobic remarks by politicians" incite more racist violence against Asian Americans.

  Fourth, although violence against Asian Americans seems to be a domestic problem in the United States, it is closely related to the international situation.

The hostility of American society to specific ethnic groups is often affected by changes in the international situation.

The relationship between the United States and Asian countries corresponds to the experience of Asian Americans in the United States.

The sharp deterioration of Sino-US relations during the Trump administration has affected Chinese Americans and, in turn, Asians.

The Biden administration has inherited Trump's strategy of "decoupling" and confrontation with China.

Although China's comprehensive strength has greatly improved, as Kissinger said, due to the huge gap in values, China and the United States have not "formed a common view of the world order."

  Fifth, Asians are diverse and lack cohesion.

The Asian population in the United States has exceeded 20 million, representing more than 30 different ethnic groups, and their homeland comes from almost all Asian countries and regions.

Within the same ethnic group, there are prominent differences in regional dialects, religions, class backgrounds, education levels, political opinions, as well as generations, genders, and lifestyles.

Overall, the gap between rich and poor within Asian Americans is the largest of any American group.

There are even sharp contradictions and conflicts within the group, which makes it difficult to unify the interests of different Asian groups, and it is difficult to form an influential synergy when fighting for interests and rights.

  Sixth, U.S. law enforcement agencies and the media have not paid enough attention to past racist crimes and violence against Asians.

This is an invisible blow to Asian Americans and fuels anti-Asian violence in the United States.

  In addition, the rise of "identity politics" in the United States, the revival of conservatism, a series of social problems caused by the relative recession of the economy, the development of "white supremacy", and the identity anxiety caused by "political correctness" are also leading to the current United States. Anti-Asian violence cannot be ignored.

In April 2021, New York will hold an anti-Asian hatred march. After tens of thousands of people held placards in Foley Square in Manhattan, they marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to Cadman Square in Brooklyn.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Liao Pan

China News Agency reporter: How do you view the current Asian and American society's response to the Qiu Ya incident and its effectiveness?

Wu Bin:

Although anti-Asian discrimination and violence are not new in the United States, the intensifying anti-Asian violence in American society has become a "key crossroads" that determines the future of Asian-Americans.

The racist incidents represented by Qiu Ya are the structural shackles of American society.

Asian Americans are generally consciously awakened, and they use their economic, political, cultural, educational and other resources to actively respond to the current anti-Asian violence in the United States.

Rally and march, pay attention to the protection of vulnerable groups such as women, old and young, buy self-defense weapons, strengthen the activities and voices of Asian groups, establish more institutions to promote the rights and justice of Asians, actively participate in social media, and take action by business and civil rights organizations , pressure on governments at all levels, etc., have become the current response measures taken by Asians.

  Anti-Asian sentiment has also aroused widespread concern in American society.

U.S. governments at all levels have condemned Qiu Ya’s words and deeds, and issued corresponding policies and regulations to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Asians and the order of their lives.

At the federal level, Biden signed an executive order in the first week of his presidency, promising to crack down on discrimination against Asians.

It is part of a series of administrative initiatives centered on racial equality.

  For the first time in more than 30 years, the U.S. Congress held a hearing on the issue of anti-Asian violence to discuss the current issue of Asian hatred in the United States in order to seek mitigation measures.

State governments have also adopted relevant policies to deal with the growing anti-Asian violence in the United States.

Local officials and citizens also proposed measures such as increasing police presence, volunteer patrols and setting up dedicated lines.

Asian Americans have also received solidarity from other ethnic groups and organizations in their struggle to resist the Asian-Asian incident and defend their rights.


Interviewee Profile:

  Wu Bin, Ph.D. in history, translator of the book "The Creation of Asian America: A History", is currently an associate professor at the Institute of American Studies at Northeast Normal University, researching American immigration and ethnic history, Asian American history, and Chinese history , transnational history.

He has published more than 30 articles in such publications as Historical Studies, Ethnic Studies, World History, World Nations, American Studies, and Historiography Monthly.