Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
Lethal shootings against Asian Americans took place on Tuesday night at three massage spa parlors in the Atlanta area. US President Joe Biden condemned the brutality against Asian Americans on Wednesday. It can be imagined that more politicians would follow the president to criticize the appalling attacks and emphasize the US society’s “diversity and inclusiveness.” Candlelight vigils would be held, and mainstream media and social celebrities would pray for the victims. And then what？Nobody knows when a similar tragedy will happen next and who the future victims will be. When it comes to rapidly increasing hate crimes against Asian Americans, US politicians, media and scholars are all accomplices.
The attacks came amid a surge in anti-Asian sentiment and hate crimes directed at Asian Americans. Brazen Western politicians, scholars, media and other China-haters who take advantage of the pandemic to hype the “China virus” and “China threat” theories are to blame. Every time Asian communities are attacked, injured or killed in hate crime incidents, the victims’ blood is also on hands of these people.
Since the very start of the epidemic, in order to divert attention from the White House’s failure to curb the virus, some US politicians have tried every possible means and played dirty tricks to throw mud at China. Former US president Donald Trump and other politicians repeatedly used terms such as “China virus,” and “Kung Flu” to describe the pandemic. Although scientists have yet to determine the origins of the coronavirus, various conspiracies have been cooked up. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a foreign policy hard-liner, floated a conspiracy theory which suggested the virus was manufactured in a Chinese bio-weapons facility in February last year. Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo said in May 2020 that there were “enormous” evidence to support the claim that the virus originated from a biomedical laboratory in Central China’s Wuhan.
Some Western media outlets and scholars, as well as some anti-China think tanks, also played an ugly role in fanning hate against Asian Americans. They spread rumors and stigmatize China over a broad scope of issues, such as the origins of the pandemic, the CPC leadership, affairs related to the governance in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, portraying China as an “evil state” that poses an “existential threat” to the US. Adrian Zenz, a German rumormonger, talked the lie of the century that China is committing “genocide” in Xinjiang, but his lies have been welcomed by US media. His lies often hit the headlines. Josh Rogin, an American journalist and a political analyst for CNN, groundlessly blamed China’s COVID-19 “cover-up” for why people are still missing the origins of the pandemic.
Those accusations are groundless. But negatively influenced by those China-haters and their vile rhetoric against China, many Americans mistakenly believe China is the “culprit of the coronavirus” and a “threat,” unleashing a tsunami of hate, Sinophobia, xenophobia and scapegoating. As a result, the discrimination and violence against Asian Americans have seen a sharp rise.
Whenever a hate crime takes place, those who promote the hatred are not innocent. They are also the perpetrators. Sadly, although rising anti-Asian violence has led to many tragedies, attacks and slander on China have not abated at all, even not a little bit.
The White House is continuing to exaggerate the “China threat” theory. Do Biden and the Democratic Party have the vision and courage to reverse the propaganda war against China? As long as US politicians, media and scholars can be objective in their narratives about China, do not magnify China’s defects and give fair evaluation to China’s merits, the US society’s hatred against Asian Americans will be greatly reduced.
But will it ever happen？
If the current dangerous trend cannot be reversed, the US will see widening social divisions caused by deepening Sinophobia. It could even cause turmoil and further weaken US soft power and leadership. Asian Americans won’t be “silent lambs.” Large “Asian Lives Matter” protests may not be far away if hate crimes against them continue to occur.