Does the criticism of China endanger the Americans in Asia? A rash from recent comments following last month’s Atlanta shootings that killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women, makes that claim. The factual basis, however, is doubtful.
Columbia University historian Mae Ngai wants the US to “withdraw from treating China as an adversary”. In the Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen and Asian-American professor Janelle Wong argue: “When officials raise fears about China or other Asian countries, Americans immediately turn to a contemporary racial script that speaks of loyalty , Fidelity and loyalty calls into question affiliation of 20 million Asian Americans. “If American leaders are serious about fighting Asian violence”, journalist Peter Beinart warns, “they must stop exaggerating the threat posed by the Chinese government.”
Such arguments are deeply wrong. There is no contradiction between disgusting violence against Asian Americans and criticizing a repressive regime that suppresses human rights domestically and undermines liberal democracy abroad. Most Americans are able to make this basic distinction. You can do it every day.
How we approach this problem is important. China’s authoritarian system of government, economic strength and technological prowess make it a key challenger to the US-led international order that has underpinned global peace and prosperity for more than seven decades. At the same time, Asian-American and Pacific islanders – around 19.3 million strong, according to the Census Bureau – are America’s fastest growing demographic. Those calling on the US to drop its criticism of China for the supposed welfare of Americans in Asia are calling on Washington to step into a geopolitical boxing ring with one arm behind its back.
This plays into the hands of China. Like the Soviets in the Cold War, China’s communists are trying to exploit internal divisions to weaken the US. In Alaska, China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi last month accused America of “slaughtering” black people in a transparent attempt to divert attention from China’s horrific treatment of ethnic minorities, including Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists. With its usual subtlety, the Communist Party-affiliated media show Global Times used the Atlanta killings to accuse “brazen Western politicians, scholars, media and other China haters who exploit the pandemic” of inciting “hate crimes” against Asians . American.