Saturday, April 17, 2021

Surging anti-Asian hate crimes and America's inherent human rights sins

Winston Zhou/Xinhua

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Dong Yue

Beijing, 25 March (2021) - The videos and images of a 76-year-old Asian woman pitifully crying with a bruised eye after being assaulted by a white man in San Francisco have gone viral on social media and shocked the whole world.

The elderly woman who bravely beat off the attacker was yet the latest victim of a surging tide of anti-Asian violence and hate crimes in the United States, which has traumatized millions of Asian Americans and plunged them into growing fear. Ealier this month, six Asian Americans were shot dead in cold blood by a young white gunman in Atlanta, Georgia.

When people across the world are expressing sympathy for the victims as well as their indignation against those perpetrators, they are also wondering why the United States, a country known as a nation of immigrants, is struggling with waves of violence and xenophobia?

With a short history densely stained by a racist tradition, the country built by immigrants is unsurprisingly infamous for racial discrimination. From the state-sanctioned killings of native Indians and the extreme abusive policies against African slaves and Chinese laborers, to the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Immigration Act of 1924, the United States has a deplorable track record in maltreating its minority groups.

As time passes, such a racist tradition has turned more extreme and violent. When political, economic and social problems arise, ethnic minorities have always been made the scapegoats. That is also the case in the COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far infected over 30 million people in the world's most developed country.

To gloss over the country's incompetence in fighting the pandemic and shift the blame, unscrupulous Washington politicians and media outlets have been explicitly manipulating racist rhetoric and sentiments by linking the deadly pathogen to specific ethnic groups, leading to increasing violence and hate against Asian Americans.

According to Stop AAPI Hate, a California-based nonprofit social organization tracking incidents of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, it received nearly 3,800 reports of attack or abuse against people of Asian descent between March 2020 to February 2021.

Erika Lee, a historian and the author of "America for Americans," described the acts of racism and violence facing Asian American and Pacific Islander communities "a systemic national tragedy."

Behind the tragedy is the U.S. society's deep-seated and long-standing white supremacy, a belief that white people constitute a superior race and should therefore dominate the society. This extremist bigotry has gained fresh momentum in recent years from the intensified polarization of American politics.

In 2020, distribution of white supremacist propaganda in the United States increased nearly twofold from a year ago, with 5,125 incidents of racist, anti-Semitic and other hateful messages being reported, according to the Anti-Defamation League, an anti-hate organization headquartered in New York.

Regrettably, successive U.S. administrations have been tolerant and insensitive to these problems, letting the systemic national tragedy deprive ethnic minorities of their basic rights in wealth distribution, employment, healthcare, education and political participation.

In fact, devastating racism is only the tip of the iceberg of America's mess in human rights protection. China's State Council Information Office on Wednesday issued the Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2020, depicting the whole picture of the country's chaotic human rights situation.

Besides comprehensive, systematic and continuous racism, the report also disclosed Washington's incompetent pandemic containment, the American democracy disorder, the continuous social unrest, the growing polarization between the rich and the poor as well as the U.S. trampling on international rules that has resulted in worldwide humanitarian disasters.

With mounting pressure from nationwide protests against anti-Asian hate, the U.S. government is likely to take some perfunctory measures. But one thing is clear: without sweeping reforms and an earnest attitude, Uncle Sam can hardly clean up its mess in human rights protection, let alone act as a beacon. 

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