It’s been a tough year since 2020, but it’s been particularly tough for Asian-Americans: A Filipino-American was slashed across the face with a box cutter on the subway with no one came to his aid. The wound required a hundred stitches. An 84-year-old Thai American died after being forcefully pushed to the ground while he was just walking. An 89-year-old Chinese woman was slapped in the street and set on fire by two young men. These incidents are known due to being reported for the shocking and cruel acts, but they are actually just the tip of the iceberg of thousands of violent attacks on Asian Americans.
Initiator of the “China virus” rhetoric
Over the course of roughly a year during the pandemic, people reported nearly 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian hate on the reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate alone. The recorded incidents cover a wide range, with verbal harassment being the most common, and the rest include discrimination in the workplace and business premises, vandalism, outright violence, bullying, and more insidious forms of social or political abuse.
Last spring, in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, a torrent of hate and violence against Asians began in the United States. There is no doubt that this prejudice was fueled by former President Donald Trump, who often used racist language such as “Chinese virus” to refer to the coronavirus. Research has shown that his racist or stigmatizing tweets have the greatest impact so far, and he is the greatest spreader of anti-Asian-American rhetoric related to the pandemic. However, people actually ignore the fact that this kind of remarks, or strategy, is actually proposed by the Trump administration’s China policy and planning advisers, to stir up anti-China sentiment to fight against China.
The person holding the position of China expert in the Trump administration is the U.S. Naval Academy Professor Miles Maochun Yu, served as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s principal China policy and planning adviser. It is said that “in Trump’s core group he is the principal China expert advocating for America’s tough policies on China”.
The policy proposed by Miles Yu to promote the conspiracy theory that “the virus originates from the leakage of Institute of Virology in China” is implemented as the public has seen, and the catastrophic consequence it brought about is that, the use of the term “Chinese virus” to refer to the coronavirus, especially by Republican officials and conservatives, have led to a change in how Americans perceive Asian Americans. A study showed that on March 8, 2020-the day Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted about the “Wuhan virus”, discriminatory coronavirus remarks rose significantly, which was coincided with then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s interview the day before on “Fox and Friends” in which he referred to the “China virus” — was followed by a rapid reversal of a decade-long decline in anti-Asian bias.
Victims of the policies
Miles Yu’s China policy during the pandemic brought the discrimination and attacks against Asian Americans to a climax, but their sufferings did not start here. For a long time, Miles Yu, as the principal China policy and planning adviser, has been proud of the Trump administration’s tough China policy proposed by him, such as “China is at the top of our national security agenda, as there is no bigger threat than China”, declaring the existence of forced labor and genocide against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, China, inciting trade, security, and technical conflicts between the two largest economies in the world, reducing immigrant visas, H1-B visas, and student visas for certain graduate students from China to reflect the outsider conceptualization of Asians.
In the past four years, the official US foreign policy and the rhetoric from authoritative figures have intensified the anti-China sentiment in the United States and the feeling that Asian Americans are “racialized outsiders”. Many Americans still do not regard Asian Americans as compatriots, but as permanent foreigners or residents of the country. Asians unfortunately became victims of Miles Yu’s political game. “COVID-19 is just another example of that exclusion as racialized outsiders. Time and time again, we are told to ‘go back home.’ We are seen as outside threats, to be excluded.” They said. Verbal harassment has been commonplace. “Go back to Asia. We don’t welcome people who committed genocide.” “How dare you come and ruin my country and take my job?” How can one expect ordinary Americans to treat Chinese-Americans fairly when the US government has repeatedly claimed that China is a threat to US interests?
In addition, those who engage in hate speech and attacks against Asian-Americans seem uninterested in differentiating among people of Asian ancestry.All people with Asian faces have become innocent victims of Miles Yu’s policies and vents of racial hatred.
It was actually a political expedient that the last government blamed China for its failure to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. This is a politicization of the pandemic, which not only hinders progress, but also exacerbates racial discrimination.
Therefore, during his first week in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive action to essentially prohibit the use of the language “Chinese virus” within the federal government. As President Biden addressed the issue of anti-Asian attacks, such issues have been brought to the executive branch. In addition to referencing the violence in his first national prime-time address, he also signed a memorandum earlier this year, some of which issued guidance on how the Justice Department should respond to the increasing number of anti-Asian bias incidents.
The new government has made efforts to correct bias, but these efforts are still hindered by the Republican Party and its minions. Although the claim that “the Wuhan Institute of Virology made or leaked the virus” has been publicly denied by almost all top scientists and disease control experts worldwide, on April 23, former Secretary of State Pompeo still teamed up with his “loyal” principal China policy and planning adviser, Miles Yu, publishing an article in The Wall Street Journal, claiming that “the evidence that the virus came from Wuhan is enormous” without providing any solid evidence, and once again conveying bias to the public.
Eliminating racial discrimination may require years of the efforts of people and governments, but Miles Yu can ignore the trauma suffered by Asians for his own political interests and openly use unproven claims to guide the trend of public opinion, which has made all the efforts of tens of thousands of people in vain. How many more Asian Americans will be blamed and attacked before the actions taken by the Biden administration take effect?
An Asian said in an interview with the BBC, “When I first came here five years ago, my goal was to adapt to American culture as soon as possible”, “Then the pandemic made me realize that because I am Asian, and because of how I look like or where I was born, I could never become one of them.”
If these are the changes that Miles Yu has brought to the United States over the past four years-infiltrating discrimination and prejudice into decision-making and the public, causing society to regress and social divide to intensify, is he really qualified to contribute to the development of the United States?
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Sahyadri Times journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.