Sat, Mar 08, 2014 - Page 8 News List

Courage, culture and state-backed racist rants

By James Wang 王景弘

Former US ambassador to China Gary Locke (駱家輝), a third-generation Chinese American with Hakka ancestors from China’s Guangdong Province, has served as governor of Washington state and was the first Chinese-American to become US ambassador to China.

However, Locke did not embrace his Chinese heritage anywhere enough for Beijing.

Furthermore, he did not do whatever China’s powerful wanted him to do and was as a result insulted with a string of racist slurs, including being called a “banana” and the “god of plague” by China’s second-largest state-owned news agency, the China News Service, upon his recent departure from his post in Beijing.

When China talks about Taiwanese embracing their Chinese heritage, this attack demonstrates its standard, arrogant racism.

If you disagree, then you are forgetting your ancestors and should be gotten rid of.

Politicians like President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) and their ilk always obediently talk about being “Chinese” and are viewed by China as belonging to the same group, with the same mind and aspirations.

The way in which this state-owned media outlet criticized the outgoing diplomat reveals China’s complete lack of respect for personal dignity, personal identity and the freedom of choice.

It also reveals the contradictory state of mind of China’s leaders — megalomania combined with a sense of inferiority — which causes them to prefer being bullied by “white” people, over being challenged by a Chinese-American with Western thinking — what the China News Service calls a “banana.”

Chinese often show a degree of megalomania, but in fact they love all things foreign; however, “foreign” only extends to “white people,” or, to be more diplomatic, “Caucasians.”

Locke, an Asian representing the interests of Caucasians in China, was enough to anger the Chinese. Combined with the fact that Locke is not Caucasian yet believes in values normally held by Caucasians makes a recipe guaranteed to curdle the blood of any rabid Chinese racist.

The values that Locke represented made senior Chinese officials who maintain their power by talking about being “Chinese” look out of touch.

Locke flew economy-class, carried his own luggage and bought his own coffee. The former ambassador released information about air pollution in Beijing and cared for human rights. All these things struck a raw nerve with Beijing’s rich and powerful.

This is why Locke was blamed for the haze in Beijing’s skies and criticized as having “forgotten his ancestors” because he does not speak Mandarin.

However, to the very end, Locke showed that he is a man of courage. Just before leaving Beijing, Locke said that China should improve its human rights situation, mend its relations with Japan and reflect on why Chinese are increasingly losing faith in their government.

Some people in Taiwan have lost their courage and become accustomed to toeing Beijing’s line. These people constantly talk about being “Chinese” to curry favor with Beijing’s leaders. They are precisely the ones who need to remember what Locke said about China when he left the country: “On a personal level, I am proud of my Chinese traditions and proud of the contributions China has made to human civilization over the last few thousand years. However, I am also a real American.”

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