As Stop Asian Hate rallies swept across the US and Canada on Sunday, a small march to support the cause also took place in Taipei, but went largely unnoticed. The events were organized in response to a mass shooting at spas in Atlanta, Georgia, but they stress that anti-Asian racism around the globe has been surging since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Perhaps a rally against white supremacy and racism against Asians did not seem relevant in Taiwan, but nevertheless it is an important issue that Taiwanese should be paying attention to, especially when they stand in solidarity with other oppressed groups.
Anti-Asian racism in the US and other nations is nothing new, but this surge in violence — with the number of incidents jumping 150 percent last year — has its origins in former US president Donald Trump’s vitriolic political rhetoric against China and his administration’s labeling of COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus.”
Many Taiwanese share Trump’s disdain for the Chinese Communist Party due to Beijing’s constant bullying and threatening behavior, even staging several marches in support of Trump after he lost his bid for re-election in November last year. An estimated 8,000 people showed up for a rally the following month and another 300 took to the streets in January.
However, Trump’s anti-Chinese rhetoric — and his generally divisive and inflammatory behavior while he was in office — has led to a tragic situation that affects not only Chinese, but all Asians in the US, including Taiwanese and Taiwanese-Americans.
Meanwhile, only a fraction of the number who marched in the pro-Trump events took part in the anti-Asian racism rally on Sunday, and many of them were Taiwanese-Americans or foreign residents.
While the US is an important ally as Taiwan resists Chinese aggression and people are free to voice their support for Trump, Taiwanese should look at the whole picture and not turn a blind eye to the fruits of his administration — especially when their overseas compatriots and loved ones might be affected.
Despite Taiwan’s human rights achievements, it is by no means free of racism. Much of it is leveled against Southeast Asian migrant workers, as well as Aborigines. These incidents, ranging from blatant abuse to inappropriate comments, are widely reported, but often sensationalized.
Moreover, when the furor dies down, the misbehavior continues.
Black people are also affected here, with several egregious incidents in the past year, including companies refusing to hire them, as well as performers donning blackface.
However, in Taiwan, racist behavior does not usually manifest as violence, although that makes it easier to pretend that it does not exist or is unrelated to what happens in the US.
Nonetheless, racism is racism, regardless of the form it takes and the offender’s intent, which is why paying attention to the events in the US is crucial. Perhaps that would cause people in Taiwan to reflect on their behavior and be more sympathetic for their own people living in fear and being abused in another country.
Last week, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, said in a statement that they have decided to end their marriage. The news immediately caused a global sensation. When my daughter heard that I was going to write a newspaper op-ed to comment on the matter, she made sure to remind me not to focus on the divorce agreement or the handling of the world’s richest couple’s wealth. Instead of talking about how much money Melinda Gates would get from the divorce, my daughter wanted me to focus on the many sacrifices she has made, and on her many
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) expressed “deep concern” over the staggering rise of COVID-19 cases in India, and offered to supply medical equipment and vaccine doses to the country, but his overtures sparked debate in India’s academic and political circles about his sincerity to help, particularly as it was followed by a vulgar display of schadenfreude over the hundreds of thousands of cremations of deaths caused by the virus in the country. The vast majority of Indians were already angry and frustrated with Beijing needling the country on a number of issues, including imports from China, which were abruptly stopped
Explore within a 160km radius of central Taiwan and you would stumble across some of world’s most majestic mountains, breathtaking lakes and awe-inspiring valleys. You would also find 95 percent of the world’s most advanced chipmaking. While lacking the same postcard views as Yushan or Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) is still a treasure. The company went from being the upstart of a government industrial think tank to the most crucial chip supplier in the world, but even as it has grown into a US$540 billion company, management has stubbornly kept all state-of-the-art manufacturing capacity at just three
Determined to keep a permanent grip on power, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has abandoned former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s (鄧小平) dogma of “hiding our capacities and biding our time” along with the “peaceful development” line that prevailed under former Chinese presidents Jiang Zemin (江澤民) and Hu Jintao (胡錦濤). Instead, he is treading a “wolf warrior” path of diplomacy that resorts to coercion, debt entrapment and hostage-taking. Externally, Xi’s China has claimed that it would never seek hegemony, yet it challenges the free, rules-based international order wherever it can. While insisting that it will not export its ideology, it has