By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent
Former Governor and Obama cabinet member Gary Locke expressed optimism for better days ahead despite tensions between the US and China and a surge in harassment and violence against Asian Americans.
Locke spoke to AsAmNews and other media this week at the Committee of 100 virtual conference which attracted 500 registrants.
The former Ambassador to China and Commerce Secretary recently began a three year term as chair of the Committee of 100, a group which aims to improve US-China relations and to push for the full inclusion of Chinese Americans in society. He is also current president at Bellevue College in Washington.
“I think under a Biden administration, there will be an effort to lower the temperature and lower the rhetoric and to engage in very constructive, although very frank discussions,” said Locke.
He contrasted that with the Trump administration which used terms like the
“kung flu virus” and “China virus,” which Locke blames for fomenting anti-Asian hate.
“Yes, America has big differences with the government of China. So, you know, we can have strong differences over policy with the governments of other countries, but we don’t go around in most cases, saying all Jewish people are bad, all French people, or Germans or British people are bad,” he said.
Locke thinks both the US and China will work jointly on common concerns such as climate change, halting the proliferation of nuclear weapons and fighting terrorism. He sees both countries united in their apprehension of North Korea and Iran.
Locke praised the recent decision to file hate crime charges against Robert Aaron Long, the suspect in the Atlanta spa shooting which left eight dead, including 6 Asian American women.
“It sends a message to other people around the country who might engage in these acts of violence, that they could be prosecuted for a hate crime, even, you know, a shoving or assaulting or mugging of someone hitting them or kicking them on the ground,” Locke said in response to a question from AsAmNews.
Locke think the decision also sends a message to other prosecutors not to look at these incidents as random acts of violence, but as hate crimes.
Zhengyu Huang, president of C-100, chimed in about the marginalization and sexualization of Asian and Asian American women.
“For over 200 years, these unwritten stereotypes have affected and limited the potential of many Americans, including Asian Americans and Chinese Americans,” Huang said. “Today, we have a chance to bring out these negative negative stereotypes to the open so that they can be examined, they can be changed, and hopefully made better.”
Locke encouraged Chinese Americans and Asian Americans to stand up for what’s right and to fight bigotry on all fronts. He encouraged allyship with the Black community and Hispanic community to right racism and discrimination together.
“We also need to promote the contributions of Chinese Americans to U.S. society and let people know that we are not foreigners. We are Americans. And we’re proud To be Americans, we’re proud of our Chinese ancestry.”
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