HomePoliticsUS-China tensions bring fresh wave of AAPI xenophobia

US-China tensions bring fresh wave of AAPI xenophobia

By Sunita Sohrabji, Ethnic Media Services

Rep. Judy Chu, D-California, and Dominic Ng, President Joe Biden’s
appointee as Chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
have been accused of having ties to the Chinese Communist Party and
being unpatriotic.


AAPI community leaders are concerned that the tense US-China
relationship, which has become more fraught in recent weeks over
accusations of Chinese spying, have spurred on a fresh wave of
xenophobia as high-ranking Asian American politicians become the
targets of Republican attacks.


Rep. Judy Chu, the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress,
has been accused of being “unpatriotic,” by Rep. Lance Gooden (R-
Texas), because of her support for Dominic Ng, President Joe Biden’s
appointee as Chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Ng
has been accused of having ties to the Chinese Communist Party by
Gooden and five other House Republicans.


Chu, a Democrat from California, is the chairwoman of the Congressional
Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), and perhaps one of the most
well-known AAPI members of the House.


“This is absolutely alarming, but not unsurprising, given the parties
involved,” John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian
Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, told Ethnic Media Services.


“Gooden has questioned Chu’s patriotism, which is repulsive,
reprehensible, and unforgivable.”


“Congresswoman Chu is a true patriot. Any accusations of being a
Communist are sheer buffoonery,” said Yang.


“To suggest that Dominic Ng is somehow a spy is laughable and flies in
the face of common decency,” he added.


Yang noted that any time China comes into the national conversation as
an adversary, there is a palpable spike in racist attacks. “We do have geo-
political differences with China, but also a hot war with Russia, yet no
one is profiling Russian Americans.”


The White House should issue a statement about how Chinese Americans
have contributed to the nation’s well-being, suggested Yang.


Manjuusha Kulkarni, Executive Director of the AAPI Equity Alliance
and co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, told EMS she was very discouraged
by the attacks on Chu and Ng. “Upstanding citizens who are leaders in
our community are under attack only because of their ethnicity,” she said,
adding that she would not be surprised to see a spike in hate crimes
against the AAPI community. “We are ramping up xenophobia once
again,” she said.


“Chinese Americans are not responsible for the spy balloons and there is
no evidence that they are engaging in dangerous activity. A lot of Chinese immigrants are against the CCP, and may be why they migrated: to seek a
new life and a different form of government.”


Kulkarni said she is alarmed by the number of bills in state Legislatures
across the nation that seem to be fueled by xenophobia. Of particular
concern to her is Texas’ SB 147, which, in its original form would have
barred Chinese citizens from buying homes in the state. The bill has been
modified, after a volley of concerns about racism.


In an interview with Fox News’ Jesse Waters Feb. 22, Gooden stated that
Ng had ties to the Chinese Communist Party. He went on to say that Chu
should be investigated, along with Ng.


“I question her loyalty and competence,” said Gooden. “If she doesn’t
realize what’s going on then she’s totally out of touch with one of her
core constituencies.”


Gooden went on to say: “I’m really disappointed and shocked that
someone like Judy Chu would have a security clearance and entitled to
confidential intelligence briefings until this is figured out.” He called for
the congresswoman to be relieved of her committee assignments.
Democrats, and Republican Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin — who co-
chairs the new House Select Committee on China along with Democrat
Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois — immediately denounced the statements
by Gooden, saying they were racist. Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi
appeared on Face The Nation with Margaret Brennan Feb. 26 and
condemned the attack on Chu.


“One of my colleagues, unfortunately, attacked Judy Chu, the first
Chinese American Congresswoman in the United States Congress, saying
that somehow she’s not loyal to the United States. I find that offensive as
an Asian American myself,” said Krishnamoorthi.


Gallagher agreed. “Well, let me say we should not question anybody’s
loyalty to the United States. I think that is out of bounds. It’s beyond the
pale,” he said.


On Feb. 15, Gooden and five Republican members of Congress sent a
letter to FBI director Christopher Wray, alleging Ng’s ties to the CCP and
calling for an investigation. The letter stated that between 2013 and 2017,
Ng served as the executive director of the China Overseas Exchange
Association which is a front organization for the United Front Work
Department, a Chinese intelligence service whose mission is to liaison
with foreign political parties, influence operations, and collect
intelligence.


COEA subsequently merged with the China Overseas Friendship
Association, which “remained a front group for UFWD when Mr. Ng
began a 5-year term as COFA’s executive director in 2019,” stated the
members of Congress in the letter.

“Organizations like the UFWD and its affiliated groups play an
increasingly important role in Chinese foreign policy and allow political
actors like Mr. Ng to gain influence in sensitive American institutions to
advocate for the interests of communist China. This tactic is regularly
employed by the CCP to infiltrate governments and influence policies for
CCP-oriented outcomes,” they wrote.

“The Biden Administration has allowed the CCP to infiltrate the third-party sector and, consequently, political leaders that have existing relationships to these groups and are privy to U.S. intelligence. Further encroachments cannot be tolerated.”
The letter was signed by Gooden, and Reps. Tom Tiffany, R-Minnesota,
R-Florida, Ben Cline, R-Virginia, Doug La Malfa, R-California, and
Keith Self, R-Pennsylvania.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

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