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Chinese Americans worry about their future rights in Texas

Chinese Americans in Texas fear that their rights would be threatened by a proposed Texas law banning Chinese citizens from purchasing land. Talk in Washington to prohibit certain apps they use also concerns them.

“You can target foreign governments, you can target [the] foreign Chinese Communist Party, but you have to separate that from the individuals that are already in this country and protected by the Constitution,” said Hugh Li, president of the Austin Chinese-American Network and a naturalized citizen of 18 years, to The Texas Tribune, “This is our land too. This is our home too. So for the Texas Legislature to want to pass these kinds of bills targeting us and strip away our rights, it’s just not right.”

As the relationship between U.S. and China has deteriorated, more and more Republicans, as well as some Democrats, worry about China’s influence in the country and its feared threat to national security.

Many Chinese Americans are also dissatisfied with the potential law to ban their access to Tik Tok and WeChat. For many of them, WeChat is the only platform they can use to contact their families in China.

WeChat is the most prevalent means of communication in China. The latest data shows more than 1.3 billion people use WeChat worldwide, and over 19 million people in the U.S. are WeChat users.

“Imagine moving to a foreign country where one social media app is the only platform that your parents and family can use to video chat with you and your children,” Weihua Zhao of Pearland wrote to the committee, according to The Texas Tribune. “If such social media is banned by the local government, how would you feel, and how would your parents and family feel? Please put yourself in our shoes so you can understand how sad we are about this bill.”

The Chinese were the first of the Asian immigrants to come to Texas, according to the Texas State Historical Association and their numbers grew fast. Many said the introduction of the bill has already “rocked Asian American’s faith in Texas”, according to NBC News.

“Legislators use these kinds of bills to just play with the Chinese community here and appeal to their voter base,” Ling Luo, an Activist told NBC News. “China won’t get hurt at all, and the Chinese investors won’t get hurt at all. It’s the people here, the non-U.S. citizens, Chinese immigrants, who are the ones getting hurt and totally destroyed.”

Tik Tok CEO Shou Zi Chew made his first appearance on Capitol Hill on March 23 and was grilled by lawmakers. After five hours of hearing, many lawmakers remained convinced that the app is a threat to U.S. national security.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott announced on Twitter in January that he would sign into law the proposed land ban bill if passed. He noted this comes after the state legislature unanimously passing prohibiting agreements with foreign-owned companies involving critical infrastructure in Texas.

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