Recent anti-Asian violence in U.S. extends pandemic trend
- Metro areas from coast to coast have seen an explosion in anti-Asian hate incidents since the beginning of the pandemic, including cities such as Oakland, San Jose, and New York.
- Between 1,800 and 2,500 incidents of anti-Asian harassment, discrimination, and violence were reported through August 2020, ranging from vandalism and verbal abuse to physical attacks and homicide.
- President Joe Biden recently signed a memorandum condemning anti-Asian bias and discrimination, pledging support from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and other executive agencies.
“String of attacks against older Asians leaves big city Chinatowns on edge” (NBC News | February 2021)
“The US Is Seeing a Massive Spike in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes” (The Cut | February 2021)
“Anti-Asian hate crime jumps 1,900 percent” (Queens Chronicle | September 2020)
Stop AAPI Hate Reports
Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States (The White House | January 2021)
U.N. document on anti-Asian incidents in the U.S. (August 2020)
Malaysian PM announces asylum provisions for refugee Uyghurs
- Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamed indicated that the country would not honor extradition requests from China for Uyghurs fleeing persecution.
- The announcement follows a statement from the foreign minister indicating that an inquiry into human rights violations in the Xinjiang region of China.
- Hundreds took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to protest the ongoing incarceration of more than a million Uyghur Muslims in “political re-education” camps in northwest China.
“Malaysia not to extradite Uighurs seeking asylum” (Andalou Agency | December 2019)
“Malaysia to probe rights violations against Uighurs” (Andalou Agency | December 2019)
“In KL, hundreds of Muslims protest against China’s treatment of Uighurs” (Malay Mail | December 2019)
Chinese workers injured in Baluchistan suicide attack
- At least five—including three Chinese mining workers—suffered injuries when the van they were riding in was attacked by a suicide bomber outside Dalbandin, southwest of Quetta.
- The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), a separatist group, claimed responsibility, one of a number of attacks in the region targeting Chinese-backed projects in the region.
- Chinese migrant workers in Pakistan number in the tens of thousands, with the Pakistani government seeking to grow the region’s infrastructure and the Chinese government expanding its Belt and Road initiative throughout Asia.
“Five wounded in attack on bus ferrying Chinese workers in Pakistan” (Reuters | August 2018)
“Suicide Bomber Attacks Chinese Engineers in Pakistan” (VOA News | August 2018)
“Beijing condemns suicide attack on bus carrying Chinese engineers in Pakistan” (South China Morning Post | August 2018)
The Transnational Oppression of Uyghur Chinese
Growing paranoia over terrorism by and radicalization of China’s Muslim Uyghur minority has led to the dramatic expansion of state surveillance activities in Xinjiang—where Uyghurs account for nearly half of the population—and abroad. Digital surveillance, travel restrictions, indefinite detention, “reeducation” camps, and the exploitation of intra-community and transnational relationships have dramatically expanded the crackdown on ethnic minorities perceived as threats to the integrity of the state. After fleeing China, Uyghur emigrants find themselves and their families (some of whom remain in China) subject to harassment by Chinese security forces in places as far flung as Istanbul and Washington, D.C. BuzzFeed News and The Globe and Mail have profiled a number of Uyghur Chinese in exile and the oppressive conditions they and their families face, including high levels of distrust and fear of advocacy.
“Spy For Us — Or Never Speak To Your Family Again” (BuzzFeed News | July 2018)
“How China is targeting its Uyghur ethnic minority abroad” (The Globe and Mail | October 2017)
“‘It is about Xi as the leader of the world’: Former detainees recount abuse in Chinese re-education centres” (The Globe and Mail | July 2018)
“One in 10 Uyghur Residents of Xinjiang Township Jailed or Detained in ‘Re-Education Camp’” (Radio Free Asia | June 2018)
Uyghur Human Rights Project
Jakarta’s Christian governor of Chinese descent sentenced to prison for blasphemy
- Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, was sentenced to two years in prison after having accused political opponents of using a verse from the Qur’an to mobilize opposition to his re-election.
- His remarks drew massive protests in the Muslim-majority country and a religiously charged vote for the Jakarta governorship in April, where he lost to Muslim rival Anies Baswedan.
- Judges cited fundamentalist religious groups in the ruling, shocking observers with a prison sentence for Ahok because he “did not feel guilt.”
“Jakarta governor Ahok sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy” (The Guardian | May 2017)
“Jakarta’s Christian Governor Ahok jailed for two years for blasphemy” (The Sydney Morning Herald | May 2017)
“Jakarta’s former governor Ahok dropping appeal against jail sentence for blasphemy” (ABC | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Antara/Pool/Sigid Kurniawan, via The Jakarta Post)
The Mutual Tensions of Chinese-Senegalese Relations in Senegal
At 2,000-strong, the population of Chinese immigrants in Senegal has become a visible presence in major urban areas like Dakar, though immigrants remain largely cloistered within enclaves. With commercial potential driving immigration into the country, Chinese people in Senegal have depended on an uneasy relationship with native Senegalese, a microcosm of a broader burgeoning relationship between China and African countries built on uncertain economic hopes. The New York Times profiles the Chinese community in Dakar and the state of Chinese-Senegalese relations in the country.
“Chinese Merchants Thrive in Senegal, Where People ‘Needed Stuff’” (The New York Times | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Sergey Ponomarev/The New York Times)
Growing scandal over ultra-nationalist kindergarten exposes battle over education in Japan
- The Tsukamoto Kindergarten has drawn attention for promoting notions of Japanese “purity” and “uniformity” and racist statements made about Koreans and Chinese.
- Ideological education has become a growing point of contention between liberals and conservatives, with the former worrying that so-called “traditional education” indoctrinates young children with the same ultranationalist spirit that fueled Japanese imperial expansion and led to World War II.
- The school sits at the center of an expanding political scandal involving Japan’s First Lady and a suspicious deal that allowed the land on which the school was built to be purchased from the government at a steep discount.
“Nationalist Osaka preschool draws heat for distributing slurs against Koreans and Chinese” (The Japan Times | February 2017)
“Bigotry and Fraud Scandal at Kindergarten Linked to Japan’s First Lady” (The New York Times | February 2017)
“Shinzo Abe and wife under pressure over ties to ultra-nationalist school” (The Guardian | February 2017)
(Image Credit: Ha Kwiyeon/Reuters, via The New York Times)
The Ambivalent Xenophobia in Chinese-Malagasy Relations
Source: AFP YouTube
The history of Chinese immigration in Madagascar is a complex tale that begins during the era of 19th-century French colonialism and continues into the contemporary era of globalization. Now entrepreneurs and investors rather than imported labor, the new generation of Chinese immigrants has concerned itself less with integration than with taking advantage of trade and investment opportunities in the island nation, at times to the detriment of the environment and local economic practices. Currently, more than 800 businesses have expanded the Chinese-national population to nearly 100,000, alarming many Malagasy and prompting accusations of politicians “selling off” the country. Over the last few years, international media have begun to examine the complicated relationship between xenophobia, economic exploitation, and fears of imperialism fueled by colonialism anxieties in a politically precarious country still wracked by poverty.
“A Madagascar, la forte présence chinoise passe de plus en plus mal” (AFP, in French)
“Madagascar protests halt activity at Chinese gold mine” (News24, October 2016)
“Madagascar’s Chinese Vanilla” (Al Jazeera, April 2015)
“Who Knew? Madagascar Has Africa’s Third Largest Chinese Population” (ChinaFile, March 2015)
“China’s rosewood craving cuts deep into Madagascar rainforests” (The Guardian, February 2015)
“Influx of Chinese transforms the landscape of Madagascar” (The South China Morning Post, August 2013)
Chinese people in Madagascar (Wikipedia)
Pro-diversity mass demonstration takes place in Jakarta
- Known as the Bhineka Tunggal Ika (“Unity in Diversity”) Parade, the event brought hundreds of pro-diversity demonstrators out dressed in red and white (the national colors) and traditional dress to support ethnic and religious unity in the country.
- The peaceful event was a response to growing concerns about the influence of fundamentalist Islamic leaders in the Muslim-majority country.
- Recently, hundreds of thousands protested in a call for Jakarta’s governor, an ethnic Chinese Christian, to be charged with blasphemy, and an attack on a church in Samarinda left three children injured and one dead.
“Hundreds join Bhineka Tunggal Ika Parade” (The Jakarta Post)
“Thousands of Indonesians rally against racial, religious intolerance” (Reuters)
“Indonesia Says Jakarta’s Christian Governor Is Suspected of Blasphemy” (The New York Times)
(Image Credit: Wienda Parwitasari/The Jakarta Post)
Dozens from more than 9 countries dead, hundreds injured after attack on Turkey’s main airport
- Three suicide attackers killed at least 41 and wounded 239 more in Istanbul’s Ataturk airport in an attack claimed by the Islamic State.
- At least 23 victims were Turkish, while others killed included people from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, China, Iran, Jordan, Tunisia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
- Over the last year, Turkey has experienced multiple terror attacks as the government faces threats from the Islamic State, political divisions between Islamists and secularists, and violent conflict with Kurdish separatists.
“Islamic State prime suspect after suicide bombers kill 41 at Istanbul airport” (Reuters)
“Victims in Istanbul Airport Attack Reflect City’s International Character” (The New York Times)
“At Least 41 Killed Including 13 Foreign Nationals In Attack On Istanbul Airport” (BuzzFeed News)
(Image Credit: Osman Orsal/Reuters, via BuzzFeed News)
Brussels bombings claims victims from some 40 countries
- The IS-connected airport and subway bombings in the Belgian capital has left 31 dead and 316 injured to date.
- Victims have been identified from countries including China, France, India, the Netherlands, Peru, the U.K., and the U.S.
- Identification has proven difficult given the attack of heavily international bloodlines in the city, as both the open nature of the attacked spaces and the international effort required to obtain material needed for identification slow efforts.
“Brussels bombings claim casualties from over 40 countries” (Reuters)
“Here Are The Victims Of The Brussels Attacks” (BuzzFeed News)
“Brussels attacks victims may not be identified for weeks” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty, via The Guardian)
Pro-Malay, pro-government rally targets ethnic Chinese and Indian Malaysians
- Thousands of Malays took to the streets in Kuala Lumpur, drawing fire from police water cannons after voicing anti-Chinese and anti-Indian sentiment and trying to break through barricades to the city’s Chinatown.
- The demonstration took place in support of embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has lost support from most of the ethnic minority communities after coming under fire for allegedly embezzling $700 million.
- Malays make up 60% of Malaysian society, with ethnic Chinese comprising 25% and ethnic Indians 10%.
“I am here to defend Malay dignity and dominance. … We must not let others take over our country.”
Read the full AP story at Yahoo! News.
(Image Credit: AP Photo, via Yahoo! News)
China in South Africa
One byproduct of China’s increasing political and economic interest in the African continent has been growth in Chinese tourism to African countries. As a result, tour services like those provided by Hanna Han, a Chinese national living in South Africa, have become invaluable as tourists seek a package of interrelated services, including tours, translation and interpretation, and advice. CCTV Africa learns more about how Han came to work in Cape Town and her perspective on the booming Chinese tourism industry in South Africa.
View the feature on YouTube.
Identity Legacies of War
Japanese children were adopted in occupied China during World War II as they lost mothers and fathers to the war. AFP highlights some of the cultural struggles that are the legacies of those adoptions.
Watch the AFP feature on YouTube.
More than 170 Uyghurs resettled in Turkey following release from Thai detention camp
- The 173 released–all Uyghur women and children–had been detained for more than a year by Thai immigration authorities.
- The group is a part of a wave of ethnic Uyghurs fleeing their homeland in northwestern China because of the government’s crackdown on their culture and activities.
- Those seeking exit from China rely on underground networks that take them through southeast Asia, where Thailand is a major node in smuggling routes.
“China deprives them of their human dignity, their human rights, and religious freedom in every possible way, so they head to Turkey to live like human beings.”
Read the full story at Radio Free Asia.
(Image Credit: Radio Free Asia)