Opinion: Citizens of Chinese heritage in the West to also bear the brunt of Western media bias

A large-scale protest by Chinese nationals took place in Paris Chinatown Belleville district on Sunday, June 20, 2010 pleading the French government to provide better protection against violent crimes targeting the Chinese community. According to the China Daily article, “Chinese protest in streets of Paris,” there is a rise in robbery and violent crimes against Chinese nationals in France in recent years. This *news* has been largely muted in the West thus far. A blogger, jonjayray, writes, “When racist violence can be ignored:”

So profound is the hypocrisy of the mainstream media in the English-speaking world that racial violence against a significant but still small minority in a major Western city has been ignored. The big rally against persecution by Chinese in Paris and its unpleasant aftermath seems not to have attracted a single report in English.

A reader at jonjayray’s blog agrees:

Sissi said, in June 21st, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I agree with you totally, the silenced Western media, specially the French media, turned a blind eye to the most horrendous growing robbery in Belleville. I have joined the protest yesterday and have talked to a number of Chinese people. A Chinese father of two, who is working at Belleville, told me, he has witness 4 robberies against Chinese in one day; the other, a restaurant worker, mother of two, told me, how her boy was taken and beaten by four arabic boys in his school, the school teacher had to rush to the police station to report; I personally knew 4 Chinese women who have been robbed, and heard at dozens of Chinese women who has been robbed, assaulted, and beaten.

but there was NOT EVEN ONE SINGLE COVERAGE in the French media of all of these crimes; not even the most significant one, catalyst to this protest, the first Chinese who has stand up for his native people who got robbed, cornered and forced to resort to using arms(he was a military man) but was arrested and still remaining in prison,

and ohlala, you can image, naturally, there is NOT A SINGLE WORD from the french media, which always screamed the three letters in their hysteria voices:

Liberty, equality, and fraternity;

LIBERTÉ; ÉGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ, is only for some people, evidently, NOT for the Chinese in France.

Everybody is equal, but some people are more equal than others.

Few weeks ago, I posted an article, “Recent African Americans attacks on Asian Americans, what are your thoughts?”  While the attacks were locally reported in the San Francisco Bay Area, very little coverage was made nationally in the U.S.. I also pointed out:

In a response to brutal attacks at a school in Philadelphia of Asian students by mostly African American students, New York University history professor, Jonathan Zimmerman was appalled by the lack of concern from American society as a whole. He recently wrote an Op-Ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Our double standard on race: African-Americans attack Asians and the nation yawns,” he writes:

If you live in or near Philadelphia, you know about the brutal December attacks on Asian students at a local high school. Seven kids were hospitalized with injuries sustained mostly at the hands of African-American students, who beat Asians in classrooms, hallways, the cafeteria and the streets outside the school.

But the incident has barely registered outside of southeastern Pennsylvania, generating a few wire stories and little else. To understand why, try a thought experiment: Imagine the victims were black and the attackers white, or the other way around.

The whole nation — indeed, the whole world — would know about it. The president would go on TV to denounce the episode and demand a speedy remedy. Members of Congress would eagerly join in, competing with each other to condemn the racism in our midst. And hordes of reporters would descend on the school to seek the inside scoop.

But hey, it was Asian kids getting beaten. And the attackers were black, remember, and we don’t expect a lot from them.

There’s plenty of racism to go around here, and not just at the school where the melee took place. It’s all around us, and in the double standard that we use to judge events like this one.

This “lack of concern from American society” as Zimmerman said is apparently true in France too. I would venture to guess it is generally true across the West. And, as Sissi said of the French media, “LIBERTÉ; ÉGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ, is only for some people, evidently, NOT for the Chinese in France.”

Of course, this hypocrisy is nothing new. An Indian, Pankaj Mishra, once said this of the European colonial powers:

“In VS Naipaul’s prophetic novel ‘A Bend in the River,’ Salim, the Indian-African narrator, laments his community’s political immaturity, envying Africa’s European conquerors: “an intelligent and energetic people”, who “wanted gold and slaves, like everybody else,” but who also “wanted statues put up to themselves as people who had done good things for the slaves”. Salim believes that the Europeans “could do one thing and say something quite different because they had an idea of what they owed to their civilisation”; and “they got both the slaves and statues”.”

Now, put this hypocrisy thought on hold for a moment.

Some of you readers in the U.S. have probably read about the “Chinese” drywall issue. Here is a recent report by the CBS News outlet, “Feds: Gut U.S. Homes with Chinese Drywall.” Have you noticed the reporting style in the U.S. on issues related to Chinese products? I have recently wondered, what *is* a “Chinese” drywall? Are they different from *normal* drywalls? The point here is the U.S. media is attributing issues with particular companies to the whole of China.

How about “Chinese” toy recalls (never mind the fact that most recalls were due to poor Western designs and not Chinese manufacturing)? The even more egregious point here is that the U.S. media attributing poor Western designs to the whole of China!

Where am I going with these points?

If the Western media day in and day out make “China” and the “Chinese” bogeymen; that in conjunction with media hypocrisy and lack of regard in Western societies for crimes against Chinese in the West – isn’t that adding fuel to the fire for the lowest rung of Western societies targeting Chinese in the West?

Therefore, as Western media bias (or outright smearing campaign) against “China” and the “Chinese” continue, I believe citizens of Chinese heritage (and Chinese nationals) in the West will face increasing potential for violence.

On a positive note though, the China of today has much more influence. In the China Daily article, it reports:

After Chinese embassy officials spoke to French police on June 15, police promised to improve security by increasing patrols around Belleville and installing surveillance cameras in the block.

In contrast to the Chinese Exclusion Act (a racist law which the U.S. specifically barred Chinese from immigration), the weak Chinese government of the past simply couldn’t do anything about it. The law lasted until 1943.

Chinese around the world should also come together to counter this bias in the Western media.  Their safety in the West increasingly will depend on it.

By DeWang

Originally from Hidden Harmonies China Blog

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