VACPUSA Condemns the Bipartisan Sinophobic Lies from Rep. Wexton (D-VA) and Waltz (R-FL)

Our nation has a long and ongoing history of racism, discrimination, and brutality against the people who have come to reside here from all across Asia. The very first legislation passed by the United States concerning immigration was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which would remain in effect until 1943. Anti-discriminatory laws that might protect immigrants or minorities were not won until much later in the 1960s, and only after long and ardous struggle. Anti-Asian racism, including sinophobic propaganda against the People’s Republic of China, is often used by the U.S. government to evoke feelings of revulsion against Asia, which inevitably comes to include Asian immigrants and Asian-American families already here in the United States.

The latest in a long line of racist lies used to stoke sinophobic sentiment is the accusation that, despite the near doubling of the Uyghur population, life expectancy, and literacy in the past half century, China is engaging in genocide in Xinjiang. Not only do these lies ignore the massive human rights abuses going on in our own country, but they encourage violent white supremacists to enact violence on Asians here in the U.S., whether or not they are actually of Chinese heritage. Even Western outlets admit that rampant sinophobia is a direct cause of the violence enacted on Chinese-Americans as well as other Asian people in the U.S. Vox, an outlet that has already contributed to the anti-China fervor, still notes that this increase in so-called “Yellow Peril” rhetoric has come with the blocking of “Chinese students from studying STEM fields in the US to remarks casting the country as an ‘existential threat’ to America.”

Assimilation (read: ethnocide) and a deep hatred of immigrants has always been the narrative preached through U.S. mass media and our 24/7 news cycles. Echoing the Islamophobia of the so-called “War on Terror,” anti-Asian racism increased with the advent of Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” and the “Chinese threat.” This, along with geopolitical tensions with Russia starting in 2014, marked what would turn into a New Cold War. This has led to a dramatic 73% increase of anti-Asian hate crimes over the past year; an increase which would parallel the growth of white supremacist and Nazi hate groups in the United States. 

These racist lies are an ongoing bipartisan effort. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) continually engages in harmful sinophobic rhetoric that actively endangers the safety and well-being of our neighbors who regularly face exclusion from our government and outright hatred from our citizens. The beginning of the Chinese Lunar Year has only served as a reminder that hate crimes against Asian-Americans have increased by 339% in 2021 compared to 2020 (where it increased by 124%). 

Rep. Wexton ignores the inhumane treatment of the 30,000 citizens legally enslaved by the state of Virginia, and expedites weapons sales to murderous regimes from Saudi Arabia to Israel. Meanwhile, her own constituents are being evicted without support for their children, and teachers and nurses in her district beg for the basic supplies they need to keep themselves safe. Her state of Virginia has nearly twice the COVID deaths of the entire nation of China. 

Even still, she continues to spread fear and discord ultimately in the aim of furthering imperialist U.S. foreign policy, whether in her recent Trumpian rhetoric on Twitter regarding the Winter Olympics in China or when passing bills aimed at antagonizing corporations that do business with China through bills such as H.R. 6256, or the so-called “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.” The very name echoes the spurious allegations made by the previous Trump administration regarding unproven “human rights abuses” in China. In the lead-up to the recent hearings by the Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) regarding why U.S. sponsors weren’t using their influence on the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to draw a line regarding the country’s alleged abuses, Rep. Wexton worked alongside conservative Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) on passing a House resolution last December, which accused the IOC for looking the other way on alleged “human rights abuses” in China (as well as supposedly whitewashing the recent storm of lies from the Western press about tennis player Peng Shuai). Amidst the recent hearings by the Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC), a recent bill was proposed by members in the House of Representatives, Rep. Wexton included, to take away the IOC’s tax-exempt status. 

The cynical dogmatism of these lies is a rhetorical trap. They ask China to prove a negative; and when they can’t do the impossible, they frame that as evidence. If China had no Uyghur citizens on its Olympic team, it would be evidence of genocide and oppression. When China tasked a Uyghur Olympian with lighting the Olympic Torch to signal the beginning of the games, it would be framed as evidence of a cover-up and token representation. 

Wexton joins conservative and liberal imperialists alike, from Donald Trump to Joe Biden, in pedaling lies that actively sustain this long history of violent bigotry. It must end. 

CPUSA broadly condemns Wexton’s ongoing campaign against China that ignores the human rights violations in her own district and is causing active harm in our community. We demand that she stop treating the objective of ending Asian hate as a trendy hashtag, and that she listen to her constituents who are in dire need of housing and healthcare.

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