Racism

Protesters kneel and raise their arms as they gather peacefully to protest the death of George Floyd at the State Capital building in downtown Columbus, Ohio, 1 June 2020. (Seth Herald/AFP)

Protests in the US and HK: Which is 'a beautiful sight to behold'?

The riots in the US following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white policeman have given the Chinese people a chance to gloat at US “double standards” in the terms it has used on the Hong Kong protests. In contrast, the Chinese authorities have been restrained and measured in its responses. Correspondent Yang Danxu speaks to academics to find out what this might mean.
Professor Wang Gungwu speaks on China, the coronavirus, and the prospect of a divided world. (SPH)

Wang Gungwu: Even if the West has lost its way, China may not be heir apparent

In a wide-ranging email interview with ThinkChina editor Chow Yian Ping, sinologist Wang Gungwu shares his thoughts on how China and the world have changed because of the pandemic. He keenly observes that Chinese leaders have sought greater control over the population in recent years, and the situation will worsen as the pandemic deepens their insecurities. On the international stage, an intense clash of interests among the major powers looks set to keep nations divided. On the micro-level however, he takes heart that a “globalisation from below” is taking place; the fact that the virus knows no borders has brought people closer together, with opportunities for reset.
This file photo taken on March 2, 2018 shows people gathering on a street in the "Little Africa" district in Guangzhou, the capital of southern China's Guangdong province. Africans in southern China's largest city say they have become targets of suspicion and subjected to forced evictions, arbitrary quarantines and mass coronavirus testing. (Fred Dufour/AFP)

Officials say no differential treatment of African community but Chinese in Africa fear sinophobia

Amid claims of discrimination against Africans in Guangzhou in terms of coronavirus controls, the Guangzhou authorities have stressed that there is no differential treatment of foreigners. Meanwhile, Chinese in and out of China are worried about a second wave of the virus, and retaliation by locals in other countries. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong reports.
Can the Covid-19 pandemic let us rethink how we treat foreigners, and whether and how our attitude toward foreigners reflects our character and our values as a person, a community, or a nation? A look at the attitude toward foreigners in an earlier time may give us some perspective on our current situation. This is an old map of Asia created by Willem Bleau and published in Amsterdam, ca. 1650. (iStock)

Us and them: Lessons from ancient China about demonising 'enemies'

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the notion of ethnic groups and accentuated the distinction between "us" and "them". What was it like in ancient China? How did the Chinese people look at the world around them and were the "outsiders" friends or enemies? While admitting that human society does not always act in its best interest, historian Prof Poo reminds us to differentiate between rhetoric and reality, to value good neighbourliness, and to be aware that groups are vulnerable to political manipulation.
In 1904, The Judge magazine ran this cartoon titled The New Square-Deal Deck, with Theodore Roosevelt saying, "Come, now, gentlemen; it is time to throw aside that worn-out deck and try one which will give both of you a square deal." The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was repeatedly extended, sparking anger from the Chinese government and overseas Chinese. In the picture, a Chinese and Uncle Sam take turns to play their political cards, neither side willing to give in.

[Photo story] China-US relations in the late 19th century: Is history repeating itself?

Were China-US relations always as they are now? Or was there something that changed the situation? Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao presents powerful images from US magazines in the late 19th century, which depict sinophobia in US society and difficulties in China-US relations more than a century ago. Are these images proof that history repeats itself?
Passers-by pass by a shop in Via Paolo Sarpi, the commercial street of the Chinese district of Milan on 30 January 2020. (Miguel Medina/AFP)

Covid-19: Racist behaviour must not go unchecked in Europe

Stories of race-related incidents have crawled out of the woodwork and spread almost as fast and venomously as the coronavirus itself. Zhou Ruirui of the Centre of Globalisation and Governance at Hamburg University says it’s time for some self-reflection.
A security guard in a mask looks out from the Jingshan park overlooking the Forbidden city (center) after a snowfall in Beijing, February 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Who should apologise for the term 'sick man of Asia'?

Amid the furore over The Wall Street Journal’s controversial “sick man of Asia” headline, Hu Hao points out that going back to history, the term may have first been coined by a Chinese thinker seeking to galvanise change in society. Instead of physical attributes, it referred to the apathetic, backward, and foolish mindsets of Chinese who were passive and indifferent towards the authoritarian regime they were living under. He asks if the China of today is indeed no longer the "sick man"? And if the Wall Street Journal should indeed apologise as the Chinese government has demanded?
As the world’s second largest economy, China should have gained enough confidence to not be affected by terms like "sick man of Asia". In this photo taken on 25 February 2020, a woman wearing a protective face mask walks on an overpass in Shanghai. (Noel Celis/AFP)

From ‘sick man’ to ‘sleeping lion’: Have the Chinese overreacted?

Yu Shiyu observes that China could be reading too much into terms such as “sick man” and should by now, have the self-confidence to let such comments roll off their backs.
A man wearing a protective facemask stands in front of a movie poster in Shanghai. - China on February 19, 2020 ordered three reporters from American newspaper the Wall Street Journal to leave the country over what Beijing deemed a racist headline, in one of the harshest moves against foreign media in years. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Where multiple 'gods' co-exist: Countering the racism complex in Western diplomacy

Political analyst Zheng Yongnian says that in the current panic of the Covid-19 outbreak and against the backdrop of already fractured US-China relations, the US and the West’s racism complex is bubbling to the surface and could taint their foreign policy approaches to China even more. He looks forward to a future where multiple “gods” co-exist.