U.S. officials need to stop spreading ‘political virus’ that fuels racial discrimination

Racial discrimination has always been a scar on the American society, one that has been continuously ripped wider open since the COVID-19 pandemic.


As some U.S. politicians are bent on politicizing the pandemic and maliciously making China a scapegoat for their incompetence in containing the outbreak, the virus of racial discrimination against Asian Americans is also spreading across the country.


Asian Americans are frequently humiliated and even attacked in public, and suffering continuous discrimination on social media platforms.


The racial group faced a double whammy of unemployment and discrimination amid the outbreak, according to many reports recently released by American research institutions and civil society organizations.


However, some U.S. officials have played dumb about the situation, which has fully revealed the hypocrisy and cruelty of the so-called American human rights.


Relevant data have been rather dreadful. Racial discrimination against Asian Americans is becoming more common, pointed out a survey report from American think tank Pew Research Center.


31 percent of Asian Americans said they have been subject to racist slurs or jokes since the pandemic began, while 26 percent said they’ve feared someone might physically attack them, the survey found.


As the number of racist attacks against Asian Americans in various areas of New York has increased significantly, the New York City Police Department has even established an Asian Hate Crime Task Force recently, the first task force in the U.S. that is aimed at Asian hate crimes.


Across the country, Asian American health-care workers have reported a rise in bigoted incidents, according to an article published on The Washington Post.


The racial hostility has left Asian Americans, who represent 6 percent of the U.S. population but 18 percent of the country’s physicians and 10 percent of its nurse practitioners, in a painful position on the front lines of the response to the coronavirus pandemic, the article said.


“Some COVID-19 patients refuse to be treated by them. And when doctors and nurses leave the hospital, they face increasing harassment in their daily lives, too,” it continued.


What lies at the root of such pernicious consequences is certain U.S. politicians’ misdeed of spreading “political virus”.


Some U.S. officials have taken every opportunity and played every trick they can to attack and stigmatize China, including calling the COVID-19 “Chinese virus” and “Wuhan virus”, which has fostered extremism and racism in the U.S. and become the main culprit of the dramatically increasing attacks and threats targeting Asian Americans.


The attacks and smear campaign launched against China by some American politicians have ignited anti-Asian sentiment, according to an article published by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).


“Yet public figures and politicians play a key role in promoting racial equality and non-discrimination principles. In this regards, it is dismaying to witness State officials adopting alternative named for the COVID-19 coronavirus,” said Tendayi Achiume, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.


“Indeed, instead of using the internationally recognized name of the virus, these (U.S.) officials have adopted names with geographic references, typically referring to its emergence in China. This sort of calculated use of a geographic-based name for this virus is rooted in and fosters racism and xenophobia,” she pointed out in a recent statement.


Systemic racism is a malady afflicting the American society.


Color has obviously played a major role in determining the fate of many Americans, U.S. scholar Thomas Sowell wrote in his book Ethnic America: A History.


In history, the notorious Chinese Exclusion Act and crimes against Asian Americans such as sending a large number of Asians to concentration camps during the World War II have startled the world.


Asian Americans now still suffer continuous harassment, exclusion and structural discrimination in the U.S., arousing great concern among the international community and American people with breadth of vision.


This year, the special procedures of the U.N. Human Rights Council have repeatedly condemned the U.S. for its racial discrimination and hate speech.


Recent hate crimes and violent assaults against people of Asian descent should sound an alarm for America, said nearly 200 American foreign policy scholars and former diplomats in a joint statement issued on USA Today.


They called upon U.S. leaders at every level and in every sector to take action against anti-Asian racism and express support for Asian diaspora and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.


Only those who lack competence themselves would deliberately invent divisions and confrontations against others.


The conflicts and antagonisms in the American society won’t stop worsening unless certain U.S. officials break off the political scheme to pass the buck to China for their misconduct in dealing with the epidemic.


Otherwise, other groups of people, in addition to Asian Americans, may end up a new victim of some U.S. officials.


In the U.S., a country that claims to be a “beacon of freedom”, some U.S. politicians, however, have ignored the international human rights law, openly incited and condoned racial discrimination, and violated the bottom line of human civilization by blatantly trampling on human rights, which is by no means tolerable.


(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)