On June 23, the 29th anniversary of the racially motivated murder of Vincent Chin, members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) spoke out against a growing trend of anti-Chinese rhetoric in political ads that use Chinese language and imagery to portray candidates as sympathetic to China at the expense of American interests.
Last year, the New York Times estimated that 29 such ads were released in one week alone, and that tens of millions of dollars have been spent on these types of attacks. The Washington Post reported that more than 250 anti-China ads were aired during the 2010 campaign cycle. Mark Amodei, a Republican State Senator running for Congress in Nevada, released an ad that depicts Chinese soldiers marching on the U.S. capitol.
Vincent Chin died on June 23, 1982, after he was brutally beaten with a baseball bat by two Detroit auto-workers who verbally accused him of being the reason they were out of work. The incident took place during a period of heightened anti-Japanese sentiments when the rise of the Japanese auto-industry was seen as the cause of U.S. job losses. Chin, a Chinese American, was mistaken as being Japanese by his attackers, neither of whom received any jail time for the murder.
“More and more candidates are resorting to these cheap scare tactics to score political points,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC chairwoman. “They need to understand just how dangerous this language can be for Asian Pacific Americans.”
“I am deeply disturbed by the xenophobic implications of recent political ads that use China as a scapegoat to discuss the U.S. economy,” said Rep. David Wu, from Oregon. “Given our country’s dark history of anti-Chinese discrimination — from the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act to the racially-motivated murder of Vincent Chin exactly 100 years later — these fear-mongering ads have potentially dangerous consequences, especially for Asian Pacific Americans.” ♦
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