Chinese Americans divided on US election

By Yang Sheng and Zhang Han Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/4 0:01:47

Some buy weapons for self-defense over post-election civil unrests

Chinese American volunteers deliver donations to the Little Sisters of the Poor, a senior center for low income seniors in the city of San Pedro, Southern California, the United States, on April 2, 2020. As COVID-19 cases skyrocket in Southern California in the Unites States, Chinese Americans who saw Chinese people undergo hardship during the outbreak in China are stepping up to help their American neighbors as well.Photo:Xinhua.

 In 2016, some Chinese Americans helped Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in some swing states like Pennsylvania to become the president of the US. But in 2020, many of them have changed their minds.

According to the 2020 Asian American Voter Survey released by APIA Vote, a survey institute on Asian and Pacific island voters in the US, 56 percent of Chinese Americans voters will vote for Joe Biden, and only 20 percent for Trump.

On Election Day, many of them will vote. Emily Luo, a Biden supporter who moved to Houston from China about 5 years ago, said that four years ago, many Chinese voters in the US chose Trump because they didn't like Clinton. But more and more changed their mind.

"The words frequently used by Trump like 'China Virus' or 'Kong-flu' are putting Chinese Americans in a very difficult and isolated situation in many states. They are being targeted by racists," she said.

Another Chicago-based Chinese American who asked not to be named said that since the COVID-19 epidemic hit the US, thousands of Chinese here were bullied, and this is the consequence of Trump's "blame China" strategy; and unfortunately, the strategy is working.    

However, other Chinese voters who support Trump said although they don't like the president personally, they support the idea of the Republicans and strongly oppose Democrats' policies on many issues. 

Voters walk into a polling station during the Virginia primary in Arlington, Virginia, the United States, March 3, 2020. Polling stations opened on the US East Coast on Tuesday morning, kicking off the so-called "Super Tuesday" primaries of the 2020 presidential election. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

A Chinese American in North Carolina who requested anonymity as well said that he had voted for Trump and had been actively participating in campaign activities of the Republicans. 

"Democrats have all sorts of slogans for LGBT, gun control… They were all hollow things that brought about nothing for common people like us," he said, noting Democrats' policies on minorities are actually exploiting Chinese, or Asians, for the benefit of other minority groups. 

The resident cited universities' admission quotas as an example of Chinese Americans' disadvantaged status under the Democrats' policy. 

Kevin Wu, a second generation Chinese immigrant in Louisiana, told the Global Times that the affirmative action promoted by Democrats is actually very unfair to Chinese students, and the legalization of marijuana is also "a key reason why we don't support Democrats. So maybe Trump is bad on some points, but we don't want Democrats either."

"We do not need a favored policy. Chinese people can live a nice life if no policy favors other minority groups over us," said the Trump supporter in North Carolina.

Wu said "most Chinese here earn more than others, so they don't want to pay more taxes, and they support the idea of small government. This is the reason why they support Trump."

However, no matter which candidate they support, both sides reached by the Global Times all worry about the potential civil unrest and their safety after the election. The Trump supporter in North Carolina also stocked some weapons and ammunition to prepare for potential civil unrest amid or after the presidential election. "The price doubled during the past weeks," he said.

Many anti-China political groups formed or sponsored by Taiwan or Hong Kong separatists, as well as the cult organization Falun Gong, support Trump as they believe Trump's reelection could be a big trouble for China, and this is why some Chinese Americans have also been affected by them, said analysts. 

Most interviewees, whether Trump or Biden supporters, agree that Trump has handled COVID-19 poorly, but some of them choose to blame China, just as what the Trump administration did.

"This group of Trump supporters is even more hostile to the People's Republic of China than other Americans, as they want to cut off their connection with China and hope the locals will accept them and treat them differently. But for racists, they are just the same as us," said Luo.

Luo told the Global Times that the intense China-US relations have affected many Chinese Americans, and a typical example is the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston.

"Many Chinese Americans in the southern states of the US have no place to get a visa to travel back to China to see their families. We hope Biden can at least ease the tensions a little bit. This is too hard for us," Luo noted.

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