Chinese Americans still seen as foreigners, says Committee of 100 president
Published: Jan 22, 2022 12:40 AM
Committee of 100 President Huang Zhengyu

Committee of 100 President Huang Zhengyu

Even though Chinese Americans have been living in the US for more than 175 years, "we are still seen as perpetual foreigners," said the president of an elite group promoting China-US ties, who called for the federal state, local government and communities to do more to defy long-held stereotypes. 

Commenting on the death of Michelle Go, who was shoved in front of a New York subway train last weekend, Committee of 100 President Huang Zhengyu told the Global Times on Friday that even though there has been a campaign against hate and violence toward the Asian community, the number of anti-Asian hatred and violence-related incidents has not decreased. 

Asian American and Chinese American women have been badly affected, and "we think this is very unfortunate," he said, adding that the federal state, local government and communities need to do more.

Go, who was attacked by a homeless man, Simon Martial, had been waiting for a train at the Times Square station when she was pushed from behind. Though the incident is not being investigated as a hate crime, it has angered the community.

Nancy Chen, one of Go's former coworkers who has been living in New York for 10 years, told the Global Times that it's very sad that she lost such a great colleague and a role model in life. 

"I was shocked and saddened by this news. It's so sad that Go died in such an accident," she said, adding that her ex-colleague had inspired many others.

Since the epidemic began, there has been a growing number of incidents targeting Asian Americans, exposing safety issues in the city, Chen said. 

Steve, an American who grew up in the Bronx, New York and lives in Asia now, told the Global Times that the Trump administration had put back race relations in the US by 50 years. 

"It's really sad. I grew up in NYC in the 1960s and 70s and there was little room for hate. We had a mixed neighborhood and many different races lived there. But since 2016, politicians split the country into white against black, and there's a huge amount of hate toward the Asian community," he said, noting that Trump had fueled such divisions. 

The Biden administration is built on love and trust and the deep desire to fix what the Republicans broke, Steve said, while conceding that it's been a slow process. "You cannot turn the Titanic fast enough to not hit that iceberg, because of it's sheer size," he said. 

Huang also said that Biden has made certain efforts in dealing with the problem since taking office, such as signing a Hate Crime Bill. But it is far from enough so far.

For example, law enforcers need to win trust from the public. That requires them to take language training, so they can serve the victims accordingly. 

Huang said lots of finance and training support is needed to make improvements, which also requires participation by the federal government. And the change will take time.

Huang said that besides the racist words of some politicians toward the Asian American community, there are long-held stereotypes against Asian Americans in the US. "If we take a look at history, we can see that a stereotype of Asian Americans and Chinese Americans being perpetual foreigners can be traced back hundreds of years," he said. 

This is despite the fact that Chinese Americans have been in the US for more than 175 years, and have contributed to all aspects of life across almost two centuries. "This is something that we believe we must be active in fighting against."

On Friday, the organization also issued a statement regarding the US Justice Department on Thursday dropping all charges against Chen Gang, an MIT professor accused of concealing his ties to China when seeking federal grant money. 

"Even when cases are dismissed, many Chinese and Asian Americans have their lives, careers and health greatly affected. Our support and sympathies go to Professor Chen and his family as they work to rebuild their lives," said Huang in a statement.

"For too long, Chinese Americans have been seen as perpetual foreigners, strangers in our own homeland. Today, we are all Gang Chen and stand united," he said.

Huang told the Global Times that Trump's policy of cracking down on Chinese scientists has backfired. According to the research of the Committee of 100 on over 2,000 scientists, including Chinese scientists in the US, many elite scientists are reluctant to apply for federal funding and decided to stop cooperation with China. Some are even considering leaving the US.

The US has been a bellwether of the world's economy because it attracted talent from all over the world, and it has the world's leading hi-tech industry. Yet science is a global thing and needs interaction. From this perspective, the US is harming itself.