Alarm bells ring for US infested with hate speech: Global Times editorial
Published: Jan 29, 2023 12:43 AM
People take part in a protest against Asian hate in New York, the United States, on March 21, 2021. (Photo by Winston Zhou/Xinhua)

People take part in a protest against Asian hate in New York, the United States, on March 21, 2021. (Photo by Winston Zhou/Xinhua)

At the International Holocaust Remembrance Day event held at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York on January 27, UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered a speech. While reviewing this terrible history, he expressed serious concerns about the reality of today's world. "The alarm bells were already ringing in 1933," he declared, but "too few bothered to listen, and fewer still spoke out." He warned that antisemitism, hate speech and misinformation are ever-present. In addition, continued Guterres, there is a growing disregard for human rights and disdain for the rule of law, "surging" white supremacist and Neo-Nazi ideologies, and rising antisemitism - as well as other forms of religious bigotry and hatred. The world must beware "siren songs of hate."

The date marks the liberation of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops, and commemorates the victims of the Holocaust. Although nearly a century has passed since that sad history, hatred and prejudice have taken on new forms and threaten the peace and tranquility of the world in new ways. "When there is hoarfrost underfoot, solid ice is not far off." If hate speech is allowed to fester and spread, human society will sooner or later face a more painful consequence.

On this topic, many people can't help but think of the US. It can be said that Guterres' alarm bells are mainly ringing for Washington. This is not because people have any prejudice against the US, but because they have a certain understanding and awareness of it. On the same day as Guterres' speech, President Joe Biden, at a Lunar New Year reception in the White House, acknowledged the increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in response to two recent mass shootings in the Asian American community, stating that the community has experienced "profound hate, pain and violence and loss," with the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes caused in part by inflammatory rhetoric related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is not difficult to make two basic judgments. First, the US has become the country with very serious hate phenomenon, the most important source of hate speech and mindset. Second, in the US, the main target of hatred has shifted from Jews to Asians, which is related to the various versions of the "China threat theory." According to statistics, from March 2020 to March 2022, there were nearly 12,000 violent incidents against Asians across the US, and hate crimes against Asians increased by 177 percent in 2022. These data are shocking.

The Biden administration's attitude against hate crimes is comparatively clear-cut. However, the strength and effectiveness of its actions against hate crimes cannot even be described as barely satisfactory, but bad. The momentum of rampant hate speech and hate crimes has not been curbed, but has become stronger. Why is that? The force of inertia is one of the reasons, but it is fundamentally because the political elites in Washington are stuck in a huge misunderstanding on this issue. Anti-hate crime moves are extremely incomplete, and the crackdown on hate speech and hate crimes is half-hearted, full of selectivity or opportunism.

Although Biden admitted the facts, he did not reflect further, yet instead praised the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act passed by the current administration. The US mainstream media also interpreted the meaning of Biden's speech as absorbing the rapidly growing ballots of Asians, which greatly weakened the already limited reflection on American society. Racism, hate speech and gun crime are chronic systemic diseases in the US. The ambiguous attitude of Washington elites is an important reason why this problem has not been cured and has even intensified.

Not only that, under the background that being tough on China has increasingly become a bipartisan consensus, and exaggerating the "China threat theory" has become a universal tool to attract votes, how can it be possible to reduce the hatred and conspiracy theories against Asians or Chinese? Washington has made a lot of gestures to appease Asians on the surface, but it is dedicated to creating a soil for the breeding of hate, and keeps watering and fertilizing it. In addition to the flowers of evil, can other things be expected to grow from this soil?

If the US does not end hate attacks in international politics, it will not end hate attacks at home; the phenomenon of hate crimes in the US cannot be reduced while political demagogues continue their words and deeds unrestrained in Washington. Today, US authorities are still slandering China's image and intentions based on false information. Going against China has even become a kind of political correctness in Washington. A large-scale hatred storm is brewing on American soil. When it really blows up, at that time, it will be impossible to control where it targets like a precision-guided missile. The US is the hardest-hit area by hurricanes, and Americans should understand the violent power of hurricanes to destroy everything.