What complicates the matter is that the Chinese government, having dug its heels into an intensifying rivalry with the U.S., is not missing any chance to bring up racism to delegitimize America’s democracy and highlight its hypocrisy. During the Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder last summer, China’s state media pumped out reports and social media posts about the racism directed at African Americans. In the recent fiery meeting between Chinese and U.S. top diplomats in Anchorage, the Chinese Communist Party foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi broke diplomatic protocol to deliver a lengthy lecture about America’s deep-seated human rights problems, citing the persecution and “slaughter” of Black Americans in the U.S.
In the aftermath of the Atlanta shooting, meanwhile, The Global Times published an article asserting that Western media and journalists, including The New York Times and a prominent Asian American journalist, “invited attacks and even bloodshed to the Asian group in the U.S. as a whole.”
Clearly implied was the argument that any criticism of the Chinese government bore responsibility for promoting anti-Asian hatred. In a White House Press Briefing on March 18, a reporter askedNational Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne whether the Biden administration’s tough stance toward China was fanning discrimination against Asian Americans. Many Asian American leaders and progressive commentators in the U.S. also make the connection between U.S.-China policy and anti-Asian racism in different ways.