Pointing to a clip from a March 2020 episode of “The View,” in which McCain said she had no problem with then-President Trump referring to COVID-19 as the “China virus,” the British comedian said McCain’s post was “a fine sentiment to throw up on Twitter after the fact.”
“But there has to be an understanding that saying, ‘I don’t have a problem with calling it the China virus’ is very much giving space for that hate to grow,” Oliver added.
His segment prompted McCain to issue a statement Monday morning.
“I condemn the reprehensible violence and vitriol that has been targeted towards the Asian-American community,” she wrote in a message shared on Twitter. “There is no doubt Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric fueled many of these attacks and I apologize for any past comments that aided that agenda.”
After an official described the Atlanta shooter’s decision to kill eight people as “a really bad day for him,” McCain again took to Twitter. “You know who it was also a bad day for?” she wrote March 17. “The eight people and their families who this man killed!”
“Stop giving radicalized white men different allowances than any of us would have,” McCain added. “When I have a bad day, I eat ice cream and watch Tommy Boy, not gun down innocent people. Bulls—!”
“For many of us in our community, this is the first time we are even able to voice our fear and our anger, and I really am so grateful for everyone willing to listen,” Oh said at Saturday’s demonstration in Pittsburgh.
The Los Angeles of 1871 was a violent, lawless place.
Historians have described it as one of the last cities to establish civil law enforcement institutions, relying instead on vigilante justice and mob rule.
It also was a place notorious for its mistreatment and exploitation of Black, Asian, Latino and Native Californians at the hands of white settlers. But the venom against Chinese Americans was particularly poisonous, fueled by editorials in the Los Angeles News that attacked them as “barbarians taking jobs away from whites.”
“Los Angeles in 1871 was a dirty, violent city of nearly 6,000 people. Though the city had a higher homicide rate than New York or Chicago, it employed only six police officers to maintain law and order. Lynchings and mob justice were commonplace,” the Los Angeles Public Library wrote.
It was this world 150 years ago that spawned the Chinese Massacre, a bloody siege that brought shame to Los Angeles and widespread changes in the way the city operated. But it did little to alter the core racism that Asians and other groups would continue to endure.
Oct. 24, 1871
The violence of this day was on a scale that even a city known for its brutality and racial attacks had never seen. In 1999, Cecila Rasmussen of The Times provided this narrative of the chain of events:
Gunfire erupted at 4 p.m., just as former city assessor-turned-patrolman Jesus Bilderrain was polishing off a whiskey at Higby’s saloon. Most of the barroom patrons shrugged off the commotion, but Bilderrain — pistol in hand — dutifully went out the swinging doors into the street. A short distance away, he found a man named Ah Choy shot through the neck (it was later determined this shooting was related to a feud between two Chinese gangs). As Bilderrain blew his whistle to summon help, bullets struck him in the shoulder and wrist.
Running to his rescue, saloon-owner-turned-rancher Robert Thompson was killed, shot through the heart by the same unseen gunmen, who also wounded some of the bystanders.
The rioters, meanwhile, rampaged on. Some climbed to the rooftops and used pickaxes to chop holes, firing through them at the immigrants inside. Two men who ran out into the street were cut down by gunmen on the roofs.
One by one, more victims were hauled from their hiding places, kicked, beaten, stabbed, shot and tortured by their captors. Some were dragged through the streets with ropes around their necks and hanged from a wooden awning over a sidewalk, a covered wagon or the crossbeam of a corral gate. Finally, 15 corpses — including those of a 14-year-old boy and the Chinese community’s only physician, Chee Long Tong — dangled in the City of the Angels. Four others died from gunshot wounds, bringing the death toll at the hands of the mob to 19 — 10% of the city’s tiny Chinese population.
Then, every rickety shanty in Chinatown was looted. “Boys, help yourselves,” was the cry. One lynching victim’s finger was cut off for the diamond ring he wore.
The leaders of the massacre paraded through the streets, displaying their booty, to the laughter and praise of the mob. An estimated $40,000 in cash, gold and jewels was stolen.
The next day’s local newspapers called the riot a “victory of the patriots over the heathens.”
In the end, 19 people died in the attacks.
“Ten percent of the Chinese population had been killed. One of the Chinese caught up in the mob violence was the respected Dr. Gene Tong. In fact, of the killed, only one is thought to have participated in the original gunfight,” the library wrote in its history of the massacre.
Bringing justice for the massacre was going to be a tall order for a city with such weak government institutions and little inclination to hold those who killed accountable. As Rasmussen wrote:
During the subsequent coroner’s inquest and grand jury hearings, police and other city officials — fearful of being labeled “Chinese lovers” — shielded the guilty. “I didn’t recognize anyone” was the recurring statement.
There were no other witnesses, since discriminatory state legislation then prohibited Chinese from testifying in California courts. Still, 37 rioters were indicted, 15 tried and eight convicted of manslaughter. A little more than a year later, however, the California Supreme Court reversed the convictions on the grounds that the original indictment had failed to establish that the Chinese physician had been murdered.
An embarrassed U.S. government subsequently paid imperial China an indemnity to settle the whole affair.
The massacre was a black mark for Los Angeles, and city leaders responded by building up the Police Department and criminal justice system. Vigilante rule began to fade. But the racism endured by Chinese and other minority groups actually worsened.
“The massacre did not result in racial tolerance, in fact, anti-Chinese sentiment increased in the following years. The Anti-Coolie club was formed in 1876, counting many prominent citizens among its members, and the newspapers resumed their editorial attacks against the Chinese,” the library said in its account.
The massacre was largely forgotten for generations. But the history was revived in recent decades, in part by Chinese American activists. It was the subject of two history books: “Eternity Street” by John Mack Faragher and “The Chinatown War” by Scott Zesch.
“Zesch asks whether the right lessons have been learned. He argues that the 1871 massacre may have marked the end of mob justice in Los Angeles. But Zesch attributes this milestone primarily to improved law enforcement, not to the better angels of our nature taming our impulse to scapegoat, pander and pick up a gun.”
After the passing of many of her colleagues from coronavirus (COVID-19), a doctor in Wuhan is now openly criticizing Chinese health authorities for keeping the early warnings of the outbreak from the public.
Wuhan Central hospital emergency department head Ai Fen spoke out about state censors have reportedly been trying to scrub the internet.
The novel coronavirus has since killed over 3,000 people in China, including four of her colleagues at her hospital.
At the risk of losing her job and landing in jail, Ai has joined other critics in putting the Chinese government to task for its handling of the outbreak.
“If I had known what was to happen, I would not have cared about the reprimand. I would have fucking talked about it to whoever, where ever I could,” she said in the interview released on Tuesday.
Immediately after Ai’s interview was posted and shared online, it was removed from Chinese social media sites. Even the online magazine that hosted the interview has removed the article.
But as the censors worked to do the cleanup, some Chinese social media users were able to save the article, and now screenshots of the article are being shared in creative ways.
In their bid to evade censors, some users posted versions written in emojis and even Morse codes. There’s also a version done in pinyin, the Romanization system for Mandarin.
Based on the article, Ai received the lab results of a case containing the word “SARS coronavirus” on December 30. She felt nervous after reviewing the report as she has previously seen several patients with flu-like symptoms and resistant to usual treatment methods.
She took a photo of the report with the word “SARS” circled and sent it to a doctor at another hospital in Wuhan.
The image immediately spread within the medical community in Wuhan overnight. Among those who saw it was Li Wenliang, the doctor who eventually became a whistleblower when his warnings were later shared publicly on WeChat.
According to Ai, she received a message from her hospital that night warning her against sharing information about the disease to the public as it would cause panic.
She was then summoned and reprimanded for “spreading rumors” and “harming stability” by the head of the hospital’s disciplinary inspection committee two days later.
As even the hospital staff were prohibited from discussing anything related to the virus, Ai asked her staff to wear protective clothing and masks despite hospital authorities telling them not to. She also instructed staff in her department to wear protective jackets under their doctor coats.
“We watched more and more patients come in as the radius of the spread of infection became larger,” she was quoted as saying.
They soon noticed the influx of patients without any connection to the seafood market, which was thought to be the source of the original cases.
While Ai already observed at the time that there must be human to human transmission, Chinese authorities maintain that there was no reason to believe the virus was being passed between people.
It was not until January 21 when the Chinese officials finally confirmed that there was human to human transmission of the virus. The number of patients coming to the emergency room was already over 1,500 per day, which was three times the normal number of cases.
Ai said that over the last few months, she saw many of her colleagues fall sick and four die from the virus, including Li Wenliang.
The ads were part of Dolce & Gabbana’s China campaign. Soon after their launch, Diet Prada criticized the brand for “painting their target demographic as a tired and false stereotype of a people lacking refinement or culture.”
“#DGlovesChina? More like #DGdesperateforthatChineseRMB lol,” the Instagram watchdog wrote at the time.
Aside from the questionable ads, Diet Prada also exposed a disturbing conversation between founder Stefano Gabbana and an Instagram user. In it, Gabbana called China “the country of sh*t.”
Dolce & Gabbana immediately faced a heavy backlash. Chinese celebrities began dropping out of an upcoming show in Shanghai, resulting in its cancellation.
In the wake of Diet Prada’s exposé, Dolce & Gabbana released a statement announcing that its Instagram page — as well as Gabbana’s — had been hacked. An internal investigation was reportedly conducted.
“We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China,” the label said.
However, many refused to believe the company’s claims. The outrage took a turn for the worse, involving industry professionals and other Chinese personalities.
But the situation seemed far from over. In early 2019, Dolce & Gabbana reportedly filed a defamation lawsuit against Diet Prada, seeking 4 million euros ($4.7 million) in damages (3 million euros for the brand and 1 million euro for Gabbana).
“With so much anti-Asian hate spreading in the U.S., it feels wrong to continue to remain silent about a lawsuit that threatens our freedom of speech. We are a small company co-founded by a person of color, trying to speak out against racism in our own community,” Diet Prada wrote in a new post.
Fashion Law Institute, a nonprofit based at Fordham Law School, is reportedly coordinating Diet Prada’s defense through its pro bono clinic. It is also collaborating with Italian law firm AMSL Avvocati, which “graciously agreed” to represent the defendant at a reduced rate.
Diet Prada filed its defense on Monday. The watchdog is now asking the public for financial help through a GoFundMe page.
“We need your help more than ever to raise funds to cover law firm costs, filing fees, and other legal expenses,” Diet Prada wrote. “Going up against a large luxury brand is daunting, but your contribution means we can continue protecting our fundamental rights, but also preserve what is so special about the Diet Prada community.”
Its hard to predict whether Dick Gregory will be most celebrated as a path-breaking comedian or a trailblazing civil rights activist. Its impossible to imagine the history of either movement without him—or without his unique blending of the two. In the early 1960s, he became one of the first black comedians to perform before integrated audiences. In 1967, he ran for mayor of Chicago against Richard J. Daley, and a year later for president as the Freedom and Peace Party candidate. The author of and contributor to many politically charged books, Gregory is still a staunch, wry political voice across a range of issues as varied as nutrition, social justice, and the environment. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington interviews the provocative and always unpredictable Gregory.
In New York, Seattle and San Francisco, where businesses and restaurants have suffered for months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Chinatown is marking a year since it first started feeling the effects of the global outbreak.
In the early days on the pandemic, as fear grew that the virus first reported in China would spread to the United States, growing anti-Chinese sentiment caused people to avoid the district, causing harm to the communities’ economies even before the first American case of COVID-19 was confirmed.
The impact worsened as President Trump continuously branded COVID-19 the ‘China plague’.
Asian American small businesses have been among the hardest hit by the economic downturn during the pandemic.
While there was a 22 percent decline in all small business-owner activity nationwide from February to April, Asian American business-owner activity dropped by 26 percent, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
A year on, as the Chinese New Year on February 12 approaches, the normal 16-day celebrations are being abandoned for online events and the oldest Chinatown districts in San Francisco, New York and Seattle remain ghost towns.
Despite the younger generations coming to the communities’ aid, the promise of a faster vaccine rollout, and the aid of donations and loans, Chinatown businesses are still daunted by the uphill battling facing them in surviving 2021.
When one thinks of the transcontinental railroad, rarely do Chinese migrants come to mind. But in a new exhibition at the National Museum of American History in Washington, a vital revision is presented.
But this exhibition takes a different tack, tracing the forgotten Chinese workers who built the western leg of the railroad across the Sierra Nevada mountains, connecting the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad in 1869.
“Historians have always known and written about the Chinese workers, but it’s forgotten by society,” said Peter Liebhold, who co-curated the exhibit with Sam Vong. “We’ve forgotten the contribution of these workers, and in fact, we forget the contribution of all workers. We tend to focus on the achievement of the few and not the stories of the average everyday person.”
Ittells the story of Chinese workers through old maps, detailing where they worked, their labor materials – from conical hats to miner’s picks – and photos, showing the tents they lived in, their working conditions and their nomadic lifestyle.
“The artifacts on view are meant to help visitors understand how forgotten workers had to endure hazardous, unfair conditions, in addition to backbreaking labor,” said Leibhold. “The 150th anniversary is not just about completing a railroad, but the workers involved.”
Chinese workers made up most of the workforce between roughly 700 miles of train tracks between Sacramento, California, and Promontory, Utah. During the 19th century, more than 2.5 million Chinese citizens left their country and were hired in 1864 after a labor shortage threatened the railroad’s completion.
The work was tiresome, as the railroad was built entirely by manual laborers who used to shovel 20 pounds of rock over 400 times a day. They had to face dangerous work conditions – accidental explosions, snow and rock avalanches, which killed hundreds of workers, not to mention frigid weather.
“All workers on the railroad were ‘other’,” said Liebhold. “On the west, there were Chinese workers, out east were Irish and Mormon workers were in the center. All these groups are outside the classical American mainstream.”
The exhibition features a century-old pair of chopsticks, as well as canisters for tea and soy sauce. The railroad company provided room and board to white workers, but Chinese workers had to find their own meals, which were often brought to them from local merchants.
There are also miner’s picks and shovels, conical hats, as well as photos of the camp sites where the workers lived in Nevada in 1869. There are photos, as well, of the Native Americans, many of whom protested against the building of the railway in 1869, which displaced the Lakota, Shoshone, Cheyenne and other communities.
The Chinese workers were educated and organized; 3,000 laborers went on strike in 1867 to demand equal wages, as the white workers were paid double.
“They were unsuccessful because they were out in the middle of nowhere,” said Liebhold. “The railroad stopped them from getting food. That’s one way it failed.”
One telling photo on view is a shot of the Union Pacific board members sitting in a business class train car from 1869. By paying laborers a low wage, they were able to skim millions from the construction and get rich.
“Building railroads is often profitable but operating them isn’t necessarily, if you look at the history of railroads in the US,” said Liebhold. “To totally condemn the businessmen is challenging because they took huge risks raising money to build a railroad that was astronomically difficult. Many people didn’t think it was possible.”
There is one photo from 1869 that shows how the company commemorated the last hammered spike to complete the railroad, however, only one Chinese worker is in the photo. Many of the actual workers were left out.
This story could still be one which resonates with today’s America. “There’s no question this is a story about migrant labor,” he said. “Chinese workers were not citizens, weren’t allowed to become citizens. From the 1850s to 1882, they were tolerated in the US, but not accepted as peers.
“Then, there was the Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred immigrants from coming into US, unless you were a diplomat or a businessperson,” said Liebhold. “You’re always welcome if you’re affluent, then you’re allowed to come in.”
For years after the three-week stretch that made him an international phenomenon, Jeremy Lin went out of his way to avoid saying “Linsanity.”
The word, which he trademarked in 2012 to prevent strangers from profiting off his image, carried too much trauma. It had been coined by Knicks fans to describe their excitement for an unheralded reserve who blossomed — seemingly overnight — into a franchise hero, but it took on a less complimentary meaning when Lin failed to recapture the greatness he exhibited during those 18 days in February.
As Lin ping-ponged among six franchises in seven years before heading to China in August 2019 when no NBA team signed him in free agency, he came to view Linsanity as a painful reminder of his unfulfilled promise. His legacy was seemingly distilled to less than a month’s worth of games when he couldn’t do enough to be remembered for more.
But over the past year, therapy sessions and a memorable season in his maternal grandmother’s home country helped Lin come to terms with his place in basketball history. His recent decision to forgo a seven-figure contract in China and sign with Golden State’s G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, for less than the average elementary school teacher’s salary was rooted in little more than a desire to prove to himself that he still belongs in the NBA.
As one of the faces of the Chinese Basketball Association, Lin lived in a penthouse apartment in downtown Beijing, rode to practices in the backseat of a luxury sedan and often navigated throngs of autograph-seekers to reach the hotel elevator. Now, nine years removed from his last G League game, he is back in a level he remembers best for the time he and his Erie BayHawks teammates ate saltine crackers all day before a game in Portland, Maine, because the team bus had broken down during a snowstorm.
“In China, I had so much fan support and so many amazing things going on,” said Lin, who paced the Beijing Ducks last season in scoring (22.3 points per game), assists (5.6 per game) and steals (1.8 per game). “To surrender all of that and to come here, honestly, some people think I’m crazy.”
After his Ducks were beaten in the CBA’s semifinals in early August, Lin returned to his parents’ house in Palo Alto. Each morning, around 4 or 5, he awoke as questions about his future raced through his mind: Would he be comfortable finishing his career in front of adoring fans in China? Would he always have a gnawing regret that he hadn’t given the NBA another shot?
Lin had heard from his agent that NBA teams weren’t impressed by gaudy stats against inferior competition in the CBA. His quickest route back to the sport’s top level would be through the G League, from where 35 players were called up to the NBA last season.
At age 32, Lin recognizes that he can’t afford to waste time. His hope is that, after a dozen or so games with Santa Cruz at the Orlando bubble, he’ll land an NBA contract and show that he should never have had to leave the league in the first place.
That is important personal growth, but he isn’t content stopping there. Instead of returning to China, where he could revel in being one of the biggest celebrities in a basketball-crazed country of nearly 1.4 billion people, Lin figures he owes it to himself and his fans to see whether he can author another inspirational story.