This week, we have adapted an article that appeared in HK01 recently. The article well expresses arguments in many countries. On the one hand, are the left-wing liberals who seek to support minorities and underdogs. On the other are those who say that this disadvantages ordinary people, who also deserve support.
The article is as written. (My comments are in italics.)
Because an African American was killed on his knees by the police on May 25, large-scale demonstrations and riots broke out in the United States. They have not yet subsided. Many people in mainland China also expressed support for the US demonstrations, which inevitably included a payback for US support for the Hong Kong riots. Of course, out of universal feelings of humanity, many mainlanders supported the American demonstrators to express their dislike for brutal law enforcement by the US police.
Racial discrimination is unfair. Achieving justice for blacks killed by white policemen should be a goal pursued by all compassionate human beings. The Chinese are no exception. Therefore, at the beginning of American demonstrations, both the traditional Chinese media and public opinion expressed their concern for blacks in the USA.
However, as the riots continued, some Chinese people were also attacked. The attitude of mainland people towards the American demonstrators became more subtle. The voice against the “White Left” in the United States has gradually spread. Public opinion in the mainland is split between supporting American demonstrators and against the “White Left.”
Who are the “white left”? In a nutshell, a “white left” is a white liberal who takes the high ground of human morality. He or she likes to speak for minorities, people at the bottom, and marginalized people and actively strives to defend their rights and interests.
(In Western media they might be called ‘woke’. Others call them virtue signalling liberals. Many Western writers are now against the “white left” also. The leftist UK newspaper, the Guardian, is now concerned that the “white left’ are losing ground. The struggle between these viewpoints exists everywhere.)
It has become politically correct to oppose racial discrimination and violent law enforcement by the police. That is also the humane choice. However, in the struggle between China and the United States, the Chinese initially supported the black American demonstrations. The protests in Hong Kong last year had a profound impact on mainland people. It was not Hong Kong itself that caused serious dissatisfaction among mainlanders. It was the United States who intervened in Hong Kong to support the rioters there – and continues to do so.
If people in the mainland supported large-scale demonstrations in the United States, were they asking for more racial equality, or just expressing anti-American sentiments? Everyone is different. But generally speaking, because of Chinese culture, Chinese people tend not to pay much attention to social issues in other countries.
During the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement, the global image of some demonstrators holding the American flag increased the hostility of mainland people to the United States. Their support for demonstrations in the United States is mainly an expression of anti-American sentiment.
But when the American riots hit the interests of Chinese people, Chinese public opinion radically changed.
(COVID scares in China town in New York and other cities in March began to cause Chinese Americans to be ostracised and caused concern.). On June 9th, shops in New York were smashed and robbed. One Chinese-owned gold shop was not only violently looted, but the owner and his family were also severely injured. The Chinese became the victims of black demonstrations and riots. Public opinion began to criticise the “white left” of the United States and the Black Lives Matter campaign.
Why do so many people (not just in China) dislike the “white left”?
The answer is simple – because they infringe on the rights of others. They disregard real differences in society and require special care for ethnic minorities, the bottom and marginalized groups. This creates a sense of unfair deprivation for those who are not under their special care.
For example, education issues. “White Left” requires colleges and universities to take special care of African Americans so that they can be admitted to good universities even if they have low scores. This seriously infringes on the rights and interests of Asians (Chinese) who are good at learning. It reduces the possibility of Chinese going to a good university, and naturally causes dissatisfaction among Chinese in the United States.
Turning to domestic matters in China, many Chinese people are dissatisfied with White Left” and black people to protect their own interests. This is because there are so-called liberal leftists, like the “White Left”, in China too. These left-wing liberals have always stood on the side of disadvantaged groups, commenting on social issues with their high-sounding justice and morality. Issues like extreme advocacy of women’s rights, special treatment for the weak, protecting animals, and hostility to traditional ethics and filial piety.
However, their opinions often aroused the anger of others. The labels such as “White Left” are also used to attack left-wing liberals in China. At the same time, as in the United States, there is “special care” for certain groups of people in China. Most citizens cannot enjoy this privilege. This makes many people feel unfairly treated and dissatisfied.
Two of the privileged groups that people most resent are the special privileges enjoyed by ethnic minorities and foreigners in China.
Compared with the Han nationality (the majority in China), ethnic minorities have disadvantages in terms of language, culture, and numbers. The Chinese government has given ethnic minorities many privileges for decades. For example, ethnic minorities could have more children than the Han. Ethnic minorities have additional points and preferential treatment for college entrance and civil service examinations. In addition, for so-called ethnic harmony, when Han people and ethnic minorities conflict, government agencies generally favour the ethnic minorities. This has left many Han people unhappy with this special care.
The privileges of foreigners in China have made many Chinese resentful. Although there were misunderstandings in the student companion program at Shandong University, which caused a lot of anger last year, it also showed that the Chinese are generally dissatisfied with the privileges of foreigners in China. Foreigners in China have special privileges and special treatment.
There are historical reasons for China’s previous poverty and weakness. Culturally Chinese people are hospitable and face-saving. This privilege has existed for decades, but with the rise of Chinese nationalism in recent years, people’s tolerance for foreigners’ privileges has become lower. Criticism of these privileges has become more intense.
Most Chinese citizens hate “white left” views and do not support unfair privileges. In America, Chinese Americans are robbed by black people and violently attacked. When these domestic and foreign factors are combined, Chinese people reflect on their support for black people in the USA.