WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Chinese Americans (UCA), a national coalition of Chinese-American organizations, denounces in the strongest possible terms the October 26 Newsweek cover story that accuses more than 600 Chinese-American organizations of being "linked to [the] Chinese Communist Party influence effort" abroad and that suggests that they are agents of "Xi's secret plan to subvert America" and constitute "600 reasons to worry about China."
In an article long on innuendo and prejudice but short on facts, Newsweek has gone beyond even the sensational language of cold warriors determined to further undermine already worsening U.S.-China relations. It has ignored the important and crucial difference between Chinese citizens and Americans of Chinese descent and lumped all together as agents of the Chinese Communist Party's "United Front," an entity charged with advancing the Party's interests at home and abroad. It alleges the existence of hundreds of such organizations, but names only a handful of them.
Even those named are tarred with the flimsiest of evidence. It is wrongheaded to lump reputable groups like the Committee of 100, a civic association of prominent Chinese-Americans in business, government, academia and the arts that has served our community since 1988, or the China Institute, founded in 1926 to advance a deeper understanding of China through programs in education, culture, art, and business, with campus associations or other groups in which participants are mostly Chinese citizens.
Many Chinese American civic organizations have established and maintain relationships with mainland Chinese organizations, which naturally include branches of the Chinese government at various levels as well as individuals like Chinese diplomats posted in the United States. Such relationships and activities, which include heritage- or education-related, cultural and scientific exchange programs as well as business relationships, are generally innocent, social or professional in nature. There is nothing wrong, nor should there be anything suspect, about organizations working to promote closer ties and understanding between China and the United States. This is worlds apart from acting as agents of the Chinese government, and suggesting otherwise, and assuming guilt by association on such a community-wide scale, is reckless and unjustified.
It should surprise no one that there may be individuals or groups that have veered outside of established norms and conducted inappropriate or even illegal activities. As American citizens we denounce such activities, and in such cases we trust our legal system to prosecute the perpetuators according to appropriate laws. But the existence of a small number of lawbreakers is no excuse for Newsweek or any other publication to tar everyone of Chinese ancestry with the same brush. Indeed, it's repugnant to our democratic values to cast a dark cloud of suspicion over an entire race or class of people for the actions of individuals. Our history has been stained too often by incidents of injustice inflicted upon minority groups that is motivated by deep-seated prejudice.
"Newsweek has reached a new low. We haven't seen such a wholesale, indiscriminate smear of an ethnic minority community since the McCarthy days of the 1950s," asserted UCA President Haipei Shue. "Newsweek seems intent on painting our whole community as suspect and untrustworthy. This reminds me of the 1940s, when more than 120,000 members of the Japanese American community were forced into internment camps. We will not allow history to repeat itself."
UCA demands that Newsweek withdraw the article and apologize to five million Americans of Chinese descent for its reckless allegations. We stand ready to meet with its editors for a full and frank discussion of the damage their publication has done to the image and reputation of our community. We call on Americans of all backgrounds to join us in denouncing this outrageous piece of sham journalism.
SOURCE United Chinese Americans (UCA)