By Zhao Minghao Source: Global Times Published: 2021-03-28
Hate crimes against Asian Americans on the US soil are becoming more commonplace. These racially discriminatory crimes are the consequence of prevailing far-right wing politics in the US. The far-right was born out of conservatism. It views liberalism and the left-wing political thought and forces as opponents. It also objects to moderate figures of mainstream conservatism.
The most representative figures of the US far-right political forces include head of the National Policy Institute, Richard Spencer, the founder of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website Andrew Anglin, and Kyle Chapman, who founded the Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knights, which is a paramilitary group that is considered a partner or subgroup of the far-right, neo-fascist Proud Boys organization. Representative organizations include the Patriot Front and Vanguard America.
The political thought and stances of US far-right can be summarized as following. First, they advocate white nationalism and supremacy, claiming that the US is facing "white genocide." Second, they oppose globalization and migrants, believing economic globalization leads to the unemployment of white middle and lower classes. Third, they are anti-elite and anti-establishment, demanding for the dismantling of the "administrative state," which they believe is controlled by political elites. Fourth, they oppose feminists, homosexuality, transgender groups, and Jews. They believe these groups destroy social stability and order that conservatives hold dear.
In contrast to traditional conservatives and right-wing elements, the far right today is distinguished by its advocacy of a strong struggle by violent and paramilitary means if necessary. Some extreme right-wing organizations, such as the Boogaloo Movement, have explicitly proposed preparing for another US civil war to overthrow the government. In addition, far-right extremists promote various conspiracy theories, including the tagline that, "Jews are taking over the world."
Under the Donald Trump administration, the far-right grew strong in the US. As Trump rose to power and far-right leader Stephen Bannon was appointed as the White House's chief strategist, far-right political thinking and forces made successful entry from the margins of society into mainstream politics. Even though racism is deeply rooted in the US, in recent years "white supremacy" intensified under the incitement of the Trump administration.
It can be said that the Trump administration opened the Pandora's box of far-right politics. As a result, various acts of extreme political violence are becoming more and more prominent, and the power of extreme right-wing political organizations has grown significantly.
Undoubtedly, China has been targeted by the far-right in the US. They claim that China is the first "non-white adversary" that the US is facing, and that there is a "clash of civilizations" between China and the US.
After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, people like Trump and his White House trade adviser Peter Navarro frequently called the coronavirus the "Chinese virus," "Wuhan virus" and "Kung flu" in public in order to shirk the responsibility of the US government for its ineffective response to save their citizens. This has exacerbated the antipathy and hatred of some Americans toward Asian groups, especially Chinese. It has also provided an important driving force for related hate crimes taking place today.
More disturbingly, far-right thinking is having an impact on American public officers. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a member of the US House of Representatives, is Trump's staunch supporter. She has close connections with some far-right organizations. Many acts of violence against Asian Americans are difficult to be charged with as "hate crimes." Moreover, US prosecutors tend to cover up racial hatred motives toward related crimes.
If far-right politics continues to be a trend in the US, this will bring about more hate crimes related to racial discrimination. It will also make the whole of America more turbulent, posing a fundamental threat to the US in terms of values.
The Biden administration should heed this as a crucial internal crisis, especially with the challenges brought by "political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism."
However, with an increasingly divided and polarized political sphere, the US will find it quite difficult to eradicate far-right wing groups. Instead, the influence of far-right politics will continue to grow. This will only cause greater anxiety and fear among ethnic groups including the Chinese community. This will spill over and have a profound impact on US foreign relations, especially China-US relations.
The author is an adjunct fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.