Growing ‘Chinese exclusion’ sentiment risks turning US into an extremist country


In recent times, the surge in anti-China rhetoric and actions from extremist US figures has triggered concerns: could the discriminatory laws against the Chinese akin to the historical Chinese Exclusion Act resurface? While experts see a low possibility of such legislation at the federal level, they caution against the rising trend of “Chinese exclusion” within American society.

This Sunday marks the 80th anniversary of the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Signed in 1882, it barred Chinese workers from entering the US legally and denied Chinese immigrants residing there citizenship. This dark chapter in immigration history symbolizes a harsh reality of discrimination in the nation.

President Joe Biden, commemorating this event, condemned the Act’s past discrimination and urged against demonizing immigrants and intolerance. However, his statements, amid an increasingly hostile environment for US ethnic minorities, seem more like a campaign strategy to secure votes than a genuine call to eliminate racial discrimination.

Despite the Act being repealed decades ago, the specter of the “yellow peril” still looms large in US politics and culture. Discrimination against Asian and Chinese communities remain pervasive, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, where they faced heightened stigmatization and became targets of hate crimes due to their ethnicity.

Studies reflect the enduring impact of discrimination, with a majority of Asian Americans citing experiences of being treated as outsiders and facing racial bias. For Chinese Americans, almost three-quarters reported instances of racial discrimination in the last year. These alarming statistics underscore the rapid spread of anti-Asian and anti-Chinese racism in the US.

The legacy of the Chinese Exclusion Act continues to reverberate today. US politicians, riding on xenophobic and Sinophobic sentiments, have hyped anti-China agendas for political mileage. This has led to over 20 states proposing or enacting laws curbing Chinese property purchases over purported national security concerns. This shift from economic measures to social exclusion and hate crimes against Asians reflects a concerning “Chinese exclusion” trend in the US.

Any societal inclination to exclude an ethnic group clashes with the US commitment to equality. The historical Act serves as a reminder that the US has its own struggle with human rights and freedom.

Furthermore, when extremist politicians justify “Chinese exclusion” under national security concerns, it risks solidifying this sentiment within society. A continued rise in anti-Chinese incidents may push the US into a state of extremism, straying further from its principles.


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