The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) is delighted to hear word this morning that China will soon release the 24 American crewmen.
Unfortunately, for Chinese Americans the problem does not end with the release of the crewmen. Despite the fact that we are U.S. citizens and permanent residents, we continue to be beset with false characterizations and, when circumstances like this incident arise, our loyalty and patriotism are questioned.
During the past week:
* a national talk show host allegedly called for all Chinese Americans to be interned--reminiscent of the fate of the 120,000 Japanese Americans interned during World War II.
* a host at Fox News & Friends declared support for the firing of "Chinese national laboratory employees" in retaliation for China's insistence on an apology.
* an April 16, 2001 Business Week article says that a Gallup survey found that more than 80% of Americans believe that China is "dangerous".
* in Springfield, IL a local radio talk show host said that people should boycott all Chinese restaurants and that all Chinese should be sent home to "their country". Another commentator suggested a Chinese camp for Chinese. This comment was followed by the phoning of people with Chinese last names and harassing them.
We are deeply concerned about the potential negative repercussions this heated rhetoric will have on Chinese Americans and Asian Pacific Americans.
Like the 1996 campaign finance controversy and last year's Wen Ho Lee case, when controversial incidents occur involving the U.S. and China, Chinese Americans and Asian Pacific Americans often become the victims of racial profiling and scapegoating.
As a national educational and civil rights advocacy group, OCA's purpose is to fight against these misperceptions and promote Chinese Americans and Asian Pacific Americans as equal partners in America and as loyal Americans.