Statement on anti-Asian racism and the New Cold War

The recent murder of eight people — including six Asian women — in Atlanta is part of an alarming rise in racial hatred against people of Asian descent. While the United States is the centre of this phenomenon, violent anti-Asian racism is also resurging in Canada, Britain, Australia and elsewhere. 

On the same day as the Atlanta murders, the results of a new Gallup poll were released, showing that US public opinion towards China has sharply deteriorated in the past year, with nearly half the population viewing China as their ‘greatest enemy’. These two trends are not coincidental. The rise in anti-Asian racism is inextricably linked with the New Cold War currently being waged by the US government and its allies, primarily against China.

In recent years, Washington, with bipartisan support, has initiated a New Cold War with increasingly aggressive statements and actions towards China. A particularly disturbing aspect has been the promotion of racist labels such as ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Kung flu’, along with conspiracy theories of a Chinese ‘cover-up’, which have sought to blame China for the Covid-19 pandemic and generated animosity towards Asian peoples worldwide. These overtly racist narratives have been able to take root in the wider, hostile environment generated by the New Cold War. 

On a daily basis, media coverage incessantly warns of the ‘threat’ posed by China, reminiscent of the racist ‘yellow peril’ and McCarthyist ‘red scare’ narratives of the previous century. As with the Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism of the ‘War on Terror’, and the anti-Black racism of the ‘War on Drugs’, the rise in anti-Asian racism is intimately bound up with the fear-mongering narratives promoted to justify a New Cold War. 

It is wholly insufficient to criticize the overt bigotry promoted by Trump and his ilk, but continue promoting hostile confrontation with China, which inevitably lays the groundwork for such hatred to flourish. The fight against anti-Asian racism requires fighting against the New Cold War.

We support China and the US basing their relations on cooperation and dialogue, centring on the common issues which face humanity, including climate change, global health, racism, and economic development. We call on all those who stand for peace to demand that the US and its allies end their New Cold War against China.