Monday, March 30, 2020

Anticommunist Sinophobia by Any Other Name

One thing I have never been good, or able to do whatsoever really, is compartmentalize. The cognitive dissonance I see in others I cannot understand, and very often I simply throw my hands up at what appears to me to be obvious, glaring hypocrisy. I accept, however, on an abstract level, that other people may not be associating things together in the same way that I do, that they do not see how two things are connected and logically refute one another.

So, I'll give you an example. Today a reporter I know on the one hand retweeted Mayor of Port Coquitlam Brad West's ignorant one-sided polemics against Huawei on twitter, while on the other tweeted condemning anti-asian hate-crimes ginned on by racist and sinophobic sentiment on the part of public officials. To my mind, these things are inextricable from one another. There is functionally no difference whatsoever between the rhetoric of Brad West and Mike Pompeo. They are equally complicit in inflaming ignorance and sinophobic hate-crimes.

The rhetoric of Brad West is not saved because he is 'nobly' demanding the release of Global Affairs Canada spooks Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, precisely because he elides, ignores and obscures that this country, Canada, took an illegal economic hostage first.

The responses are incredible to pointing out that (1) Wanzhou has broken no Canadian law; (2) what she is accused of breaking are unilateral American sanctions against Iran; and (3) those unilateral US sanctions were declared illegal in 2018 by the International Court of Justice. It amounts to a shrug, 'oh, someone in our government signed off on it, so it is okay.' No, it absolutely isn't. The fact that Meng Wanzhou was illegally detained, contrary to the terms of the extradition treaty, which explicitly requires that the alleged offence be an offence in both jurisdictions, which it is not, was already a mortifying embarrassment for a liberal-democracy claiming that kidnapping a hostage for Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo has anything to do with the 'rule of law.' Now, in the context of the Coronavirus, where Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo are refusing to participate in global coordination on medical relief efforts unless it is called 'Wuhan Virus' and those unilateral US sanctions restricting vital medical supplies are currently murdering people in Iran, complicity with American anti-Communism and Sinophobia is even more loathsome and inscrutable.

What Brad West does, with his jingoistic sabre-rattling, is racist opportunism. He preys on Sinophobic sentiment for political gain. Parsing the 'good' anti-Chinese sentiment from the bad, trying to claim that your anti-Chinese sentiment is noble and good, whereas the people murdering asian people because they are frightened and scared, and have been told by officials that China is bad and should be reviled, is bad, is a grotesque and self-indulgent spectacle.

Denouncing and condemning China because Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are detained while remaining uncritical towards the interests of US Empire and the radical anti-Chinese hatred emanating from the US right now is complicity, it is actively choosing to regurgitate the lies and falsehoods of US Empire, and it is at best indifference to the general atmosphere of sinophobia and hatred it fosters.

Yes, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor should be freed. So should Meng Wanzhou. We should disassociate ourselves from American state-sanctioned Sinophobic racism as much as possible, and so too should we dissociate ourselves from a corrupt and degenerating American Empire and its particular geopolitical ambitions. We should stop allowing Canadian sovereignty to be merely an appendage of racist apes like Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo.

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