Weaponizing Accusations of Racism to Squash Political Criticism of ChinaRoundup
tags: China, universities, satire, free speech
I’m a longtime critic of China. Over the years, I’ve condemned its censorship of the press, its fabrications of history and its efforts to spy on students in America (yes, you read that correctly).
So that makes me a racist, right?
Wrong, of course. But the Chinese regime and its apologists in the United States are trying to persuade you otherwise. And it seems to be working, which speaks volumes about the state of free speech on our campuses right now. If you want to censor someone, just call them a racist.
Witness the dust-up at Emerson College in Boston, which recently decertified a conservative student group that distributed stickers declaring that “China...kinda sus” — slang for suspicious. Under pressure from the Emerson Chinese Student Association, the school opened a bias investigation of the incident.
In a video reply, the group producing the stickers said they targeted the Chinese government, not the Chinese people. Meanwhile, the vice-president of this allegedly “anti-Asian” organization noted that he was born in Singapore. The last time I checked, that’s part of Asia.
No matter. The group was suspended by Emerson, whose administration labeled the stickers “anti-China hate.” And earlier this month, Emerson quietly announced that the group would no longer be recognized on campus because it couldn’t find a faculty adviser.
Of course it couldn’t. Once the school had labeled the group racist, which professor in their right mind would advise it? Emerson has chilled anti-China speech, because it has effectively reclassified it as anti-Chinese speech.
All that, because of the term “sus.” As any video game player could tell you, users of the game Among Us coined the term to describe someone who is suspected of being an imposter. It then morphed into a meme referring to anyone who is suspicious, for any reason.
Surely the Chinese regime fits the bill. It has placed up to a million Uyghurs in concentration camps, jailed monks and other dissidents in Tibet, and imprisoned protesters in Hong Kong. It lies repeatedly and shamelessly about these policies. We have every reason to suspect it.
To be clear, Chinese students in America are free to defend their government. They also have the right to denounce critics of China as racist. But it’s flat-out wrong for any university to heed their censorship demands, even as China’s own rulers censor more people than any state on earth.
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