Racial Profiling as By-product of U.S. China Relations
UNITY 99 Address
by George Koo
It's an honor for me to join this distinguished panel and to have this opportunity to address you, representatives of the mainstream media.
An uninterrupted monologue to members of the mainstream is a prospect I have been looking forward to with relish. Over the years, I have become increasingly frustrated by the mainstream coverage of the U.S.-China relationship and I view this as an opportunity to help set the record straight, so to speak.
I have been asked to talk about the positive and negative aspects of the bilateral China relationship and I certainly hope that we will get to that during this panel discussion. For my opening remarks, however, I want to address a matter of more serious concern and closer to home.
First let me state unequivocally that the origin of the up and down rockiness of the U.S.- China relationship is rooted in domestic politics and squabble. There are factions in this country that demonize China for real or perceived political advantages. In the process, whether by design or otherwise, Chinese Americans have become victims of racial profiling.
We may not get pulled off the highway for no good reason, but the form of racial profiling that we are subject to is just as if not more insidious and harder to combat. As the brutal murder of Vincent Chin has shown, if Chinese Americans are affected, then all Asian Americans are affected because [quote] we all look alike [unquote].
While China is the ostensible target, I would like to explain how we have been victimized by the Cox report, the Los Alamos case and the campaign finance scandal.
By now, the Cox report has been so widely discredited that I don't need to go over the gory details on why this report heaps more scorn on Congress, a place where integrity rarely visits. For anyone that missed the salient points of this report, I have done a careful analysis of this 900 page tome that I would be happy to share. In fact, I have with me today a list of websites with information that supplement my remarks for anyone interested in looking into it further.
For today's discussion, I will just focus on the racial profiling aspects of this report. A couple of examples should suffice.
The report indicates that the State Department has identified 2 Chinese companies in the U.S. as having connections with the PLA, that is, People's Liberation Army. AFL-CIO can identify "no less than 12." This report categorically claims that there are more than 3000 such companies operating in the U.S. If there is any justification of the Select Committee's conclusion, I am sure Congressman Cox will tell you that it's classified.
On top of this, the report says that there are more than 100,000 nationals from PRC studying, working and living in this country. Thus the stage is set for the mosaic theory of espionage. This theory has been further elaborated by the likes of Senator Shelby of Alabama and appeared as a commentary in LA Times written by a former counter intelligence officer of FBI.
According to the commentary, the Beijing government does not spy along traditional lines. They don't pay a lot of money for professional spies. Instead they make friends with the ethnic Chinese Americans, cater to their cultural affinity, and turn them into an army of collectors of tidbits of information from public and private sources, which Beijing then painstakingly reassembles and, voila, they have captured the crown jewel
secrets of America.
In one fell swoop, China becomes the demon and all Asian Americans part time spies.
This particular FBI analyst, by the way, spent twenty years in counterintelligence and did not catch a single spy from China. Doesn't take much to conclude that his chagrin for wasting 20 years of his life leads to this fanciful theory. I wonder if "counter" in this case isn't equivalent to "negative." You know, negative intelligence as in dumb and dumber?
This mosaic theory is also a convenient way out for the Cox report. For all the rampaging spying China is accused of committing, the only culprit the Cox report can point to is someone sentenced to 12 months in a halfway house, fined $20,000 and made to do 3000 hours of community service. Now I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, how does that stack up against a Jonathan Pollard serving life sentence for spying? For which there has been no Select Committee and no Cox report?
A prelude to the release of the Cox report is the Los Alamos case. This case broke open when the Secretary of Energy, Bill Richardson, reached down from Washington to dismiss one researcher working at Los Alamos and the media went wild. From the media response that ensued, it would appear that to members of Congress and the media, Wen Ho Lee's guilt was a foregone conclusion.
Twice in April I was part of two different groups of Asian Americans that met with Secretary Richardson to voice our concerns and to listen to his explanations on this case. He went to great lengths to explain that one individual case is no cause for profiling all members of the same ethnic group. I am satisfied that he is sincere, but he never could provide a response when it was pointed out to him that the dismissal of Wen Ho Lee came just two days before New York Times was ready to break the news.
In fact I'll go further. There isn't much doubt in my mind that the firing is politically motivated and Lee is the convenient scapegoat and sacrificial lamb rolled into one. The dismissal was to anticipate and placate in advance certain Republicans out to get the President. Indeed shortly after the news broke, there was an orchestrated clamor for the
dismissal of Attorney General Janet Reno by the Republicans in Congress.
Then when it didn't look as if there will be a case against Lee, the FBI had a ready explanation. They claim the premature disclosure of Lee being under suspicion forecloses on any chance of finding the goods to convict him. Conveniently forgotten is that FBI has been talking to Lee for three years and he even passed an earlier lie detector test.
It's hard to know what if anything Wen Ho Lee is guilty of, but one thing is certain. He did not get anything that comes close to the due process, something that is supposed to be the sacred right of every American citizen.
Of course when the campaign scandal hit about two years ago, due process was the last thing anyone had in mind. Innuendoes flew thick and fast unimpeded by any hard facts or evidence. Senator Thompson among others was outraged supposedly over the Chinese trying to influence Washington with money. Imagine that, somebody trying to influence Washington with money.
Asian Americans who thought they were joining the mainstream political process by becoming active fund raisers for political campaigns were suddenly pariahs in America. The Democratic National Committee couldn't return checks with Asian surnames fast enough. As for coming to the defense of loyal Asian Americans, are you kidding?
Republicans were busy accusing every Asian American they could find of being foreign agents funneling money for the purpose of corrupting the American political process. Unless, of course, the Asian American happens to be raising funds for their side.
When billions are spent in the federal elections, an alleged two million attributed to China surely generated outrage out of all proportion. I guess hypocrisy has a way of magnifying things. Two years later, what have we found out?
For one thing, Johnny Chung was one heck of an intermediary. He found that certain Chinese were willing to pay $300,000 for a photo op in the White House with the President. Since he only needed to contribute about 10% of that amount to the DNC to make it happen, he got to pocket one huge commission. He is some broker.
We are still waiting to hear what John Huang has to say, but here is what the Cox report said about him:
While at the Department of Commerce, he could have upgraded his clearance to a higher level, which he didn't do. He was entitled to weekly briefings, but he had significantly fewer. He asked few questions and never tried to expand the scope of the briefings. He could have upgraded the level of cable traffic he could review but he never did so. Observers of the Office of Intelligence Liaison found no instance in which Huang mishandled or divulged classified information. There must be some twisted logic I am missing that makes this sound like a suspicious character.
An economist who served on the staff of Council of Economic Affairs under both Bush and Clinton administrations co-authored a paper pointing out that the U.S. trade deficit with China is overstated. Some other economist questioned not his thesis but his nationality and his status in the U.S. His name happens to be Fung.
In March, I participated on a New California Media TV panel discussion on China bashing, a program telecast on the West Coast, and made an observation that much of the accusations about China are not based on fact but originate from petty domestic politics in Washington. Some irate viewer emailed the producer and wanted to know if I am a communist and where I am from.
Ladies and gentlemen, this sort of racial profiling has to stop. You can do something about it. You can help raise the sensitivity of your mainstream colleagues and you can help introduce the Asian American perspective to the American public. What makes America unique and America strong among all nations is its diversity. This is worthy of your attention and your diligent efforts to protect.