Friday, December 12, 2008

Reasons why Obama needs a new start with China-part 5 of 5: End to Racial Profiling

The Obama Administration takes office on the promise of change and one of the most critical changes he can make is to reboot our relations with China based on mutual respect and shared interests. A strong and positive alliance with China is more important now than ever.

By treating China as an equal partner, the Obama Administration would not only recognize the reality of China’s position in the new world order but would gain an ally that could reduce America’s military expenditures, provide diplomatic cover in certain parts of the world essential to world stability and help rescue America’s foundering economy.

Another change though not directly connected to relations with China is stopping the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies. In the case of Chinese Americans, it is the idea that somehow their feelings about their ancestral land, a natural feeling with any first generation immigrants, are somehow unnatural and a cause of disloyalty.

Ethnic bias runs deep in certain parts of the American government. Broad and ambiguous export control policy provides cover for justifying racial profiling by the enforcement agencies. Sometimes the bewildered target of the FBI investigation was tripped up by the idea that a civilian use could have military implications. Other times, they didn’t do anything but were harassed anyway for merely being ethnic Chinese.

The FBI has always espoused the idea that China uses the so-called “grains of sand” practice of espionage. Simply stated, FBI believes every ethnic Chinese in America is a potential spy for China.

The idea that China is patiently collecting tidbits of information from a million sources that add up to devastating intelligence is preposterous but this theory serves to excuse those in counter-intelligence for failing to catch anyone and justify their random arrests of Chinese Americans.

Though it hardly qualifies as espionage, exporting to China can get a person in trouble, especially if the person is ethnic Chinese.

The Obama administration should conduct an anti-ethnic cleansing of the leadership of FBI and get rid of the bigots and the racially biased culture that reside there since J. Edgar Hoover. Racial profiling under grains of sand or any other pretense is still a show of ignorance and in the case of the FBI, incompetence.

Stopping the harassment of Chinese Americans will contribute to a positive atmosphere with China and will re-direct the energies of the law enforcement bodies to issues related more directly to homeland security, a cause we all support.

Read entire 5 part article on Asia Times.


Anonymous said...

Basically good points, but they could have been made more effectively without the vitriol and sanctimony.

The author writes: "the notion that goods sold for civilian use could also find military use and therefore must be restricted when exporting to China is outdated and gratuitously insulting." Those familiar with this subject will surely question whether the author is joking, naive, in denial, or ignorant of the facts.

The author's views on U.S. suspicions about Chinese espionage are similarly distorted. He bemoans the "harassment of Chinese Americans" by the ignorant, incompetent, and bigoted FBI. While there have unfortunately been cases of irreparable damage done to the careers and reputations of certain falsely-accused Chinese Americans, Chinese espionage in the U.S. is not an imagined problem, and Dr. Koo's blanket statements about the FBI stem from the same type of bias he is decrying.

If Dr. Koo's goal is truly to promote mutual understanding, he should work on tempering his obvious bitterness toward the U.S. and reflexive defensiveness of China.

Anonymous said...

Well put Hank. I have followed Koo for some time(he was once employed by my firm as an advisor on doing business in China), and he has been a "nothing to see here", racially aggrieved crank on Chinese spying in the United States for years. Ignore him; he is a broken record. You and I could write seemingly ludicrous parodies of his point of view on Chinese spying and racial profiling and they would easily be mistaken for his work.

Unknown said...

I also work for Dr. Koo's former firm and I think he brings an interesting perspective to the discussion of Sino-American relations.