Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sherry Chen's Dismissal is an Indictment of Racist Federal Government

An edited version of this blog was posted on Asia Times.

Last May, New York Times identified Sherry Chen as the person accused of spying for China and then wasn’t, as the federal prosecutor dropped the charges just one week before her case was to come to trial. Sherry’s friends and supporters thought that being free of criminal charges meant that she could go back to her job as a hydrologist for the National Weather Service (NWS).

Lo and behold, on September 4, 2015, Sherry received a letter from Laura Furgione, Deputy Director of NWS, informing her that she was being removed as an employee of NWS. In the document formally known as “Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action (hereafter PDA), Furgione proposed removing her for “(1) Conduct demonstrating untrustworthiness; (2) Misrepresentation; (3) Misuse of Federal Government Database; and (4) Lack of Candor.” The document ran 20 pages in length.

Peter Zeidenberg, attorney with Arent Fox LLP based in Washington, was the defense counsel for Sherry; he submitted a memorandum dated October 2, 2015 addressed to Louis Uccellini, Director of NWS in response to the PDA. The memo ran 31 pages and provided a comprehensive rebuttal to all the points raised in the PDA.

Then in a half page memo with a date stamp of December 9, 2015, Director Uccellini wrote to Vice Admiral Michael Devany, stating that he cannot serve as an impartial “deciding official” on the PDA and asked to be relieved from this role. Devany is Deputy Under Secretary for Operations of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is Uccellini’s boss.

Uccellini’s short memo said he was provided with Furgione’s PDA and back-up material in the capacity of being the “deciding official.” He also heard an oral reply from Sherry and her attorney Zeidenberg along with the written material on October 9, 2015.

Then Uccellini made a curious statement in his memo, “Specifically, in 2014, I received a series of classified briefings from DOC’s Office of Security regarding this employee and matters related to this Notice of Proposed Removal. While I have tried to compartmentalize the additional information I learned during these briefings, I am unable to focus solely on the information and the charges in the Notice of Proposed Removal, the materials relied upon, and the employee’s response.”

Next, Furgione sent Sherry a second PDA, dated December 18, 2015 rescinding the first because Uccellini would not serve as an impartial deciding official. Other than stating that Vice Admiral Devany was now the deciding official, the second PDA was word for word identical to the first version. In response, Zeidenberg submitted the same rebuttal since the second version of the PDA added nothing and changed nothing from the original.

Devany’s decision on the PDA in the form of a letter dated March 10, 2016 addressed to Xiafen Chen was to remove her (Sherry) from Federal service. The reasons given in support of his decision basically followed the accusations as outlined in the PDA virtually uninfluenced by any of the arguments submitted by Zeidenberg. Devany’s letter did contain one curious statement: “much of your reply went to the now-dismissed criminal charges against you, which have no bearing on this matter.

Devany’s statement is hard to fathom. Either Zeidenberg missed reading the PDA and failed to respond accurately, or the PDA repeated some of the “now-dismissed criminal charges” as part of its case against Sherry, or Devany had made up his mind to dismiss Sherry and his general note was a way to sweep away the carefully crafted rebuttals by Sherry’s counsel and avoid having to deal in any degree of specificity.

Dr. Uccellini has a PhD in Meteorology from University of Wisconsin and is a self-confessed “weather geek.” He has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed articles, books and chapters on weather related topics. Among many awards and recognition, he was at one time the president of the American Meteorology Society.

When Uccellini assumed the leadership of NWS in 2013, outside observers praised the appointment as a welcome change from the usual practice of filling the post with retired military officers. He took over an organization riven with scandal, was accused of misappropriation of funds and marked by the abrupt retirement of his predecessor.

Ironically, he co-authored an acclaimed book titled “Northeast Snowstorms.” This January, the NWS forecasted a killer storm of historic proportions for the New York City area, which prompted the mayor Bill de Blasio to order the closing of roads and subways along with schools. One minor detail was amiss, the storm never happened. To his credit, Uccellini took responsibility for the “historic screw up” and admitted that the weather service needs to improve the way weather forecast is communicated to the public.

The National Weather Service is part of NOAA and its mission is to “provide weather, water and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.” In other words, NWS keeps its eye on Mother Nature. The meteorologists in this organization watch the sky while the hydrologists monitor the rivers.

Sherry Chen was employed as a Hydrologist in the Ohio River Forecast Center. This office monitors the Ohio River basin including its many rivers and tributaries that flow into the 900-mile long river. This river system affects approximately 25 million lives. A major part of Sherry’s duty is to construct and continually improve a computer model of the river to facilitate making accurate forecasts of the water flow on the river.

Sherry’s modeling work is based on a software package provided by the Hydrologic Engineering Center – River Analysis System (HEC-RAS). The Center belongs to the Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) and is well known world wide for its technical expertise on all things related to water, and HEC-RAS is just one of a large family of software programs the Center has constructed and made available for general use.

In fact the river forecasting centers belonging to NWS work closely with the ACE. The centers perform the forecasting while the Corp of Engineers control the dams and levees that can prevent or at least mitigate the impact of the river overflow. One instance where the collaboration did not pan out so happily was the Nashville flood of 2010 when the Cumberland River overflowed its banks, and 31 lives were lost along with approximately $2.3 billion in damages. It was a natural disaster that rivaled Katrina of New Orleans in severity.

The Cumberland is a tributary of the Ohio and Tom Adams, the senior hydrologist of the Ohio River Forecasting Office, led the forecasting effort and Sherry was his lead modeler. Adams and his group could see that the torrential downpour was leading to the threat of serious flooding. He tried to warn the ACE office in charge of this region. Finally on May 2, a Sunday morning, he was able to hold a conference call including Deborah Lee who was in charge of ACE office. He warned Lee of the impending threat but he felt that Lee was distracted and did not sensed the urgency of the situation.

The river crested in the evening of May 3 and all hell broke loose on May 4. The press severely criticized the ACE for poor handling of this matter including mismanagement of the dams in the affected area and should have done more to prevent flooding. Lee telephoned Adams to scream at him alleging that everyone in his office was incompetent. Adams explained to me, “Debbie Lee was really upset and worried about losing her job. She really got me mad. If she had been standing in front of me, I would have punched her.

Since that incident, the working relationship between the forecasting center and Lee’s group in ACE turned sour. Adams speculated that the success of Sherry’s modeling most likely became an added source of embarrassment to Lee. Earlier in her career, Lee had also worked as a hydrologist at the same river forecasting center. Lee was the person that originated the accusation of Sherry being a spy for China.

Adams having seen all the discovery material related to the original criminal charges volunteered to me that emails from Debbie Lee showed clear indications of racial profiling as alleged by Zeidenberg in his memo in defense of Sherry. “All the charges leveled at Sherry were all bullsh*t,” Adams said.

In Zeidenberg’s memo, one the sections had a heading that read: “Deborah Lee’s suspicions of Ms. Chen were based on ignorance and racial profiling.” The concluding sentence of this section was, “These two concerns—one based on Ms. Chen’s national origin, one based on a erroneous factual understanding—are what triggered this entire investigation and a nightmare for Ms. Chen that is still ongoing.

In his letter of dismissal, Devany’s response was curt: “That you are of Chinese descent is irrelevant. That you reached out to her (Deborah Lee) at the behest of an official in the Chinese government is not irrelevant.” The official was a vice minister who asked Sherry how the U.S. finance the repair of old dams. Sherry, not sensing Lee’s hostility towards her, asked her about where such publicly available information could be found. Her query gave Lee cause to report her to the DOC Office of Security.

Sherry learned of the National Inventory of Dams (NID) from a colleague at her center. According to Adams, everything in the NID was public information and no disclosure could possibly represent a threat to national security. However, the fact that Sherry did borrow a password to download some data from the NID, even though there was no evidence that she shared the information with anyone served as a major justification to dismiss her. Adams said that it would have been natural for Sherry to assume that the NID data would be relevant to her modeling work and only upon examination of the actual data would she discover that the data was “garbage.” (Ironically, since April 2015, most of the NID data is freely available to the public without any password.)

Tom Adams worked with Sherry Chen for more than five years before leaving the Ohio River Forecasting Center in February 2013--before Sherry Chen was arrested. Having left the service, he did not feel the constraint of a current employee and spoke to me freely. He maintained contact with Sherry and was working on a paper with her. In her letter of dismissal, Devany, who had a prior career in the U.S. Navy, treated the sharing of public information with Adams as if Sherry was consorting with an enemy. The weather service has a mandate to communicate and share freely the results of their findings with the public but apparently that does not include a former employee.

Adams wanted me to know that there is life after the river forecasting center. He has been consulting for the World Bank along with other gigs around the world including Beijing. He is the author of a basic textbook on flood forecasting to be published next month.

As for Sherry Chen, she has indicated that she is not willing to quietly go away. She said, “Why do I have to accept the unfair and unjust treatment my government has given me?” She goes on to say, “I am not just fighting for myself but for all victims of racial profiling so that it won’t happen again.”

It would seem that someone powerful is out to get Sherry Chen but that person is not likely to be in NWS. The leadership of NWS does not seem to be much invested in the process to dismiss Sherry. Other than drafting the PDA, Deputy Director Furgione has not shown any further engagement. She did not attend any of the meetings when Sherry and Zeidenberg presented their arguments against the proposal to dismiss. The second version of the PDA was an obvious cut and paste of the first version and would suggest that Furgione didn’t bother to read Zeidenberg’s response to her PDA. A logical question might be to ask her if she personally wrote the PDA and if not who did.

Uccellini declined to act as the deciding official on the PDA originally submitted by his deputy. Why? Did he find wielding the hatchet on Sherry distasteful? On the other hand, did the powers that be that insisted on terminating Sherry’s employment far exceeded his authority to countermand? If so, who is pushing to dismiss Sherry? (I contacted the offices of Furgione and Uccellini hoping for some answers and clarifications. Both referred me to the public affairs office of the Department of Commerce. Someone from the public affairs office promised to get back to me but has not so far.)

Vice Admiral Devany’s letter to remove Sherry also struck me as perfunctory and lacking in substance. His letter basically read like a re-written version of Furgione’s PDA. His reasons to dismiss read like re-statements and displayed no understanding or attempt to respond to the rebuttal presented by Zeidenberg. Again, if Devany did not write the letter, then who did and why?

Other than claiming that Sherry’s national origin is “irrelevant,” Devany did not address why he does not consider Deborah Lee guilty of racism. This question needs further investigation. Why was Lee not reprimanded for her obvious racist remarks? Who is protecting her and why? Lee has recently returned to NOAA as a director of a research laboratory. Surely she could not have been promoted as some kind of reward for her bigotry, could she?

Frank Wu, former Dean of Hastings Law School and incoming chairman of the Committee of 100, is personally advising Sherry on arriving at an appropriate response. “Notwithstanding the prosecution having dropped all charges against Sherry Chen and members of both houses of Congress have demanded from Justice Department a full investigation on whether racial bias have been involved,” Wu said, “How is it possible for NOAA and NWS to thumb their collective noses at that?

The highest priority right now,” he said, “Is to generate support from the communities that should be outraged by the government conduct in this case and others.” Readers are encouraged to contribute to Sherry Chen’s legal war chest to help her paid her bills and as she ponders her next move. Please visit

Readers interested in reviewing the developments leading to the case up to the latest are encourage to visit the website being maintained by Jeremy Wu at

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Only saying ‘no Trump’ can save America: Koo

This first appeared in Asia Times.
Bridge is a card game of intriguing complexity, popular around the world, both as a social activity and as a pastime for an intense battle of wits and skill among national teams. The game can also serve as a metaphor for the current game of politics being played out in the US.
Donald-Trump-CardIn bridge, three no trump is quickest way to get to game. In the present presidential race, first no trump is to recognize that the Donald of the same name is divisive and cannot unify the American people behind him. He is even ripping his own political party, the GOP, apart as he campaigns his way to becoming the party nominee.
Two no trump is for his racist, anti-immigrant rant that has and will continue to turn some part of the white society against all the colored ethnic groups that make up America. He wants to build a wall on our southern border and ask Mexico to pay for the construction. Realistically speaking, does anybody know how he will do that?
Three no trump stands for his amazing lack of understanding of basic principles of economics. He believes, so he says, that free trade agreements have taken jobs away from the US. Most economists would tell him that raising import duties on foreign goods would only protect backward industries, keep low-wage workers at their impoverished level and take away incentives for generating innovations. It’s innovations that have kept America in place as the leader of the world.
Three no on trump should be enough to say to Donald, game over fella, but there is more.
While Donald does not pretend nor claim to be an intellectual giant, the four no trump stands for his lack of appreciation for the importance of education. Certainly his vocabulary amply demonstrates his lowbrow command of English and the failure of Trump University is confirmation that he doesn’t know anything about teaching our young people and giving them the skills to become responsible and contributing citizens.
Five no trump stands for his propensity to litigate as first recourse. If he was to become the president of the US, his quick nature to sue presages a threat to world peace. He is unlikely to resort to diplomacy and negotiation and more likely to rely on confrontation — leading the nation to war. His finger on the nuclear missile launch button would keep everybody up at nights.
The world community is befuddled by the US nominating process and looks upon Donald Trump’s antics with scorn and bemusement. They find his candidacy for president an insult to the dignity of the highest office in the US and by implication the most important seat of leadership in the world. While other world leaders might privately snigger at Donald’s buffoonery, they are making sure that his egomania does not cross national borders. UK, for one, contemplates barring his entry into their country. The damage that could be done to America’s prestige around the globe would be the sixth reason for no on trump.
The seven and last no trump is Donald’s obvious character flaw. He is not embarrassed to contradict himself, to reverse his positions, and to make deliberate misstatements and misrepresentations. Even my seven year-old granddaughter knows. She makes a protest placard in school declaring that she does not like Donald Trump because he is a liar.
Seven no trump is the grand slam, highest attainable contract in the game of bridge. In applying to Donald, it is a full set of reasons why the American voters must reject his candidacy. If given the chance to lead, and given his past record tainted by bankruptcies, he won’t be up to the task. He will likely take this nation down the path of destruction and disaster. It would be too late for us to rue our choice by then and the entire world may pay for generations to come.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

China expert Susan Shirk updates her view of Sino-US relations

This first appeared in Asia Times.

Asia Times top writer George Koo recently interviewed Susan L. Shirk, the author of 2007’s acclaimed “China, Fragile Superpower.” Professor Shirk is an influential expert on Chinese politics who served as deputy assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration. She was a guest speaker at a Feb. 18 forum in Palo Alto, Calif. hosted by the Committee of 100 and the Commonwealth Club to discuss “Why the UK sees China as a friend and the US doesn’t.” Shirk, who is currently a professor at the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego, was invited to address the US point of view. Koo moderated and afterwards spoke with Shirk in an exclusive interview for Asia Times.
bookcoverKoo: Martin Jacques believes the UK sees China as vital to the UK’s economic future. Being the global hegemon, he further believes, is the major reason the US cannot see China the same way as the UK. That is, the US is more likely to see China as a competitor or even as an adversary than as a friend. What’s your view?
Shirk: It’s understandable that the US and UK would view China on the basis of their own interests. The UK is interested primarily in the commercial benefits China can bestow. The US values the economic relationship too, but has broader interests related to Asian regional security, human rights, nonproliferation, etc.
But what really bothers me about the UK’s current courtship of China is that it came about after China put its relationship with Britain in deep freeze for a year on account of the British prime minister meeting with the Dalai Lama. This kind of diplomatic and economic arm-twisting is unbecoming of an aspiring global power.
Both the UK and the US do not refute that Tibet is part of China. Of course, I am concerned about UK and US diverging in their approach to China, but most of all, I am concerned with Britain rewarding this kind of arm-twisting by China and thus encouraging Beijing to apply similar tactics in its dealings with other nations.
Koo: The Beijing government has recently launched several regional economic initiatives like the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and One Belt One Road. What should be the US policy be towards these initiatives?
Prof. Susan L. Shirk
Prof. Susan L. Shirk
Shirk: My view is that the US should not have overeacted, which made us look pathetically insecure. Of course, China naturally wants to expand its regional influence, so shouldn’t we encourage China to channel its ambitions into economic and diplomatic initiatives rather than military ones? We should encourage China to make sure that its infrastructure investment projects conform to international norms such as financial transparency, environmental protection, and labor standards. But we made a mistake in appearing to be obstructionist.
Koo: How are China’s actions in the South China Sea and East China Sea affecting its relations with Asian neighbors? What should be the US role in these disputes?
Shirk: China is making these maritime territorial claims a higher priority than its own national security interests. Its actions in the South China Sea have raised alarms among its neighbors and left them wondering about Beijing’s long-term intentions for this region. It looks like Beijing is resolved to assert its expansive claims over the South China Sea even at the price of continuous friction with its neighbors. Many of its neighbors are seeking the protection of the US from what they now see as a China threat. China would like the US to reduce or even withdraw its military presence in Asia. But its artificial islands and military construction are having just the opposite result — bringing the US military in even more.
The US takes no position on the sovereignty disputes. Its primary concern is that the parties in the disputes settle their differences in a peaceful manner in accordance with international law and that none of the developments shall interfere with freedom of navigation. The US follows the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) but hasn’t ratified it yet. Hopefully, the next Congress will finally act on it. We look ridiculous preaching about following international law when we haven’t formally agreed to it ourselves.
Koo: How does the domestic insecurity of the Chinese Communist Party leadership influence its foreign policy? Under Xi, are they feeling more or less secure? To what extent did the world financial crisis of 2008-9 alter China’s perception of the US?
Shirk: The CCP leaders are more insecure than ever. They continue to worry that their rule could end overnight like that of the communist party in the Soviet Union. Can a communist party continue to govern a society drastically changed by market reforms and opening to the world?  Xi Jinping’s focus is much more on domestic threats than international ones. And now that economic growth is slowing and people could be facing real economic distress, the threat of public discontent looms larger. The big question is whether Xi Jinping will try to rally people around the CCP by stoking anti-foreign nationalism and even possibly try to distract them from domestic problems by provoking confrontations over maritime claims. It could work the other way, of course. He could behave more cautiously toward China’s neighbors and the US to keep a peaceful international context for China to address its domestic problems, which is what China did before 2008.
The 2008 global financial crisis changed Chinese views of the US, leading to the misperception that the US was in decline and discrediting the American model. Because China recovered fastest from the crisis, people in China felt a kind of premature triumphalism. The Chinese public and elites started to demand a more assertive foreign policy. The muscle-flexing that resulted has raised anxiety among the neighboring nations about China’s intentions. The net result is harmful to China’s own national interest.
Koo: In your book, you’ve spelled out various domestic pressures within China that could lead to unintentional but nevertheless deadly military conflict with the US — nationalism that gets out of hand being one of those. Do you see any parallel or analogy on the US side that could also lead to accidental conflict, such as for example in South China Sea?
Prof. Susan Shirk (c) with George Koo (l) and Martin Jacques at Palo Alto, Calif. forum.
Prof. Susan Shirk (c) with George Koo (l) and Martin Jacques at Palo Alto, Calif. forum.
Shirk: At the time I wrote my book, there was only one scenario then that we could imagine possibly bringing China and the US to blows, and that was Taiwan. Now there are four — namely the South China Sea disputes, China-Japan conflict over the East China Sea, and the violent collapse of North Korea, as well as a crisis in the Taiwan Strait.
I do not believe we have comparable conditions in the US. Here, we have politicians worried only about winning the next election, not politicians worried about the survival of the regime. American politicians try to appeal to voters by blaming China for our economic problems and exaggerating China as a threat, and thus we hear a lot of irresponsible statements during political campaigns. But campaign rhetoric has never reached the level of triggering military action. Furthermore, we are not at risk these days because the American people are weary of military conflict and are reluctant to commit our forces to any new international interventions.
Koo: At the time of your book, the South China Sea was relatively calm compared to now. How would you characterize China’s current relations with Vietnam, the Philippines and the US?
Shirk: Now the South China Sea has become one of the most serious points of contention between the US and China. The US and China’s neighbors are seeing it not just as a source of regional tension but China’s actions are raising questions about China’s long-term intentions.
A critical turning point could be the Philippines’ case against the PRC that is currently before the arbitration tribunal of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea. If the court rules against China and China refuses to comply, how should the world react? Will there be any consequences for China for flouting international law? How can we motivate China to climb down from its overly expansive claims to the entire South China Sea to take a position in line with international law?
The US should avoid getting in the middle of the South China Sea disputes. Let’s also not exaggerate the risk to US security. It’s not the Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s a regional issue that should be addressed primarily by the claimants and by ASEAN. But the current situation is creating regional tension and therefore requires multilateral discussion in the ASEAN Regional Forum and other multilateral forums. In 1999 China did begin to discussions on a Code of Conduct with ASEAN, but negotiations bogged down and since then China has dragged its heels.
Koo: “The Chinese government has never adopted an Asian version of the Monroe Doctrine to keep the US out of its neighborhood”–a quote from your book. In light of recent developments since your book was published, to what extent is your statement still true or not so much?
Shirk: It is still true. It would be unrealistic for China to expect to dominate Asia the way the US as a rising power dominated the Caribbean and Latin America. The regions are very different. There are other large and powerful countries in Asia such as India, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, and therefore there can’t be only one regional hegemon. Even if the US forces weren’t in Asia, it wouldn’t be possible for China to recreate a regional hierarchy like that of the Qing Dynasty. China is going to have to find a way to work together on a more equal basis with other regional powers.
Koo: In your book, you described how China tried to convince neighboring countries that they are not a threat to anyone. Seems like they are still doing this; is China more or less effective now?
Shirk: The Chinese government continues to talk about the importance of having good relations with its neighbors. Xi Jinping last year held an unprecedented high-level meeting focused on what the Chinese call “periphery diplomacy,” a kind of good neighbor policy. And both the One Belt One Road initiative and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank reflect China’s efforts to show its benevolence toward its neighbors by generously investing in their economic development. But Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea undercut much of the good will it earns through these economic good deeds.
China would go a long way toward reducing regional worries about the China threat if it would work toward making regional multilateral institutions more binding instead of just talk shops. Showing a willingness to be bound by multilateral rules and norms is a good way to reassure other countries about your intentions.

Oscars postscript — All-white Hollywood is missing out

First posted in Asia Times.

Whether by design or coincidence, Hollywood’s response to rising criticism of white dominance and lack of diversity was to have Chris Rock, an African American, host the Academy Awards. Rock, a well-known actor and standup comic, is arguably nearly as handsome as OJ Simpson and much better looking than Bill Cosby.
Al Jolson cartoon
Al Jolson cartoon
In his opening monologue, amid barbs and one-liners, Rock lamented the lack of opportunities for black people. So far, so good. Then Rock trots out three young Asian children, one with an alleged Jewish surname, and introduces them as the employees of the major accounting firm that audits award ballots for the Academy. To accentuate the point, the young girl wore dark horn rimmed glasses.
Accountants are supposed to be good at math and otherwise bland and without personality. That was a joke on Asian Americans.
Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin
Prominent Asian Americans such as NBA star, Jeremy Lin, objected to the stereotyping of Asian Americans that made them the butt of Rock’s joke. Lin, of course, graduated from Harvard and could easily be cast as the Asian stereotype, except he ignited a few weeks of “Linsanity” on the basketball court in Madison Square Garden that shattered that image.
First, Rock objected to the unfair treatment of the blacks by the whites, and then he stepped across the racial divide to share a joke at the expense of Asian Americans with whites. I suppose two tokens (Rock and the Asian kids) make one white.
Oscar night came shortly after the conviction of New York police officer, Peter Liang. He had accidentally shot Akai Gurley, an unarmed black man, while on patrol. Unluckily for Liang, his trial was held as the “Black Lives Matter” movement protesting police killings of innocent black men swept the US.
Old 'Fu Manchu' movie poster
Old ‘Fu Manchu’ movie poster
A New York Times review of the history of shooting of unarmed African Americans by New York police officers showed that in all prior cases, the officers were either not charged or not convicted on the grounds that the shooting was unintentional, occurred while in line of duty or because the officer wasn’t properly trained for the task he was assigned. Officer Liang’s case bore all these circumstances. Yet he was charged, tried and convicted.
Mickey Rooney in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'
Mickey Rooney in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’
This was clearly a case of finding an Asian American as the scapegoat. The only way to make a national statement that Asian Americans are no longer convenient stereotypes or scapegoats is to overturn Liang’s conviction. Let him be tried under an environment of equal justice and not by overwhelming public opinion against all cops.
Basketball fans can’t help but notice a recent NBA TV spot celebrating the Chinese New Year with a table of a traditional Chinese family gathering that included James Harden, NBA star for Houston, Jeremy Lin of Charlotte, and Steph Curry of Golden State. Curry even hoisted a cup and rendered a nice “kan bei” toast to the audience for the New Year. The NBA obviously had a huge and growing fan base in China in mind.
Hollywood should learn from the NBA. China is also becoming a major cinema market for Hollywood. Rock noted the other night that many established African American stars didn’t even get nominated for Oscars. That’s a problem. But while they’re attending to that problem they should address another by beginning to invite Asians to the table.