*

 

10.29.2010

how china's coming to get you (part 283)

Brianna Lee of PBS' Need to Know has an article on the alarming flood of anti-China campaign ads circulating this year, including the Zack Space "Chinatown" commercial and of course, my favorite, Chinese Professor. Make no mistake -- these ads are preying on American fears of eventual Chinese domination: On the campaign trail: The enemy hearts China!

These are just some of the examples of this campaign season’s disturbing (though, admittedly, somewhat hilarious) ads that teem with fears of outsourcing American jobs to our menacing competitor in the Far East. There are quite a few more, linked below. The message is clear, and it’s easy to see how it might appeal to the American voter. Americans are looking for financial security in a time when high levels of unemployment still run rampant and the federal deficit still looms above our heads. China, meanwhile, is growing at an exponential rate, and is widely acknowledged to be the next great world power (giving some credence to my parents’ decision to send me to Chinese school as a child).

But sending a political message is one thing, while using lowest-common-denominator tropes is quite another. Gong sounds, mandolin music and fortune cookies hark back to the days of Fu Manchu buffoonery, which, despite all our political progress, seems to be revived every so often. But I’m reminded of something a bit more sinister.
For many Asian Americans, it's not too hard to understand the consequences of linking American economic woes to a foreign face -- the unsettling legacy of the Vincent Chin immediately comes to mind.

Meanwhile, since we're talking about how everybody hates China... in good ol' Orange County, a children's Chinese language school has somehow become the battleground for anti-communist crusaders fighting the spread of Chinese education in America: Are the Red Chinese Polluting Young Minds in a Quiet Irvine Shopping Center?

Kai Chen, one of the outspoken protesters of the "Confucius Classroom" program in Hacienda Heights ,has also taken it upon himself to stop A Little Dynasty from spreading Red Chinese ideology into American life. Too bad he didn't bother to do the research before getting his protest on -- the school's curriculum and materials are imported from Taiwan. Doh.