Last year a Chinese author living in California, who blogs under the handle 那小兵, wrote a blog post about her experience participating in the protest over a black youth killed by police. She contrasted that protest with a protest over a Chinese students killed by a black man. Her post was widely shared and viewed over 94,000 at iFeng.com. Posted below is my translation.
When I was walking in the African-American protest, I suddenly felt a kind of pride—I was the only Chinese person there. Obviously the vast majority of participants in the protest were black. They were protesting for one of their own compatriots. I struggled to find a word to describe my status there. Was I a compatriot of those blacks? On the basis of race, I was not their compatriot, but because I was walking with their same group over the killing of an American youth, because of this and nothing else, I just wanted to feel their sentiments, to put myself in their position to think about this cause.
In my thoughts, I came up with a scenario: What would happen if this kind of thing happened in North Korea? I asked a black guy who was walking together with friends: “If this happened in North Korea, would you protest?” He stared blankly in surprise. Words stuck in his throat for a long time and said, “God, don’t we protest so we don’t see this thing happen ever again?” From his sentence, I heard a great sense of justice. They aren’t vandals and miscreants. This also proves that American liberal democratic values are still alive in their hearts. It also reminds me of Chinese people’s comments: “This proves the human rights situation in America is bad.” According to their logic, would black people sitting quietly at home, repressed and fearing that they might be implicated be an example of a good human rights situation?
I suddenly asked that black friend a question: “If American society has such serious racial discrimination, then why don’t you choose to immigrate?” This black person responded: “Immigrate? If we immigrate to Africa, then we would be killed by local African police officers. If we immigrate to the Middle East, then we would be killed by terrorists. If we immigrate to Russia, we will be killed by the husband of our mistress… Hey, hey, this is the reason why black Americans stay in America when blacks get killed.” Indeed, the fate of African-Americans is linked with the fate of America. In America, they can legally claim their rights. They can even use “illegal protests” to seek their lawful rights and benefits. This can only be done in America. Racial discrimination will of course not end in America, but after an act of discrimination happens, there is only America and a few other democratic countries where you can use freedom of speech and the law to appeal. If you cannot believe, go ask how many black people immigrated to China. Those 100,000 blacks living in Guangzhou have no way to answer “yes.”
“If this black youth was shot to death by a black police officer, would you protest?” I suddenly asked in a spate of curiously. This black friend avoided answering, but some blacks behind him said yes and others said no. “Well then, our protest here is itself a kind of racial discrimination,” I thought in my head. Racists can be white or yellow, and of course they can also be black—the key point is that their motivations stem from “racial reasons.” If you view this police officer as a “white person” and not as a “person,” this protest itself is then racist. What we just did would destroy the justice of it.
“If this dead youth was a white person or a Chinese person, would you protest?” I summoned the courage to open my mouth and ask. Not long ago, two Chinese study abroad students were murdered in cold blood by a black youth near USC. He not only took the wallets of the two Chinese students, he also took their lives. I didn’t hear a single person respond. The surrounding area was suddenly silent. At that time, myself and many locals of Chinese ancestry went down to the courthouse and protested. It’s a pity I didn’t see many black people come out to support us. There were just a few white people and dozens of Chinese people at the scene. At the time I thought, the parents of these dead Chinese students have no way to come and seek redress. I should stand up for them as a Chinese person. Although it comes from compassion and a sense of justice, that was ultimately also a kind of “racially oriented” discrimination. Thus, I can understand the racial orientation of the blacks protesting right now.
How can “human rights violations” be found in the evidence of this case? If when Chinese students are killed by black people, we maintain that white police officers cannot violate the rights of black people; if when white people are killed by black people, we maintain that Chinese police officers cannot violate the rights of black people; if when blacks rob blacks, white police officers cannot violate the rights of black people, then what does “human rights” really mean? Then that would be destined to be a new version of “apartheid law.” Therefore, no matter what ethnic group encounters unfair treatment, we should protest and condemn together!
A youth asked: “Professor, does evil exist?”
This professor replied without certainty: “Of course. Just like I have said before, we can see evil every day. Every day there are examples of humans treating their fellow human in inhuman ways. It is found in the multitude of crime and violence that pervades the world. If that’s not evil, then what is?”
That youth replied: “Evil doesn’t really exist, professor. At least you can say that evil doesn’t exist by itself. The reason there is evil is because God isn’t in the heart. Like darkness and cold, evil is a term created by mankind to describe the absence of God.”