How American Expats Can Represent Their Country

“How American Expats Can Represent Their Country”, published in The Federalist on June 18, 2015

I was standing on stage wearing a pink Hello Kitty shirt, Hello Kitty glasses, a wig, and a winged Arale hat. It was Halloween, and I was dressed as a Chinese girl, in a costume that politically correct white American liberals would have hated but Chinese people loved. I was about to win the costume contest, when the contestant next to me played the nationality card.

“His America is allied with Japan!” he said, after grabbing the microphone.

I knew just what to say. “The Diaoyu Islands are Chinese [territory]!”

The party-goers roared with applause, and I easily won the contest. (It also helped that my friend was the host and judge.) This was in 2012, just two months after Hong Kongese activists had landed on the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu in Chinese), which China claims, and raised Chinese and Taiwanese flags. In truth, I don’t know which country has the rightful claim to the islands. I do know that Japan first took control of the islands in 1895, the same year it colonized Taiwan, beginning their era of imperialism that America eventually ended in World War II. So from that perspective their historical claim may appear problematic. However, there are other factors in territorial disputes, so the answer is far from clear. But the important thing was that, by virtue of being American, I was then a small part of the controversy.

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