Chinese group sues Trump for ‘Chinese virus’; Chinese community reacts differently

A Chinese American civil rights group that filed a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump last week held a press conference on Tuesday (May 25) to explain why Trump’s “China virus” claims have caused mental and physical harm to Asian Pacific Americans and constitute defamation. They called on Asian American groups to sign on to support the lawsuit. However, some Chinese Americans have expressed opposition and questions about the lawsuit and the organization.

The Chinese American Civil Rights Coalition filed a lawsuit last Thursday (May 20) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. On Monday, an assistant judge (clerk) of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an electronic summons (summon) to which Trump, as a defendant, must respond within 21 days of receiving the summons.

Lawsuit sparks mixed reactions

In a statement sent to The Hill last week, Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, said “this is a crazy and stupid lawsuit that is specious at best, and if it goes to court, it will be dismissed.”

“The Chinese American Civil Rights League registered as a nonprofit organization in New York in March of this year. Its founder and general director Lewis Liu told VOA that Trump has repeatedly referred to the new coronavirus as the “Chinese virus,” the “Wuhan virus” and the “Wuhan virus” before the source of the virus was scientifically determined, knowing the impact of his comments and the consequences they would cause, despite the WHO naming convention and advice from U.S. Department of Health officials. “Wuhan virus”, “Kung Fu virus”, linking the virus to specific ethnicities, countries and regions, leading to a significant increase in racial discrimination and hate crimes against Asian Pacific Americans (AAPIs) during the epidemic, is “knowingly” defamatory. knowingly” defamatory.

The indictment lists Trump’s relevant tweets and other statements, and cites numerous studies and data, in an attempt to prove to the judge that Trump’s statements about the “China virus” were not factual, but rather served his own political interests, excused his failure to manage the outbreak, and that his statements were directly linked to the rise in hate crimes against AAPIs in the United States. The indictment is directly linked to the rise in hate crimes against Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

The indictment, however, raised questions among conservative Chinese on Twitter. Some feel “represented” and support Trump’s use of the term “Chinese virus” to counter the Chinese government’s narrative; some question how representative the organization is of the Chinese community; and others worry that some of the indictment’s arguments serve to Some have questioned how representative the organization is of the Chinese community, while others fear that some of the arguments in the indictment contribute to the Chinese government’s propaganda narrative about the new epidemic, and therefore question the organization’s political affiliation and whether it is connected to the Chinese government.

LT, the tweeter of the popular Chinese Twitter account “LT Vision,” told Voice of America that while Trump’s phrase “Chinese virus” was inappropriate, it was intended primarily as a retort to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian’s conspiracy theory that the U.S. military brought the New Guinea virus to Wuhan. He also did not think Trump would be a conspiracy theorist to bring the New Guinea virus to Wuhan, not because of discrimination against Chinese Americans or Asians. He also does not believe that Trump’s reference to the virus as the “China virus” is directly related to the hate attacks against Asian Pacific Americans.

Filer Liu Yingxi: We are an independent civic organization with no political affiliation

Liu Yingxi, who immigrated to the United States from Guangzhou in 1989 through kinship immigration, told Voice of America that the Chinese American Civil Rights League was officially registered in New York State on March 16 and is an organization with roots in the Chinese community in New York.

“We are an independent civil society organization with no political affiliation, no party affiliation, and a non-profit organization,” Liu said. Currently, the organization’s members are Liu Yingxi and several of his like-minded friends in New York, all U.S. citizens who have immigrated to the United States from China for more than 30 years.

Liu Yingxi said that since the outbreak of the new crown epidemic in the United States, he and his friends have generally felt a growing atmosphere of discrimination and hatred against Chinese and Asians in the United States. On Dec. 3 last year, Sen. Martha Blackburn (R-TN) tweeted that “China has a 5,000-year history of stealing and cheating, and some things will never change,” prompting public protests from many Chinese Americans.

On December 8, Liu Yingxi and several friends, including Huang Huaqing, president of the Chinese American Hotel Association, and Xue Haipei, president of the United Chinese American Association (UCA), launched a signature campaign under the name of the Chinese American Coalition Against Discrimination (CACAD) to submit a joint letter with more than 2,000 signatures to several congressional leaders in January this year to protest Blackburn’s statement. Blackburn’s comments.

The letter demanded that Blackburn issue a sincere apology to Chinese Americans in the U.S. Senate and that the House and Senate pass a resolution condemning Blackburn’s racist tweets.

“And then they didn’t get back to us, so I thought, it looks like this is a long-term effort,” Liu Yingxi told Voice of America. So he started applying to the New York State government in February to register the Chinese American Civil Rights League.

“We will fight any discrimination and hatred against Chinese people to the best of our ability,” he said.

Liu Yingxi said three events on March 16, 2021, became a turning point. On that day, Stop AAPI Hate released data showing a significant increase in hate crimes against AAPIs from March 19 last year to Feb. 28 this year, with Chinese being the leading victim group. Two were white. Later that day, Trump was interviewed by Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo, who again mentioned the “China virus” when talking about the U.S. economic situation.

“Our (economy) was the envy of the world at the time, but when we got hit with the new crown virus that I call the ‘China virus,’ our economy went down with the rest of the world,” Trump said.

I couldn’t stand it anymore and just thought I would take legal action,” Liu Yingxi said. I was actually thinking before then whether I could sue Trump in the form of a lawsuit, and March 16 was kind of a turning point, and I started doing my homework and started reading information and collecting data and reports.”

Liu Yingxi told Voice of America that he and his brother and also his attorney, Glen Liu, wrote the suit in mid-May and waited until May 20, the same day Biden officially signed the COVID-19 New Crown Hate Crimes Act, to file the lawsuit in court.

Yingxi Liu said the suit was represented by Yuxi Liu pro bono (Pro bono), with miscellaneous expenses other than legal fees paid out of his own pocket and those of other members of the organization.

This is not the first lawsuit for the Liu brothers; back in December 2016 they launched a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against four bipartisan leaders of the U.S. Congress, asking them to lead the Congress to abolish the Electoral College system used in U.S. presidential elections, which is more than two hundred years old. When the case went to trial in March 2017, it sparked widespread interest in the U.S. from the Chinese community and Chinese language media, and even the Chinese official media, People’s Daily Online, reported on the progress of this prosecution.

In 2019, Liu Yingxi and the independent nonprofit Equal Vote America Corp. teamed up to sue the four bipartisan leaders of the U.S. Congress again, with Liu acting as their attorney, to take on the Electoral College system for a second time, demanding “The lawsuit was dismissed by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in September 2019.

“Equal Vote USA’s website states that it is an independent, nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is “completely self-funded and has never asked for or accepted any contributions from any source.”

Chinese tweeter LT: Criticize Trump before criticizing China for slander and libel

Liu Yingxi’s lawsuit against Trump has sparked debate in the Chinese Twitter community, and Chinese tweeter Mr. LT told Voice of America that the issue of Trump calling the New Crown virus the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus” is controversial among the Chinese community in the United States itself. He said he was not surprised that such an indictment had emerged, as some people oppose it and others support it.

He pointed out that during the Trump administration, the official U.S. term for the new coronavirus was still Covid-19, in line with the WHO, and that Trump’s reference to the virus as the “Chinese virus” and the “Wuhan virus” was inaccurate and only Trump’s personal opinion. . But LT also said Trump’s name is not outrageous and that Trump’s motivation for calling it that is not motivated by discrimination against Asian Americans or Chinese people.

LT said that most countries and most media around the world consider Wuhan, China, as the first place of the new coronavirus, and linking the outbreak to the first place is a very common name, not talking about the moral issues involved, although it may have some emotional tinge, but it is also understandable.

“The Taiwanese media still uses the term Wuhan pneumonia outbreak and has never changed it, so you can’t say that Taiwan discriminates against Asians,” LT said.

LT highlighted the fact that a few days before Trump first used the term “Chinese virus” last March 16, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted that “the U.S. military may have brought the outbreak to Wuhan. LT said this layer of causation was also mentioned in a March 19 editorial in China’s official media, the Global Times.

LT expressed dissatisfaction that the indictment did not include in its timeline Zhao Lijian’s spreading of conspiracy theories that planted evidence against the U.S. military.

“What is even more infuriating is that China is still promoting the idea that it was the U.S. military that brought the outbreak to the United States. I recently saw a BBC interview on the streets of Wuhan where citizens opened their mouths and said it was the U.S. military that spread the epidemic in,” LT said.

LT believes that at a time when negative perceptions of China in American society are at an all-time high, it is time for Chinese Americans to take a stand and criticize the Chinese government for slandering and defaming the U.S. military if they want to criticize Trump for calling it the “China virus” and the “Wuhan virus. If you want to criticize Trump for calling “China virus” and “Wuhan virus,” you should first criticize the Chinese government for defaming and slandering the U.S. military.

LT also cited the example of a Chinese-American woman in Florida who posted a video at the beginning of last year’s outbreak of the new epidemic, bragging that she had grabbed all the local masks and sent them back to her family and friends in China, and even mocking Americans for being stupid and not knowing how to grab masks.

Like some Chinese on Twitter, LT felt that the name “Chinese American Civil Rights League” deliberately exaggerated the organization’s representativeness, especially because of the indictment’s proposal that Trump pay $1 per Asian Pacific American, and they felt they were “represented The group feels “represented.

LT said his observation is that many Chinese support Trump’s reference to the virus as the “Chinese virus,” and many of those who oppose it believe it should be changed to “Chinese Communist virus.

The Chinese American Civil Rights Coalition’s lawsuit “will fuel the CCP’s destructive propaganda narrative,” tweeted Zhang Jiadun, a conservative U.S. commentator on China and author of “China’s Coming Collapse. LT also said that the indictment’s assertion that the source of New Crown is not necessarily China is highly consistent with the narrative being pushed by Chinese officials, and that he therefore shares the skepticism of some Chinese pushers about the organization’s ties to the Chinese government.

In response, Liu Yingxi said this is “very ridiculous logic. He said, “1 plus 1 equals 2. Is that wrong because the Chinese Communist Party agrees with it?” Liu Yingxi said that the theory that the new coronavirus originated in nature and jumped to humans with animals as intermediate hosts is the most mainstream view in the scientific community, and where the intermediate hosts originated is also being studied by plague experts. This is not just a CCP claim. As for the “laboratory origin theory” that is gaining attention recently, Liu Yingxi also said that the key is that there is no evidence yet and no definite conclusion. He said the reason for the lawsuit through legal channels is to speak based on facts and evidence.

“We are now trying to argue on the matter. In this case, we’ll cite that Trump’s repeated use of this language that incites racial discrimination is defamatory, and they have no favorable factual basis to refute us, so they can only come to question our motives,” Liu Yingxi said, “We have absolutely no relationship with the Chinese government, absolutely no relationship with the Chinese consulate general, and this It’s a total smear.”

Liu Yingxi said that in order to maintain the independence of the organization, the lawsuit is entirely out of their own pocket, and they do not accept any donations. As for why he wants to fight the lawsuit by forming an organization, Liu Yingxi said because the harm caused by Trump’s use of the language affects all Asians, not just him or a few individuals.

“Just like when the U.S. Congress apologized for the Chinese Exclusion Act, it was an apology to the entire Chinese community, not to a certain group of people,” Liu said.

In response to questions about the representativeness of the Chinese American Civil Rights League, Liu said his organization does not claim to represent all Chinese people. He said they have received a lot of support on social media since launching the lawsuit, and Tuesday’s press conference also included representatives from other Chinese communities, including the Asian American Unity Coalition (AAUC) and the Guangzhou Association of New York. He told Voice of America that they have only just called for individuals or groups to join the lawsuit’s online affidavit at the press conference, and it will take time to get more support.

The lawsuit, which sues Trump, calls for Trump to pay $1 to each Asian Pacific American and says the combined damages of about $22.9 million could be used to invest in a museum showcasing the history and social contributions of Asian Pacific Americans.

“A lot of racism and prejudice is born out of ignorance, and we hope that a museum to show the history and contributions of our community at this federal level would be very helpful in raising awareness of Asians throughout American society,” Liu Yingxi told Voice of America. He said he was inspired by seeing the new National Museum of African American History and Culture when he visited Washington, D.C., a few years ago.