In yesterday’s blog post, I wrote about some of the high-profile killings of Chinese by Americans over the past two decades. In today’s blog post, I want to talk about the online hatred and e-killing of Chinese by our fellow Chinese.
Some Chinese in China are saying that the USC students deserved to die because, as study-abroad students, they are assumed to be rich and privileged. Some Chinese students in America have been responding with similar vitriol. This online cacophony has me increasingly worried and disturbed. Check out this image for an example of these back-and-forth attacks.
I have become friends with many Chinese students in America, and coincidentally, many of my friends are or were students at USC since USC is located here in Los Angeles. Many of these students are from middle-class and lower-class backgrounds and are here by virtue of their dedication and hard work. I can tell you that, as a group, they are the sort of thoughtful, serious, interesting, curious, wonderful young people that anyone would want as a friend, and any parent would want as a child.
As a mother myself, I cannot imagine the pain that Wu Ying’s and Qu Ming’s parents are experiencing right now. Having raised these two beautiful souls from birth to now, sacrificed so much as every parent sacrifices, and having sent them thousands of miles across the ocean in hopes of a better future — and then for these young souls to be extinguished? Every time I think about this situation, a little part of me dies.
Now, some people are compounding this senseless tragedy a million times over, by using it as a launching pad for a cross-Pacific war of words.
Our world is stuffed full of problems such as poverty and social and economic inequality. I can understand how many people feel angry about these problems. But the way to address that anger is to attack those problems directly, through measures such as improving educational and economic opportunities for everyone. We can urge our governmental leaders to do just that. And we each can commit to making the world a better place by doing what we each can do to improve our own communities.
But to instead channel our frustration over society’s problems into personal attacks on entire groups of fellow human beings is to descend into tyranny of the worst possible sort. These attacks have no place in a civilized society. I know it can seem harmless and perhaps even exciting to be part of a big group lobbing online grenades at other people. But in the echo chamber that is our social media universe, these attacks are amplifying out of control. Words can have consequences, and frankly, what I’m seeing online is starting scare me.
If you have posted any sort of hateful attacks prompted by the USC murders, please delete those posts right now. If you know someone who has posted such hateful attacks, please contact that person to ask that he or she delete those posts.
We are all Chinese. The deaths of Wu Ying and Qu Ming are a time to focus on coming together as a community worldwide in shared grief and solidarity. With such a rich history and culture, we have much more in common than we have to divide us.