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PATRICK LAWRENCE: Our Latest Sinophobia Fest

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From Consortium News

One hundred nine years ago, one G. G. Rupert published an extraordinary book called "The Yellow Peril, or The Orient vs. The Occident as Viewed by Modern Statesmen and Ancient Prophets." The book was a racist diatribe all dressed up as learned historical scholarship. It quickly proved a best-seller and brought Rupert, a Seventh-Day Adventist preacher in Oklahoma, a lot of money and passing fame.

With the Covid19 virus still spreading, you have to ask how far we've come as a similarly befouled wave of Sinophobia now rolls in upon us. First editions of Rupert's book fetch $900 on the used-book sites. If you have ever wondered whether our religious belief in "progress" might be nothing more than a collective self-deception enduring since the mid-Â 19th-century, Rupert's 526-page p.o.s. (as the expression goes in newsrooms) will help you along.

Spells of scapegoating paranoia such as Rupert's have come and never quite gone since William Randolph Hearst introduced the "yellow peril" genre in his newspapers at the turn of the 20th Century. Rupert now goes down as a foolish rube and Hearst a cynical conniver in pursuit of circulation.

But let us not miss that it is their direct descendants on Capitol Hill, at the State Department, and in the American press who are up to nothing more nor less than the same shameful chicanery as we look for someone to blame for our pitifully inept response to the Covid-19 crisis.

China cultivated the Covid-19 virus in a Wuhan biological warfare laboratory. China has purposely infected the West as an act of aggression. "The Chinese Communist Party will pay a price for what they did," says Mike Pompeo, the most dangerously dumb secretary of state to serve in my lifetime. Grandstanding dreamers in Congress intend to make China pay trillions of dollars in retribution. (Wait for it.) Missouri is suing China for "lying to the world." (Wait for this, too.)

From San Francisco of all cities, San Francisco we now read reports of white pedestrians spitting on ChineseAmericans at stoplights. Let us consider such events carefully as we purport to be repelled. The Biden-for-president campaign spit on the Chinese last week in a much-remarked ad G. G. Rupert or Hearst could have written. Settle in: Who out-xenophobes who is now set as the defining issue in the 2020 election contests.

It is the corona virus's vicious spread that prompts all this irresponsible noise. But the vehemence of this surge of Sinophobia has something to tell us. A new round of anti -Chinese hysteria has been increasingly manifest among Americans since China's emergence as a regional and global power became evident in the early years of this century -- roughly coincident with the centennial of Rupert's book. The Covid-19 virus has merely let Jack out of his box.

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Patrick Lawrence is a columnist, author, editor, and educator. He has published five books and currently writes foreign affairs commentary for Consortium News and other publications. He served as a correspondent abroad for many years and is (more...)

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