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China’s rulers should relook their false assumptions about party-loyalty of overseas Chinese

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(, Jul31’23) – While Asian Americans largely feel positive about their ancestral homelands, there is one major exception: Barely four in 10 Chinese Americans said they favourably viewed mainland China, reported Jul 298, citing a national survey. And among Asian Americans not from China, just 14% held favourable views of that country, the survey has found.

China’s rulers equate love and loyalty to the country with that for the Party, and generally tend to take this for granted in the case of the general body of overseas Chinese whose “duty” they frequently evoke.

The Pew Research Center survey of more than 7,000 Asian Americans, conducted from Jul 2022 to Jan 2023, was stated to highlight the views of Asian Americans with origins in seven particular nations – China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam – about their ancestral homelands, the United States, their identity and global affairs.

Chinese Americans and Vietnamese Americans were stated to have been the only two groups to view other countries more favourably than their own: Asian Americans with Chinese roots viewed Taiwan, South Korea and Japan more positively than their own, while Vietnamese Americans expressed more favourable views of Japan compared with their own ancestral homeland.

“People coming from more authoritarian regimes have left for a reason,” Karthick Ramakrishnan, founder and director of AAPI Data, a policy research and data hub at the University of California, Riverside, has said, noting that the majority of Asian Americans – close to 60% – are foreign-born.

Among Chinese Americans, 41% held favourable views of China, the survey has found. On the other hand, six in 10 Vietnamese Americans felt positively about Vietnam, even though it is also communist ruled.

“Many immigrants migrated after the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square massacre, so they were fleeing the Communist Party’s regime,” Russell Jeung, a professor of Asian American studies at California’s San Francisco State University, has said likewise. “If you’ve witnessed the repression of Hong Kong, the nation’s human rights abuses, and its authoritarian state during COVID-19, you would also be likely to have a critical stance.”

Besides, a majority of Americans overall have a negative view of China, the report cited surveys as showing.

More than six in 10 Chinese Americans have said they viewed Taiwan favourably, a notable finding given rising tensions between mainland China and Taiwan.

Chinese immigrant adults were found to be more likely (45%) than those born in the United States (25%) to view China positively.

Besides, among all Asian Americans, those who viewed China positively or negatively have varied little by political affiliation, in contrast with the US general public. Even then, about 83% of Republicans and those who lean toward the GOP have an unfavourable view of China, while 68% of Democrats and their independent supporters share that negative opinion.

Ramakrishnan, of UC-Riverside, has said the results spell difficulty for China’s efforts through its “Young Thousand Talents” programme to persuade young scholars who have sought higher education abroad to return to the mainland.

“This suggests that strategy will face a steep uphill climb,” he has said.


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