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Pro-Uyghur protesters clash with Stop Asian Hate rally in downtown DC

By Noah David Alter 

Protesters raising awareness of the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs by the communist Chinese government verbally sparred with Stop Asian Hate rallygoers in downtown Washington DC on Sunday.

As the Stop Asian Hate protesters gathered in a local park, a group of cars bearing anti-China and pro-Uyghur slogans drove by. “BOYCOTT CHINA” read one placard on a car dashboard. In the back of the convertible a man was carrying the blue and white flag of East Turkestan, the Uyghur homeland which the Chinese government refers to as Xinjiang.
“Wipe out China” one person could be heard yelling amid the honking. “Stop the genocide! No concentration camps!”

Other cars displayed messages such as “HOLD CHINA ACCOUNTABLE” and “CHINA STOP UYGHUR GENOCIDE.” The caravan of vehicles were plastered with Uyghur and American flags.
The Chinese government is committing an ongoing genocide against their predominantly Islamic Uyghur minority, which primarily resides in the northwestern frontier of the country. Millions of Uyghurs have been forced into concentration camps where, according to survivors, they have been subjected to slavery, forced sterilization and abortions, ideological indoctrination, sexual abuse, and torture, among other human rights abuses.
In the park, Stop Asian Hate protesters gathered in the aftermath of the deadly massage parlor shootings in Atlanta last week, of which six of the eight women killed were Asian. While the massacre was apparently motivated by the shooter’s sex addiction, blaming the women who worked at the parlors for his own behavior, many have speculated that the shooter was motivated by anti-Asian racism as well.

Stop Asian Hate demonstrators held up signs directed towards the street of the caravan. Such signs contained messages such as “STOP ASIAN HATE” and “Why Be Racist When You Can Just Be Quiet?”
Progressives have sharply criticized rhetoric levelled against the Chinese state since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China in late 2019. While many conservatives have stressed the origin of coronavirus by referring to it as “kung flu” and the “China virus,” critics have alleged that such rhetoric amounts to blaming Chinese people for the virus and has led to a surge in anti-Asian hate crimes. No evidence has been demonstrated to link the two phenomena.
Speaking about the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, Sen. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said that “some of this blame lies squarely on political leaders who have demonized China – both because of the virus and ongoing geopolitical tensions – and in turn, Asian-Americans have fallen in harm’s way.”Opponents of the Chinese state have argued that China is worthy of being demonized due to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs, mistreatment of political dissidents, and the failure of the Chinese government to contain coronavirus before it was unleashed on the global population. They have also countered that harsh anti-China rhetoric does not include attacks on Asian-Americans, many of whom are the most vocal critics of the Chinese government.

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