Jake Fortney, Emma Lykins, Jiali Sun
By Yan Chen
In January 27, 2020, Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper, had published a cartoon graphic of the Chinese flag with five coronavirus particles photoshopped over the five stars. The author Niels Bo Bojesen played a malicious joke on the current serious and sorrowful situation in China and had hurt the feeling of all Chinese people who was suffering now.
When Chinese government has demanded an apology from the newspaper and the illustrator, they refused to apologize for it because they thought that was their freedom of expression in Denmark. Indeed, they even did not think they make anything wrong, and in their culture, making fun of a nation flag is permissible. Additionally, many Danish people kept spreading out some online memes that critique Chinese people and government as vulnerable.
In my perspective, I can never believe that anyone in the world is able to mock others due to his freedom of expression. I think this behavior has already crossed the bottom line of ethical boundary of free speech. The virus had killed thousands of people in the world, whereas the newspaper still made fun of that without sympathy, which is definitely immoral and inhuman. I think this is systemic injustice, because the power of freedom cannot become anyone’s excuse to bully others.
Simone de Beauvoir introduces the concept of the Other in her work “The second sex”. In this case, I think people from China suffering the virus were categorized as the Other by Danish people who were making fun of that. In this semester, many literary works described the experience of prejudice which I think has similarity to this situation. For instance, Ortiz Cofer wrote in her novel “The Story of My Body” that she experienced racial prejudice many times because she was thought as the Other by those native persons.
By Jiali Sun
Due to the rising outbreak of Coronavirus around the world, there has been increasing cases of prejudice, xenophobia, discrimination, violence, and racism against Chinese people, and even Asian people, particularly in Europe, the United State and the Asia-Pacific region. What is worse, such discrimination not only happens on the Internet, some cases even involve violence in public as well as well-known news media.
On Feb.3, The Wall Street Journal published an article titled “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia”, which has aroused the uproar among Chinese people and overseas Chinese since it deploys derogatory reference to China. The phrase “sick man of Asia” has been historically used to perpetuate the stereotype that Chinese people were disease-ridden and unclean. The expression is also resented by the Chinese, whose country has suffered from past foreign invasion. Such reference is thought to be instigating panic, skewing public opinion, and deepening discrimination. The likely consequence is rising racism against Chinese and other Asian ethnicities. Therefore, many Chinese people were petitioning to bring down the article or rectify the title in recent days.
As one of the most well-known international newspaper, WSJ’s improper choice of such an controversial headline at such a sensitive time of health crisis in China’s history demonstrates the author’s/editor’s lack of empathy and compassion, and will consequently harm the fame of WSJ as well as offend a sizable community in the US. All in all, there is an urgent need for WSJ to retract the headline, make claims and apologize.
Face masks are commonly worn by Asians to protect against germs or prevent any pathogen from spreading. However because of irrational fears over coronavirus, overseas Chinese have been dealing with horror stories about mask-wearing people being verbally and even physically attacked by strangers. In one such assault, videotaped by a passenger at a subway station in Manhattan’s Chinatown, a mask-wearing woman was pummeled and kicked by a man. The witness told the media that the attacker called the woman a “diseased bitch.”
I think such racial discrimination or anti-Chinese sentiment is a kind of systematic injustice since those discriminate and biased people irrationally abused innocent Chinese and Asian people who just want to protect themselves from being infected by the virus. As it is said by de Beauvoir in her Second Sex, “it is that no group sets itself up as the One without at once setting up the Other against itself”. However, the Coronavirus outbreak is the issue of the whole world combatting with the virus rather than confronting certain racial groups. Those discriminating cases will not only arouse a higher level of social unrest and fear but also increase the work burden of public police and workers. There is still an urgent need for more strict government regulations as well as scrutiny on the swirling misinformation and viral rumors and racist cases.
By Xixiang Weng
Recently, the new coronavirus spread around the world and make thousands of people suffer. Wuhan is the first city where this virus mass outbreak and its residents are the people who suffer most from that. Unluckily, the virus is not the only thing to make them in trouble. Their identity of Wuhan’s resident also makes them face injustices.
Due to the fear of the virus, Chinese people in other provinces tend to be away from Wuhan people. For example, if you are a Wuhan people and you go to another province. People would think that you get no sense of responsibility since you make all the people under the risk of being infected. Besides, although Chinese officials claim that they have warned against the discrimination against Wuhan people, some policy they set up, such as restrict Wuhan people’s normal use of state road, shows the discrimination to Wuhan people. Some local governments even set up road blockage in the road to Wuhan, which makes many Wuhan people who work outside can’t meet their family during the Lunar New Year. The Chinese government set up road blockage in the road to Wuhan
Also, in some big city, such as Shanghai and Guangzhou, the local government order the neighborhood committee to encourage people to report the Wuhan’s resident or Wuhan returnees around them, so that they can send them back to Wuhan.
When Wuhan people are suffering from the virus, as their compatriot, we are supposed to try our best to help them go through that, however, some unreasonable policy Chinese government set and discrimination some Chinese people express make Wuhan people face so much injustice. The video below is an interview with a Wuhan people living in Beijing, she narrates can make us know more about the current situation of Wuhan people I describe above.
The injustice Wuhan people are facing reminds me of the “The Story of My Body”. People think Ortiz is “dirty” since her different physical looks and Puerto Rican identity (Ortiz 436). Similarly, Wuhan people are treated as “The Other” by their compatriots while they are suffering from the virus. In some Chinese people’s sight, Wuhan’s residents are already not their compatriot, but just the virus which needs to be segregated. This circumstance not only expresses some Chinese people and government’s unreasonable attitude of facing the plague, but also the systemic injustice Wuhan people are currently facing.
Gan, Nectar. “Outcasts in Their Own Country, the People of Wuhan Are the Unwanted Faces of China’s Coronavirus Outbreak.” Albany Herald, CNN, 15 Feb. 2020, www.albanyherald.com/news/world_nation/outcasts-in-their-own-country-the-people-of-wuhan-are/article_705d3409-4819-5f69-b4f7-cfc36424bd11.html.
Our Enemy Is the Virus, Not People from Hubei or Wuhan – YouTube, South China Morning Post, www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkdPFCStA38.
By Emma Lykins
Currently, there are over 60 countries that have had outbreaks of the coronavirus and more than 90,000 people have been affected. Of that, 3,000 have died due to the virus, creating a global epidemic. Many countries have travel bans such as Italy, South Korea, and China. This disease is very harmful to infants and elderly people who already have weakened immune systems. There is currently no vaccine for coronavirus, however, they are trying to make one.
This past month we have been receiving lots of notices about the Corona Virus. OSU actually stopped all travel to and from China until March and they are making anyone who traveled there recently partake in a 10-day incubation to make sure they have not gotten the illness. The media and gossip make it seem as though all Asians are to blame for the spread of this disease. I had a student walk up to the front of the class and say he was not contagious because he was so afraid of what others would think of him. I think Americans are classifying Asians as the culprit for spreading the disease when in fact, diseases evolve on their own. It has been unfortunate that this virus started in Asia, but Asian’s should not be blamed for the spread of this virus because they did not intentionally spread it to be harmful to the public.
A lot of people are now saying that if you buy products from China then you will become sick with the coronavirus. This is another misconception that attacks Chinese businesses. You cannot get the coronavirus from buying a lot of international products. The virus does not stay alive for very long on services and is mainly transferred through sneezing and coughing.
The people in these countries are experiencing “Othering” as mentioned by de Beavouir. They are being alienated by society for the country having the first outbreak of the coronavirus. They are being treated differently by the world right now in order to prevent the spread of the disease, however, they shouldn’t have to be treated like an “other”. Their culture and ethnic group are being attacked for “spreading the disease” when in reality it was not their fault. Viruses are uncontrollable, the Chinese did not intend to spread it. The countries who have travel bans and Asians, in general, are being attacked for unnecessary reasons over a virus that was bound to eventually spread anyways.
Within the past few months, the outbreak of the coronavirus has been a health concern especially in China where the majority or root of the outbreak has occurred. Ever since this spread of the virus, individuals have been taking precautions to ensure that the virus is contained, and that other people do not become infected. At Ohio State, there is a large population of students from China and other countries who have been wearing masks. This precaution is a part of the culture that is commonly used in order to prevent the spread of disease. However, there have been many instances of racial injustice toward these students. For example, it seems to be that the coronavirus is directly correlated to those from this culture and many individuals have avoided contact with these students if they are coughing, wearing a mask, or even just based on their ethnicity. This is an example of systemic injustice because it is a prejudiced belief that these students are more likely to be infected because they are from China or apart of the mask-wearing culture. On twitter, a student tweeted about a Chinese girl who was wearing a mask at the library. She wiped down her table and told this student that she did not have the disease and that it was safe for him to sit next to her and did so because she believed that the student was afraid of even just sitting next to her.
As of March 3, 2020, the Arnold Sports Festival has been cancelled for all spectators due to a fear of the threat of the coronavirus. As spectators are no longer allowed to attend the event, there are also less than 20 participants from other countries that will also not be allowed to compete. Competitors from China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, and Japan will not be allowed to compete because the coronavirus has had a serious impact in these countries. I believe that large cancellations like this play a role in contributing to the mass hysteria that has grown with the coronavirus and I think that it is going to continue to grow. The fear about this virus is causing people to take extreme precautionary measures and I think these actions will continue to contribute toward the systemic injustices toward individuals from these countries or those who ethnically represent the countries that have been hit the hardest with the coronavirus. Link:
The outbreak of the coronavirus has caused people to “other” individuals who are wearing a mask or represent an ethnicity whose country has been hit the hardest with the virus. deBeauvoir states, “Thus it is that no group ever sets itself up as the One without at once setting up the Other…against itself. If three travelers chance to occupy the same compartment, that is enough to make vaguely hostile ‘others’ out of all the rest of the passengers on the train” (1). Americans and others have been cancelling trips, flights, and other travel plans and taking precautions. However, these precautions have tended to lead to injustices and othering against individuals due to a newly developed mass hysteria and fear.