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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 30-Jun-2019
30-Jun-19 World View -- MIT criticizes 'toxic atmosphere' targeting Chinese students

Web Log - June, 2019

30-Jun-19 World View -- MIT criticizes 'toxic atmosphere' targeting Chinese students

American attitudes towards the Chinese

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

MIT criticizes 'toxic atmosphere' targeting Chinese students

MIT Lincoln Lab
MIT Lincoln Lab

The hostility being directed on a day to day basis towards Chinese students on the MIT campus has become so great that MIT's president has warned the entire MIT community against the growing "toxic atmosphere" directed at Chinese students. However, it's quite possible that this "toxic atmosphere" is within the Chinese community itself.

MIT's president L. Rafael Reif sent a letter to the entire MIT community entitled "Immigration is a kind of oxygen." Excerpts follow:

"MIT has flourished, like the United States itself, because it has been a magnet for the world’s finest talent, a global laboratory where people from every culture and background inspire each other and invent the future, together.

Today, I feel compelled to share my dismay about some circumstances painfully relevant to our fellow MIT community members of Chinese descent. And I believe that because we treasure them as friends and colleagues, their situation and its larger national context should concern us all.

The situation

As the US and China have struggled with rising tensions, the US government has raised serious concerns about incidents of alleged academic espionage conducted by individuals through what is widely understood as a systematic effort of the Chinese government to acquire high-tech IP.

As head of an institute that includes MIT Lincoln Laboratory, I could not take national security more seriously. I am well aware of the risks of academic espionage, and MIT has established prudent policies to protect against such breaches.

But in managing these risks, we must take great care not to create a toxic atmosphere of unfounded suspicion and fear. Looking at cases across the nation, small numbers of researchers of Chinese background may indeed have acted in bad faith, but they are the exception and very far from the rule. Yet faculty members, post-docs, research staff and students tell me that, in their dealings with government agencies, they now feel unfairly scrutinized, stigmatized and on edge – because of their Chinese ethnicity alone.

Nothing could be further from – or more corrosive to – our community’s collaborative strength and open-hearted ideals. To hear such reports from Chinese and Chinese-American colleagues is heartbreaking. As scholars, teachers, mentors, inventors and entrepreneurs, they have been not only exemplary members of our community but exceptional contributors to American society. I am deeply troubled that they feel themselves repaid with generalized mistrust and disrespect.

The signal to the world

For those of us who know firsthand the immense value of MIT’s global community and of the free flow of scientific ideas, it is important to understand the distress of these colleagues as part of an increasingly loud signal the US is sending to the world.

Protracted visa delays. Harsh rhetoric against most immigrants and a range of other groups, because of religion, race, ethnicity or national origin. Together, such actions and policies have turned the volume all the way up on the message that the US is closing the door – that we no longer seek to be a magnet for the world’s most driven and creative individuals. I believe this message is not consistent with how America has succeeded. I am certain it is not how the Institute has succeeded. And we should expect it to have serious long-term costs for the nation and for MIT."

Like many universities, MIT has moved far left and is extremely hostile to President Trump and 60 million Trump supporters, who have been publicly referred to as "teabaggers," "racists," "deplorables," and so forth.

Nonetheless, Reif has to walk a fine line because his main job is to beg for grants from agencies in the Trump administration. So the above letter has soft criticisms of Trump's immigration policies, but is careful not to incite further hatred against Trump supporters.

However, it's reasonable to believe that his letter is very wide of the mark.

The fact that Reif felt compelled to write this letter at all indicates how hostility has been growing nationwide towards Chinese students, and to the Chinese diaspora in general. However, in the case of MIT, the question is whether the source of that hostility is Americans or other Chinese students. In the case of Americans and Westerners in general, the question is whether the hostility is directed at the Chinese people or the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

American attitudes towards the Chinese

Since the 1950s, Americans' public attitude toward has China been almost always favorable. In the 1960s, left-wing college students were carrying Mao Zedong's Little Red Book of Quotations in their back pockets, ready to be pulled out and used to lecture someone at any time about the evils of capitalism, ignoring that Mao was responsible at that time for tens of thousands of deaths from starvation, torture, rape, beatings, and execution. For most Americans, China could do no wrong. Even the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, which killed thousands of peacefully protesting college students, didn't change opinions much, but was considered by many to be just a kind of Chinese peculiarity of the wonderful Chinese Socialist system, which was opposed in their minds to the fascist American system.

Furthermore, when China was invited to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2000, it was hoped that this would make China a part of the international community, and that China would become a Western-style liberal democracy, instead of a fascist state like America. That didn't happen, of course.

However, the West's favorable view of the Chinese has been continually eroding since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. This is because the public has become aware of many things that indicate that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is actually a fascist criminal organization. There are many such things, including the following:

I just started typing the above list at random, and I probably could have added a hundred more items. The point is that these events have entered the public consciousness over a period of 30 years, and attitudes towards China and the Chinese have been deteriorating over that period.

I wrote about this shift in public opinion in January, when China-lover George Soros announced that he has turned against China because of its religious persecution and particularly because of the "Social Credit System," which "will subordinate the fate of the individual to the interests of the one-party state in ways unprecedented in history." ( "27-Jan-19 World View -- George Soros speech at Davos marks significant global shift against China")

Another recent example was when Democratic party presidential aspirant Joe Biden recently said that the US has nothing to fear from China, and then had to walk that back a few days later. In the Democratic party debates last week, there was lots of criticism of Trump, but not of the China sanctions, as far as I could tell.

Perhaps the most remarkable sign of this change in attitude is that there have been few serious objections domestically or internationally to the Trump administration's harsh sanctions against China, including tariffs, restrictions on Huawei, and arrest of the Huawei CFO, although some farmers are being hurt.

MIT Lincoln Lab and security

Reif's letter briefly mentions issues related to national security, and totally evades the issue. He says:

"Looking at cases across the nation, small numbers of researchers of Chinese background may indeed have acted in bad faith, but they are the exception and very far from the rule. Yet faculty members, post-docs, research staff and students tell me that, in their dealings with government agencies, they now feel unfairly scrutinized, stigmatized and on edge – because of their Chinese ethnicity alone."

This is entirely the fault of the fascist Chinese government. It is stated Chinese policy that China sends tens of thousands of students and workers to the United States to collect intelligence information from China's military, and under the 2017 National Intelligence Law, every Chinese person and business is obligated to collect foreign intelligence, even when doing so is against the law.

Reif says that "small numbers" of Chinese researchers may have "acted in bad faith," but even Reif must realize how ridiculous this statement is, since all we know about are the ones who were caught. For all he knows, every person of Chinese descent working at Lincoln Lab is working directly for the Chinese military, but just hasn't been caught yet. This is where Reif's argument completely falls apart. The CCP has forced Chinese citizens to be the targets of suspicion, so Reif's letter should have been directed at China's government, not to the MIT community.

There's a related matter, with regard to "back doors" being installed in Huawei chips and devices. As I've described many times, my personal experience spending five years implementing board level operating systems for embedded systems has made it clear that it would be easy for a Huawei engineer with the right skills to install undetectable backdoors in Huawei chips. Huawei is also required by China's National Intelligence Law, passed in 2017, to fully cooperate with China's military in collecting intelligence, so installation of these undectable backdoors is required by Chinese law. These backdoors would permit China's military to control these devices remotely.

Now I have the skills to do this, and there must be a lot of people at MIT, Americans and Chinese, especially in the electrical engineering department, who have these skills and are also aware of how easy it is to do. So if there are Huawei devices brought into the classroom or the lab, other students are going to wonder if these devices are being used for spying or communicating with China's military. Reif's letter says that "MIT has established prudent policies to protect against such breaches," but the fact is that there are no policies, prudent or otherwise, that can protect against undetectable backdoors.

The CCP has really screwed Chinese students in America by adopting policies that make any one of them a possible spy working for China's military. This is doing enormous harm to Chinese students, and Reif's letter can do nothing about it.

Hong Kong and Taiwan

I've written recently about the Hong Kong protests have exposed an increasingly vitriolic split between northern and southern China. Mandarin-speaking Beijing and Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong are, respectively, the current political epicenters of the two sides. ( "22-Jun-19 World View -- Hong Kong protests show historic split between northern and southern China")

I continue to see reports that suggest anecdotally that this split is extremely serious and growing. Here's an extract from a recent article appearing in Inkstone by a Hong Konger who met a Chinese girl in a bar in Coventry, England, and they agreed to go out on a date:

"The vibes were good at the start. Arrived on time. Greetings. Drinks and snacks. And then, at some point, I innocently uttered the phrase: “Because we from Hong Kong...” My date, from mainland China, swiftly interrupted me. She raised her voice and eyebrows, signaling how angry she was. She rapped the table with her fingers and snapped: “Stop saying you are from Hong Kong. You are Chinese and from China.”

I decided not to say “Hong Kong” for the rest of our conversation. But she wouldn’t let it go. She derisively attributed Hong Kong people’s denial of our Chinese identity to our low self-esteem. In her mind, people from mainland China seem to be smarter and more financially secure than their Hong Kong counterparts."

As he described, the evening became increasingly tense, and they parted without even saying goodbye. Next day, she blocked him on both WhatsApp and WeChat.

The north-south conflict goes far beyond thwarted love and romance.

Returning now to Rafael Reif's letter to the MIT community, one might infer that he's criticizing the American male white patriarchy for creating the "toxic atmosphere." But there are a lot of Chinese students at MIT, and I wonder if the "toxic atmosphere" is within the Chinese community.

As I've written in the past, my research for my book "War between China and Japan" has revealed that the CCP wants a war of revenge against Japan and a war of annexation against Taiwan, but does not want a war with America, but consideres it necessary because America will depend Japan and Taiwan. There's really very little hatred between Americans and Chinese, while there is great hatred between Chinese and Japanese, and between northern and southern Chinese.

So my conclusion is that the "toxic atmosphere" described in Reif's letter is being created by Chinese and possibly Japanese, but not by Americans.

This is my personal inference from the facts as I know them. Perhaps more anecdotal evidence will emerge that clarifies the situation.

We in America and the West tend to believe that ethnic and racial conflict is a thing of the past. However, what I've seen over and over is that race is everything. Love doesn't make the world go 'round. Racial and ethnic political and military conflicts create the "toxic atmosphere" that makes the world go 'round, and the Chinese and Japanese are about to make the world spin a little bit faster.

John Xenakis is author of: "World View: War Between China and Japan: Why America Must Be Prepared" (Generational Theory Book Series, Book 2), June 2019, Paperback: 331 pages, with over 200 source references, $13.99

MIT/RafaelReif, 25-Jun-2019 and NYPost, 11-Jun-2019 and Inkstone, 25-Jun-2019

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