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Open Letter from ISCLH on recent anti-Asian violence and racism and the Atlanta shooting

Open letter

We, members of the Executive Council and the Standing Committees of the International Society for Chinese Law and History (ISCLH), on behalf of all ISCLH members across the world, write collectively to condemn the recent wave of anti-Asian violence and racism sweeping across the United States and other parts of the world. We are saddened and infuriated by the horrific murders in Georgia that occurred this past week, and see a broader pattern of discrimination and prejudice in American society leading to hate and criminal activities.

The past several years have seen a general rise of xenophobia, hyper-nationalism, cultural chauvinism, and racism in the United States and elsewhere. This threatens to undo much of the progress towards tolerance and openness made through the laborious efforts of previous generations. Insofar as American society, politics, and intellectual discourse have accommodated these forces, they continue to expose themselves to same sins of sociopolitical oppression, discrimination, and intolerance that they have traditionally—and justifiably—condemned in other societies.

As scholars of Chinese law and history, we have all experienced this general regression at the professional level, where it threatens the core social and institutional norms that academic research necessarily relies upon. At the personal level, a majority of our members are of Asian descent, and have encountered numerous acts of racism, xenophobia, sexism, and anti-Asian hatred in their everyday lives. As such, it is all too easy for them to sympathize with the victims of anti-Asian hate crimes and violence. They share in their pain, often literally, and we all suffer—morally, socially, intellectually—as a result.

We call on our friends and colleagues in the global academic community to condemn these tragic sociopolitical trends, but also to go beyond mere condemnation. As scholars, our role is to learn, research, educate, and now more than ever, we must apply those tools to combat all forms of racism, xenophobia, sexism, and anti-Asian hatred and crimes (especially towards Asian women and elderly people): to understand their origins more fully and deeply, to identify effective strategies to combat them, to give voice to those who have suffered, and to reaffirm our normative commitment to truth, openness, and fairness.

We pledge, therefore, to divert a significant share of our society’s resources to these causes—substantive portions of our publications, meetings, and conferences, beginning with our biannual society meeting this summer. We hope you will join us in these conversations and endeavors, and perhaps start some of your own. Through solidarity, collective reflection, and informed action, we may yet be able to revitalize the broader ideals of unbiased truth-seeking that motivated so many of us to join the scholarly community in the first place. We may also be able to help make our world less prone to racism, hatred, bigotry, conflict, and violence.

We wish to convey our deepest condolences to the families of the eight murdered victims of the Atlanta hate crime (including seven women, six of Asian descent, and two of Chinese descent): Daoyou Feng, Hyun J. Grant, Suncha Kim, Paul Andre Michels, Soon C. Park, Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun, and Yong A. Yue (reported names from New York Times; in alphabetical order by surname).







在此,我們也向此次亞特蘭大慘遭仇恨犯罪謀殺的八位受害者及其家屬表達最深切哀悼(八位受害者有七名為女性,六位為亞裔背景,兩位並有華人血統),這些受害者為:Daoyou Feng、Hyun J. Grant、Suncha Kim、Paul Andre Michels、Soon C. Park、Xiaojie Tan、Delaina Ashley Yaun、Yong A. Yue(依據《紐約時報》登載之姓名;依姓氏字母順序排列)。



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