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).

公開信

中國法律與歷史國際學會(ISCLH)執行委員會與各管理委員會成員,謹代表學會在世界各地之全體會員,極力譴責近日美國乃至世界其他地區所發生之「反亞裔」種族主義暴力行為與種族歧視。對於過去這週在喬治亞州發生的恐怖謀殺,我們倍感痛心和憤怒,同時也目睹美國社會存在的歧視和偏見正導致日益增多的仇恨和犯罪活動的趨勢,故發此聲明。

過去幾年中,美國和其他地區的仇外情緒、極端民族主義、文化沙文主義、以及種族主義都普遍攀升。由數代人艱苦奮鬥所推動的漸趨寬容和開放的進程,將因此種情勢而有受挫之虞。美國的社會、政治與知識話語儘管已經容納了這些進步的力量,但仍舊繼續為社會政治壓迫、歧視與不寬容等罪惡所裹挾。事實上,美國一直以來都是借這些話語對其他社會「義正辭嚴」地加以譴責。

作為以中國法律與歷史為業的學者,我們都在學界經歷了上述普遍倒退。這一倒退已威脅到學術研究所需仰賴的核心的社會與制度規範。就個人而言,本會多數會員都有亞裔背景,在日常生活中遭逢的充滿種族歧視、排外情緒、性別主義、以及反亞裔的仇恨行為更是數不勝數。正因如此,我們與「反亞裔」种族主义仇恨與暴力的受害者感同身受—我們也曾在身心與社會生活及智識生活各層面體驗到相似的痛楚。

在此,我們呼籲全球學術界的朋友和同仁,一起譴責目前所見的這些極令人悲傷的社會政治趨勢。當然,單純的譴責是蒼白無力的。作為學者,我們身負學習、研究、教育等職責,而在此時此刻,更應採取以下措施來對抗各種形式的種族主義、排外情緒、性別主義、和反亞裔的仇恨與犯罪(尤其是針對亞洲女性與老年人的仇恨與犯罪):更全面和深入地理解這些種族主義和排外情緒的由來,找出更為有效的對抗策略,讓那些受難者得以發聲,並且重申對於真理、開放與公平的規範性承諾。

因此,以今年夏天即將舉辦的學會雙年會作為起點,我們承諾將投入更多重要學會資源於上述使命,包括出版論著以及舉辦會議和研討會。我們希望您能加入這些對話和努力,也期待您著手落實自己的其他想法。通過團結同心、集體反思、明辨篤行,我們或許能夠重燃當初促使我們加入學術共同體的求真的理想。我們也許能夠讓這個世界少一些種族歧視、仇恨、盲信、沖突和暴力。

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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