Protesters rally vs. anti-Chi­nese crime

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By MAY ZHOU in Hous­ton mayzhou@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

About 100 peo­ple gath­ered on Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon in front of the busy Gal­le­ria Mall in Hous­ton to protest crimes against the lo­cal Chi­nese com­mu­nity.

The rally was in part to echo and sup­port a si­mul­ta­ne­ous protest in Philadel­phia where Chi­nese Amer­i­cans gath­ered to voice their con­cern about crimes tar­get­ing Chi­nese Amer­i­cans and com­plain about rap singer YG, who was hold­ing a con­cert there on Sat­ur­day night.

In­ci­dents such as car break-ins and rob­beries at gun­point oc­cur­ring in Chi­na­town in re­cent months have caused great con­cern among Hous­ton’s Chi­nese com­mu­nity. Rap­per YG’s song Meet the Flock­ers, which con­tains lyrics about find­ing a Chi­nese neigh­bor­hood to bur­glar­ize, only added more fuel to the out­rage.

Protests have been staged by the Chi­nese communities in cities where YG’s con­certs are held.

The Hous­ton rally was or­ga­nized by lawyer Jessica Chen with sup­port from nu­mer­ous Chi­nese or­ga­ni­za­tions. At the rally, Chen re­counted her own per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing robbed in July.

“I came out of my of­fice [in Chi­na­town] af­ter work­ing late and was con­fronted by two peo­ple,” she said. “They took my purse and drove away with my car. It was dark and I couldn’t see clearly what they looked like.”

A cou­ple of hours later, with the help of the car’s GPS func­tion, po­lice lo­cated her ve­hi­cle along with four African-Amer­i­can teenagers. How­ever, due to a lack of ev­i­dence, no charges were ever filed.

“I think the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice needs to do more to pros­e­cute crimes,” said Chen.

Joshua Hall was one of the few non-Chi­nese at the rally.

“I am a busi­ness owner and I am here to show sol­i­dar­ity against vi­o­lence and crimes in gen­eral,” Hall said. “Right now there are crim­i­nals out there ex­ploit­ing the Chi­nese com­mu­nity be­cause they know it has very poor se­cu­rity. Rob­bery is a Hous­ton is­sue, but it’s worse in Chi­na­town right now. We got to end that.”

Two days prior to the rally, a WeChat ar­ti­cle, posted by Voice of Amer­i­can Chi­nese, ac­cused rally or­ga­nizer Jessica Chen of us­ing the protest as a pre­tense to sup­port Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hi­lary Clin­ton and called for the Chi­nese to boy­cott the rally be­cause Chen was a Clin­ton sup­porter. Many Trump sup­port­ers voiced the same ac­cu­sa­tion in var­i­ous WeChat groups.

“I am very sad to see the com­mu­nity safety is­sue get hi­jacked by po­lit­i­cal is­sues,” said Chen. “My mo­tives for the rally have noth­ing to do with the elec­tion and pol­i­tics. It doesn’t mat­ter if you are a Repub­li­can or a Demo­crat, Chi­nese Amer­i­cans are of­ten viewed as for­eign­ers.”

At the rally on Sat­ur­day, only signs and slo­gans related to safety and se­cu­rity were dis­played.

Pol­i­tics aside, some ar­gued that the safety in Chi­na­town is not nec­es­sar­ily worse than other ar­eas in Hous­ton and viewed the rally as un­nec­es­sary.

Chen Ke, chair­man of Chi­nese Civic Cen­ter, also ex­pressed con­cern prior to the rally.

“There are se­cu­rity is­sues in Chi­na­town but it’s ab­so­lutely not ter­ri­ble,” Chen said.

MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY

Protesters from the Chi­nese com­mu­nity rally against crimes tar­get­ing Chi­na­town on Sat­ur­day.

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