Over the past two days I have been involved with a group of posters on the Harvard Crimson online newspaper concerning a piece written by a visiting Chinese graduate student in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. The piece is well-written and cites a number of incidents of intimidation of Asians in the United States during this lockdown. Personalizing the story the writer calls the incidents racism, with which I will agree, but she then says that much of this is due to the term “Chinese Virus” and that by using this term one is a racist. I took issue with this since Chinese is not an ethnic identification, there are fifty-five different ethnicities that reside within the political borders of China. Rather the term is a Geopolitical identification for the spot of origin for the virus. It should probably be called the Wuhan virus if we’re being correct.
The Chinese government has mounted a major world-wide covert and overt media campaign including threatening smaller countries with economic consequences if they use the term Chinese virus or otherwise comment upon failures in China that might have helped other countries mitigate the spread of the virus. I noted that this piece in the Crimson was exactly the type of piece I would want if I had hired someone to undertake an influence campaign at a high profile place like Harvard to convince people that “Chinese virus” was a racist term and if one used it one was a racist.
I also pointed out that all Chinese students studying in the US do so with the approbation of the Chinese Communist government and that Chinese intelligence, the Ministry for State Security (MSS) will have a file on each student and their activities. It will certainly have a file on students in a high profile political program like the JFK School of Government because this is where students are supposed to make contacts for future involvement in diplomatic affairs. It is also where you might insert an agent of influence to convince fellow students of the well-meaning of the Chinese government, etc.
As you can expect my response to the article was met with more than a little resistance, which I must admit, I enjoy responding to although for such intelligent people they very often fall back on ad hominem attacks. I continued to point out that the little markings that looked like shovels were spades and if you played one on a club lead then you were either misplaying, sloughing or trumping but no matter what you did a spade was still a spade and that from a counterintelligence perspective the timing, modality and motive of the Editorial in the Crimson made it a spade.