The Holocaust museum in the District of Columbia emphasizes the importance of “never again.” Going through the exhibits, I wondered how Americans did so little in the late 1930s and early 1940s when the signs of the coming evil arose. Everyone knew. Few cared.
Today, I see a similar pairing of knowledge and apathy towards the genocide of the Uyghurs at the hands of the Communist Party of China. The Han-supremacist genocide in Xinjiang includes re-education camps, forced sterilization, banning of religion and forced marriages, among other things.
Beyond this, the CCP’s Anschluss of Hong Kong is only a small part of its expansionism that has caused 18 border conflicts with its neighbors. Perhaps if we recognize China’s claim of the “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea, it will bring us “peace for our time.” History suggests otherwise.
On the College of William and Mary’s own campus exists a chapter of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, an organization that harasses Hong Kongers, works on behalf of the United Front Work Department to support Beijing’s “talent-recruitment” programs, conducts surveillance on Chinese students and operates under the direction of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. The George Washington University CSSA indicates it is “directed by the [EPRC]” while the CSSA at the University of California, San Diego indicated that it was “ subordinate [to] the Chinese [Consulate] in Los Angeles.”
The president of the University of Pittsburgh’s CSSA indicated that the CSSA received an annual budget of $6,000 from the Consulate in New York. In addition, the constitution of the College’s CSSA illegally limits membership on the basis of race, marital status, nationality and national-origin, per its constitution: “(1) Any students and scholars who come from the People’s Republic of China or America Born Chinese and study and work at the College of William and Mary can join CSSA through introduction of its previous members; (2) The husbands or wives of the members shall also be included in the association naturally; (3) Any other Chinese students and scholars who desire to participate in the CSSA’s activities can do so whether or not he/her is the member of the CSSA.”
The CCP actively suppresses publicity and discussion of its atrocities in a wide variety of American institutions, from Chinese-language American media to universities, from Hollywood to state governments.
The Chinese company Tencent coproduced the remake of Top Gun with Paramount. The Taiwanese and Japanese flags included on Tom Cruise’s flight jacked in the original film thus found themselves quietly removed from the remake.
The CCP’s influence in the US already reaches the sartorial choices of action remakes; we cannot allow it to reach our campus.
What can the College do? The first clear step is to sever all relationships with the CCP and CCP-controlled entities. Beyond this, the College should do its best to recruit Hong Kongers, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Mongolians, and other victims of CCP rule. No group has suffered more from the CCP than Chinese nationals. In addition, the university must ensure the College’s CSSA abides by the law.
The CSSA must disclose its financial backing, amend its constitution, and register with the Department of Justice to maintain compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Finally, the administration must bring speakers from the Uighur community to raise awareness of the atrocities happening.
We cannot be apathetic in the face of evil: we must act.
Email Nicholas Sas at