Amidst strict censorship laws, Facebook is not Vietnam’s Savior

Facebook icon. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

By Guest Contributor: Ngan Chiem

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the Vietnamese government began sabotaging the connectivity of local Facebook servers for 7 weeks. They wanted to pressure Facebook into removing anti-party content on its platform. To the alarm of international human rights agencies around the world, Facebook complied with the regime’s demands.

Following their controversial concession to the Vietnamese government, Facebook issued a statement positioning themselves as defenders of free speech against oppressive regimes.

“Millions of people in Vietnam use our services every day….We don’t always see eye to eye with governments on issues like speech and expression, including in Vietnam, but we work hard to defend this right around the world.”

This has been Facebook’s defense after complying with authoritarian censorship since 2015: concession to block a few to spare service for the rest. 

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100+ Asian and LGBTQ Organizations’ Statement in Opposition to Law Enforcement-Based Hate Crime Legislation

FILE - In this March 13, 2021, file photo, Chinese-Japanese American student Kara Chu, 18, holds a pair of heart balloons decorated by herself for the rally "Love Our Communities: Build Collective Power" to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence outside the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

By Guest Contributor: 100+ Asian American and LGBTQ Organizations

We, the undersigned Asian and LGBTQ organizations, reject hate crime legislation that relies on anti-Black, law enforcement responses to the recent rise in anti-Asian bias incidents across the US.

In the same week the verdict in George Floyd’s murder was announced, footage of the killing of Adam Toledo was released, one week after Daunte Wright was killed by the police, and countless others experienced violence at the hands of law enforcement, Asian communities celebrated the passage of S.937, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in the US Senate.

While we wish we could celebrate the historic visibility of anti-Asian violence and racism, which is as old as the colonization of the Americas, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act contradicts Asian solidarity with Black, Brown, undocumented, trans, low-income, sex worker, and other marginalized communities whose liberation is bound together. Furthermore, the bolstering of law enforcement and criminalization does not keep us safe and in fact harms and furthers violence against Asian communities facing some of the greatest disparities and attacks – sex workers, low wage workers, people with disabilities, people living with HIV, youth, women, trans and non binary people, migrants amongst others. It also ignores that police violence is also anti-Asian violence, which has disproportionately targeted Black and Brown Asians. We uplift the names of Christian Hall and Angelo Quinto, Asian Americans who were recently killed by police during mental health crises.

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Harvard’s Bad Counsel

Harvard University

By Guest Contributor: erin Khuê Ninh, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, UCSB 

Harvard dispensed some royally bad counsel recently. The university’s Counseling and Mental Health Services posted a tip sheet (archived here on Wayback Machine) for Asian American students that was meant to advise on how to “cope” with anti-Asian racism, xenophobia, and the recent targeted Atlanta murders. It read to many, however, as a hate crime itself. I disagree with that assessment, though. I think it is something differently bad, and importantly different: an inside job. 

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American Asian

An abstract mosaic comprised of numerous triangle shapes.

A version of this post was originally published on Seven Yrs Later.

By Guest Contributor: Nicole Rapatan

I nudge my laptop and stretch my legs along the backseat. Working from home has lost its charm and extra effort needs space, so journals litter 4 sq. ft. floor mats and hide a college application essay from 11 years ago. I refresh for updates and realize that another person was shot, that he survived what eight people at two spas did not. I graze posts by women who look like me and ingest each one that I can. There is anger articulate and dismay indefinite while I flip through my papers blankly. I’m looking for the throughline of something wrong, how I’m at a loss to feel something so obvious. I’ve been American for as long as I could remember. It’s taken weeks to see who I am before that.

Mom and Dad came through JFK, closer to Ellis Island than Angel. I’m a city slicker by birth, cowkid by youth, Pinoy by milk and blood. Lola tended to her first grandchild as Mom and Dad worked when and where they had to. Memories overwritten, I imagine sewing machine laughs and strong whiffs of my forehead until Lola was pulled back to her homeland. A scattered village took place and I slept over at every Tita’s I wasn’t related to. Decor and playmates changed, but the lumpia still crunched, loganisa sizzled, fish bubbled, and rice plopped. I traded them for Lunchables at school as I liked the Reese’s and ham, water added.

Lesser tastes rhymed and stretched eyes to deem me Chinese, but I’d retort I was Filipino, even if the best movie was Mulan. When I started Spanish in first grade, the grown-ups proclaimed its shared base with Tagalog, the Philippines’ national language, yet that was an ocean away from Arizona; I wasn’t Mexican though we were the same crayons. I browned with glee on family visits and classmates would notice, often with envy as Dad confirmed. Donning my “Filipina with a Brain” shirt, I still heard “Chinese,” less insult than mislabel, but it didn’t stop me from tackling assholes. Otherwise, I was reputably high-achieving and polite, which are supposedly Asian qualities, but I’m my parents’ daughter. I remained so after the divorce, new schools and addresses, but some things had to give way.

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Learning To See The Shang-Chi In Me

Actor Simu Liu as Marvel superhero Shang Chi in a still from the upcoming film by the same name.

By Guest Contributor: Nam Le

This post was originally published on Patreon as Snapshots, from the life of a person counting down the hours til Shang Chi, the first Asian American Marvel movie.


Our television is on again. 

This time, it is not Wheel of Fortune or Paris By Night, the programs that were on so often at home that they were nearly burned into our boxy CRT screen — back when TVs could still suffer from such a thing.  

This time, it is a rental – another Chinese-language, Vietnamese-dubbed series my parents have slipped into the VCR, and in which the protagonists are soaring effortlessly through the air, fighting valiantly for one thing or another. My mother tongue isn’t quite far along enough to understand everything going on in these series. But I understand the gist, certainly — there are good guys, and there are bad guys. 

I am enthralled. 

I try this at home. 

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