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Are Chinese Nationals and Chinese Americans Reacting Differently (Becoming More Loyal to China vs the U.S.)?

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Since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, his approach to U.S.-China relations has included increased pressure via tariffs and trade war rhetoric, and now, with the onset of an unprecedented pandemic, the stage has been set for both sides to cast aspersions on the other

Against this backdrop, negative views of China have continued to grow, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of Americans conducted in March. Roughly two-thirds now say they have an unfavorable view of China, the most negative rating for the country since the Center began asking the question in 2005, and up nearly 20 percentage points since the start of the Trump administration. Positive views of China’s leader, President Xi Jinping, are also at historically low levels.

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To a degree still difficult for outsiders to absorb, China is preparing to shape the twenty-first century, much as the U.S. shaped the twentieth. Its government is deciding which features of the global status quo to preserve and which to reject, not only in business, culture, and politics but also in such basic values as human rights, free speech, and privacy. In the lead-up to the anniversary, the government demonstrated its capacity for social surveillance. At the Beijing University of Technology, where students trained to march in the parade, the administration extracted data from I.D

cards to see who ate what in the dining hall, and then delivered targeted guidance for a healthy diet. In the final weeks, authorities narrowed the Internet connection to the outside world, secreted dissidents out of town, and banned the flying of drones, kites, and pet pigeons. From the balcony, Xi presided over fifteen thousand goose-stepping troops and phalanxes of tanks and jets—five hundred and eighty pieces of equipment in all. For nearly a century, the U.S. has been the dominant military power in the Pacific, as it has in much of the world. Xi sees this as an unacceptable intrusion. “It is for the people of Asia to run the affairs of Asia, solve the problems of Asia, and uphold the security of Asia,” he has said. To achieve that, China has strengthened its military to the point that Pentagon analysts believe it could defeat U.S. forces in a confrontation along its borders. The most anticipated moment of the day was the début of a state-of-the-art missile called the Dongfeng-41, which can travel at twenty-five times the speed of sound toward targets more than nine thousand miles away, farther than anything comparable in the American arsenal. Watching the missile roll by, Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a nationalistic state newspaper, tweeted, “No need to fear it. Just respect it and respect China.” Hu, a seasoned provocateur, added a sly jab at the travails of democracy: above a picture of the missile, he wrote that China was just fine forgoing the “good stuff” of electoral democracy on display in “Haiti, Libya, Iraq and Ukraine.” When I visited Hu that week, at his office across town, he was in a buoyant mood. The pageant was less about military hardware, he said, than about “self-confidence.” He offered a pitying contrast with the United States. “You overestimated your abilities to transform the world,” he said. “You can’t simply write the screenplay for the future. China, India, the rest of the world—everyone will have a hand in the script.” He pointed to America’s pressure on China over trade. “They thought China was going to throw up the white flag,” Hu said. “But China kept up the fight. It appears that the ability to inflict pain on China is not what you thought it would be.”

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The current study investigated the direct and moderating effects of racial identity, ethnic identity, Asian values, and race-related stress on positive psychological well-being among 402 Asian American and Asian international college students (Trepte, 2006)

Results revealed that the racial identity statuses Internalization, Immersion-Emersion, Dissonance, Asian values and Ethnic Identity Affirmation and Belonging were significant predictors of well-being. Asian values, Dissonance and Conformity were found to moderate the relationship between race-related stress on well-being. Specifically, individuals in low race-related stress conditions who had low Asian values, high Conformity and low Dissonance attitudes started high on well being but decreased as race-related stress increased. These findings underscore the importance of how racial identity statuses, Asian values and ethnic identity jointly and uniquely explain and moderate the effects of race-related stress on positive well-being. Implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed (Triandis HC., 1995).

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Generally speaking, after the People’s Republic of China entered the Korean War, Chinese Americans’ unique history of exclusion and political marginalization left the community unusually vulnerable to the kind of public hysteria that Joseph McCarthy and his allies fostered

Politically weak and sometimes in legal jeopardy, Chinese Americans after 1950 often felt great pressure to prove their loyalty to both the United States and Taiwan, regardless of their private sentiments. Yet by the middle of the decade, a growing number began to work not only to defend their communities from attack but to seek the kind of power that would enable Chinese Americans to gain equal rights and treatment in the United States.

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Trepte S. Social identity theory. In: Bryant J, Varderer P, editors. Psychology of entertainment. New York: Routledge; 2006. pp. 255–271

Triandis HC. Individualism and collectivism. Boulder, CO: Westview Press; 1995.

Turner JC, Hogg MA, Oakes PJ, Reicher SD, Wetherell MS. Rediscovering the social group: A self-categorization theory. Oxford: Blackwell; 1987

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