October 21, 2019

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Media Narratives Ignore Violence of Hong Kong Protesters

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To the Editor:

I’m a Chinese Ph.D. student who came to Cornell to pursue the world’s best education and technologies, hoping to one day make a contribution toward the evolution of all human societies. I usually follow political news but always stay apolitical myself, since I like to keep my life simple and focused on science.

However, upon reading two recent articles from The Sun — entitled “Claims of Vandalized Pro-Hong Kong Posters Bring Overseas Tensions to Cornell” and “When Victims Become Perpetrators: The Human Condition of Chinese Students” — and the pro-Hong Kong protest slogans actively appearing around campus, I’m deeply concerned by the serious misinformation and lack of communication between the Chinese and American communities. I’ve never felt so unrepresented before, and the past few weeks have been the most difficult time during the six years I’ve spent at Cornell.

I’m not writing to directly contradict the opinions from those aforementioned articles. In fact, I understand and even share some of the thoughts they express, such as anti-vandalism and speaking out through proper channels. But both articles share the same tone as all major U.S. (western) media: depicting the Hong Kong government and police as oppressors who beat protesters — while not mentioning the extreme mass violence (arson, abduction, assault on lone policemen and anyone who speaks Mandarin on the street) initiated and committed by the Hong Kong protesters every day that is killing the once-prosperous city.

You can find full-length videos of all these crimes online, but you must try hard, since major media outlets never report them. The media have their political goals in such biased reports, and I do not wish to think about them. But their ignorance has impacts on young communities such as Cornell: People who don’t regularly access news sources outside U.S. media don’t know the other side of the story, and people who oppose the violent Hong Kong protest find themselves isolated, unrepresented and alone. For the latter, they wish to bring it to attention that to talk about freedom, the protesters must first free themselves from violence.

I love both my own country and the U.S., since I’ve had some of my best memories in each of them. I do not wish to see a day when they are divided because of such lack of communication.

Xiaoyue Ding, grad