June 18, 2021 

Volume 1, Issue 10

Dear Friends,

We are thinking about Duan Wu Jie (the Dragon Boat Festival) and eating zongzi. This holiday remembers the ancient Chinese minister Qu Yuan who died by suicide in 278 BC after speaking out against governmental corruption, and whose patriotism is commemorated with sticky rice dumplings called zongzi (bah tsang) and dragon boat races. This month, the Dragon Boat Festival and Pride Month come together in “To Qu Yuan With Love,” a virtual showcase of four short films celebrating queer Chinese voices curated by LGBTQ+ activist and filmmaker Popo Fan until June 19. 

Thanks for your continued support of the 1990 Institute and newsletter, and please encourage your friends to subscribe so they can get this great content straight to their inboxes.


The "Educators Cut" is now available for Grades 9-12: "Call It What It Is: Racism Against Asian Americans"


How will harsh anti-China rhetoric and policy impact Asian Americans?

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Last week, in a rare show of bipartisan support, the U.S. Senate voted 68-32 to pass bill S.1260, United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021. Originally the Endless Frontier Act, the bill seeks to challenge China’s technological advances with an investment of about $250 billion in science and technology development and infrastructure. 

The bill is a massive 1445 pages, with input from six Senate subcommittees and 616 amendments. It creates a technology and innovation division at the National Science Foundation; invests in research such as artificial intelligence, high performance computing, and advanced manufacturing; establishes a regional technology hub program; domestically manufactures semiconductors and telecommunications technology; restricts funding for universities with partnerships with China; and more. The bill goes to the U.S. House of Representatives next.

"The premise is simple, if we want American workers and American companies to keep leading the world, the federal government must invest in science, basic research and innovation, just as we did decades after the Second World War," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. "Whoever wins the race to the technologies of the future is going to be the global economic leader with profound consequences for foreign policy and national security as well."

However, some are concerned that the bill’s emphasis on beating China is xenophobic, detrimental to a good working partnership needed for addressing global issues like climate change, and potentially dangerous for Asian Americans, especially Asian American scientists.

“We need to distinguish between justified criticisms of the Chinese government’s human rights record and a Cold War mentality that uses China as a scapegoat for our own domestic problems and demonizes Chinese Americans,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn).

“We cannot achieve social, economic, and racial justice – or combat the current anti-Asian sentiment, for that matter – when Senate Democratic leaders, the elected officials whose leadership we look towards, are actively legislating policy that positions the United States in a pseudo-Cold War against the ‘malign’ influence of China,” said Michelle Liang, Policy Manager of National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) in a statement criticizing how a pseudo-Cold War against China contributes to McCarthyist, racist stereotypes about Asian Americans. “Unity achieved through the utilization and codification of racist stereotypes is not true national unity.”

China made similar investments in technology and infrastructure several years ago, which Washington decried. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters, "We firmly object to the United States seeing China as an imaginary enemy."

“1990 Institute is concerned that the anti-China framing of this bill could cause US-China relations to deteriorate further, as well as cause increased anti-Asian American violence and discrimination,” said 1990 Institute Board of Directors Chair Dan Chao. “We should all keep an eye on this bill as it progresses.”


"The Yin and Yang of Multi-Generational Living and Caregiving" – Tuesday, June 22, 6-7 pm ET (3-4 pm PT), moderated by Mei Fong, Chief Communications Officer at Human Rights Watch and a member of the 1990 Institute Advisory Council


Curated News

Roger Shimomura Is 81 Years Old. His Takedown Of Anti-Asian Stereotypes Is Timelier Than Ever | KCUR  Artist Roger Shimomura just received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Kansas for his impact on the art world. The recognition comes as his work takes on new resonance.

Nepal’s doctors are like soldiers fighting a war | Nepali Times  In cities and villages, medical workers on COVID frontlines now get a little help from telemedicine

The Sad End Of Jack Ma Inc. | Forbes  “The purpose is to rein in Ma Yun,” said an adviser to China’s State Council, the country’s top government body, using Mr. Ma’s Chinese name. “It’s like putting a bridle on a horse.

The Senate Passes A Bill To Encourage Tech Competition, Especially With China | NPR (AP)  The Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill Tuesday that aims to boost U.S. semiconductor production and the development of artificial intelligence and other technology in the face of growing international competition, most notably from China.

How Congress wrecked its own science bill, explained in 600 words | Vox  The Endless Frontier Act was meant to show the U.S. can still compete with China. It did the opposite.

Top Chinese virologist: Speculation surrounding Wuhan lab is baseless | The Hill  Leading Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli denounced the Wuhan lab COVID-19 origin theory as baseless and said there is no evidence to back it up. “I don’t know how the world has come to this, constantly pouring filth on an innocent scientist.”

Wish Dragon star John Cho says his work is informed by a ‘desire to please myself as a kid’ | Entertainment Weekly  He’s been to White Castle, the Final Frontier, and Over the Moon, but now the actor is just trying to enter the spirit world in Netflix’s Wish Dragon.

The Asian American wealth gap, explained in a comic | Vox  The largest wealth gap in the country comes down to the history of Asian migration by Jamie Noguchi and Lok Siu (1990 Institute Advisory Council member).


Missed the "Trade, Talent and the Internet: Emerging Voices in U.S.-China Relations" webinar? Watch today!



Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


1990 Institute
P.O. Box 383  | San Francisco, California 94104


Copyright 2021 The 1990 Institute. All rights reserved. 

Follow Us


Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser

Unsubscribe or Manage Your Preferences