Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case challenging the use of racial preferences in the university admissions process. The case has led supporters and opponents to engage in a heated national debate about the merits of affirmative action, but few have noticed that one of the best reminders of the policy’s absurdities actually comes from the territorial conflicts currently raging in Asia.
In the world of affirmative action, Asians-Americans, along with other races, are lumped together as a single group that receives, or are excluded from, employment, education, contracting, or other positions. In the real world, however, the people of Asia not only are not interchangeable tokens; they have numerous reasons not to like each other. Grouping Asians together for the purpose of fostering “diversity” in America is not only ignorant but also insulting.
In recent months, nasty territorial squabbles over islands in the South China Sea have sparked widespread and at times, violent protests featuring one Asian nationality against another. China stands at the center of Asia’s simmering tensions. Just last month, anti-Japanese protests broke out in over 100 Chinese cities. Protestors ransacked Japanese stores, disrupted work at factories, burned Japanese flags, threw bottles, eggs, and apples outside of the Japanese embassy in Beijing, and called for the annihilation of Japan. Numerous Japanese stores in China closed temporarily, and Japan’s top manufacturers—such as Panasonic, Canon, and Toyota—halted production. Since then, consumer boycotts against Japanese cars in China have led to plunging sales for Japanese automakers.
These protests raged over the Japanese government’s September 11 purchase from private ownership of various disputed islands claimed by China and administered by Japan. Tokyo had intended for the “nationalization” of the islands, called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan, to prevent further escalation of bilateral conflict, but it only reminded Chinese citizens of Japan’s naked land grab in China before and during World War II.
Unfortunately for Japan, the Chinese are not the only ones protesting against it. Citizens of Taiwan, a former colony of Japan that also claims the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, have staged what Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has called “patriotic” demonstrations against Japan. During the last week of September, a flotilla of nearly 80 Taiwanese fishing boats, escorted by coast guard ships, even traveled to the disputed area to assert their historic fishing rights and “protect” the islands.