Anti-Asian racism is skyrocketing in the United States. Sadly, this is not a new phenomenon: for centuries, American views of China have oscillated between rapturous enchantment and angry disillusionment. In recent years, American public opinion toward China has plummeted, and the consequences have been profound. Even as American and Chinese interests have become inexorably intertwined, the perceived threat of China’s rise makes it a powerful target for American resentment.
Have views of China fueled racism in the US? How can we promote greater understanding? Please join us for a conversation on history, the rise of China, and bias in America featuring the latest from Laura Silver of Pew Research Center on U.S. views of China and a discussion of the roots of anti-Asian racism with Catherine Pan, U.S.-China legal and finance expert, John Pomfret, journalist and expert on U.S.-China relations, and Erika Lee, one of the nation’s leading immigration and Asian American historians.
Erika Lee is one of the nation’s leading immigration and Asian American historians. Lee teaches American history at the University of Minnesota, where she is a Regents Professor, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor, the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History, and the Director of the Immigration History Research Center. The granddaughter of Chinese immigrants, Lee grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, attended Tufts University, and received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. She was recently elected into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, testified before Congress during its historic hearings on discrimination and violence against Asian Americans, was awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, and named Vice President of the Organization of American Historians. Lee is the author of four award-winning books in U.S. immigration and Asian American history including her most recent, America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States (Basic Books, 2019).
Catherine X. Pan-Giordano is a Partner and Corporate Group Head at Dorsey & Whitney LLP and leads the firm’s globally recognized U.S.-China transactional practice. As one of the most prominent Chinese-speaking business lawyers in New York, Pan-Giordano handles strategic corporate transactions, and complex legal problems for clients. Pan-Giordano handles mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, equity and debt financings, and other cross-border corporate transactions, and serves as a member of the Firm’s Management Committee, the executive body of the Firm.
John Pomfret is an award-winning journalist who worked with the Washington Post for several decades. He currently is a contributing writer to the Post’s Global Opinions section. Pomfret spent seven years covering China—one in the late 1980s during the Tiananmen Square protests and then from 1997 until the end of 2003 as the bureau chief for the Washington Post in Beijing. In 2003, he won the Osborne Elliot Award for the best coverage of Asia. In 2007, Pomfret was awarded the Shorenstein Award from Harvard and Stanford universities for his lifetime coverage of Asia. His latest book, The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present (2016) was awarded the 2017 Arthur Ross Award by the Council on Foreign Relations. Pomfret speaks, reads and writes Mandarin, having spent two years at Nanjing University in the early 1980s as part of one of the first groups of American students to study in China. He graduated from Stanford University with a BA and MA in East Asian Studies.
Laura Silver is a senior researcher at Pew Research Center. She is an expert in international survey research and writes about international public opinion on a variety of topics, including media usage and partisanship in Europe, Chinese public opinion, and global attitudes toward China. Prior to joining Pew Research Center, she was a foreign affairs research analyst at the U.S. Department of State in the Office of Opinion Research. She received a dual Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication and the political science department at the University of Pennsylvania where her work focused on American public opinion of China, particularly in the context of presidential elections.