University of California Tells Students “Do Not Allow Others” To Refer To “Chinese Virus”

The Council of Chief Diversity Officers at the University of California has issued a “guidance document” to reject racism, sexism, xenophobia and all hateful or intolerant speech, both in person and online” during this crisis. Specifically, it tells students to stop others from referring to the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus.” The guideline raises renewed questions over the use of diversity rules to restrict or regulate free speech, particularly terms that have strong political or social meaning for students.

UC tells students to “Be an ‘up-stander,’ and discourage others from engaging in such behavior.” It then goes further and states: “Do not use terms such as ‘Chinese Virus’ or other terms which cast either intentional or unintentional projections of hatred toward Asian communities, and do not allow the use of these terms by others.”

I refer to “COVID-19” OR “coronavirus” but it is chilling to see a public university encouraging students to stop others from referring to the “Chinese” or “Wuhan” virus. This remains a point of political debate. Many, including members of Congress continue to use this term because of its origins. Moreover, many object that China has lied about the origins of the virus and arrested scientists who tried to tell the world about its dangers. It is political speech.

We have been discussing the erosion of free speech on campuses with rising speech codes and ambiguous rules barring “microaggressions.”  A small percentage of students and faculty often push for such speech codes and regulation.  However, it is often difficult for students and faculty to object at the risk of being called intolerant or microaggressors.  We discussed previously a Gallup poll confirming that most students feel that they are no longer able to speak freely at college due to this minority of speech intolerant students and faculty. Ninety percent of Pomona students said that they did not feel free to speak openly or freely. It is an indictment of not just Pomona but many of our colleges. Nine out of ten students said that “the campus climate prevents them from saying something others might find offensive.” Nearly two-thirds of faculty feel the same.  Seventy-five percent of conservative and moderate students strongly agree that the school climate hinders their free expression.  Notably, that is “nearly 2.5 times higher than very liberal students.”

The guidelines issued by UC reflects a view that diversity allows for the silencing of others who hold opposing political views. Many view the reference to the Chinese virus as a statement of its origins and no more prejudicial than the Spanish Flu. I have previously stated that I find the use of the Chinese virus to be gratuitous and unscientific. Yet, while I use coronavirus as the term, I agree with others that we need to resist the global effort of China to bury its responsibility in concealing the facts of the outbreak, including barring disclosure during the early critical months of the outbreak.

123 thoughts on “University of California Tells Students “Do Not Allow Others” To Refer To “Chinese Virus””

  1. “Suspect tried to kill Asian American family at a Texas Sam’s Club over coronavirus fears, reports say”

    https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2020/03/31/suspect-tried-to-kill-asian-american-family-at-a-texas-sams-club-over-coronavirus-fears-reports-say/

    An FBI document says a man facing attempted murder charges for stabbing members of a family at a Midland Sam’s Club did so because he thought the Asian Americans were Chinese and “infecting people with the coronavirus,” according to an ABC News report.

    The 19-year-old suspect admitted he tried to kill the family, according to a Midland Reporter-Telegram article from earlier this month. That paper also reported that the man is being held on attempted murder and aggravated assault charges.

    The ABC News report Monday cites an FBI document that warns of an increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans as the coronavirus crisis magnifies in the United States. The pandemic started in China. As it has gripped America and Texas, the virus has unleashed widespread fear, anti-Chinese sentiments and outright xenophobia among American leaders.

    Family members stabbed in Midland included a 2-year-old and 6-year-old, according to the document ABC News obtained. — Brandon Formby

    But hey, call it the “Chinese Virus.” Go on: Be stupid.

    1. Anonymous, there are Trumpers on this thread who seem crazy enough to worry Asians in this country. It’s not hard to imagine Asians fearing that ‘Chinese Virus’ designation.

      1. I agree, Seth. It’s very sad.

        At least some of those who post comments to this blog seem to be lacking in empathy.

        1. I don’t lack empathy, I just don’t think ppl should get caught up in semantics, in a time when the nation does not need to be bickering over petty things.

          With that said, there will always be low IQ mentally unstable types who lash out at others. Violently or not violently. I’ve seen the videos, and I shake my head every time. I don’t believe there is a way to entirely curb it. Sure, you could have the news propaganda the don’t call it that, and have schools send out emails, I don’t think it will change the outcome.

          Some ppl with or without the verbiage will associate it with Asian ppl, whether American or International. There is no way to entirely control it.

          With that said, it is a scary time for Asians, as a whole. I also have great confidence that most ppl most of the time behave themselves, and you have some extreme ends of the bell curve that dont or can’t.

          What be worse, for all humans, is if censorship became a norm and standard in the American culture, or to lose the ability to speak your mind. That is a scary end game, and its an end game, that some salivate at the notion. Those same folks pushing for censorship, will be the ones weeping at their inability to speak decades from now.

          “When you give a mouse a cookie, it will want a glass of milk.”

    2. Are international authorities going to charge Xi Jinping with war crimes, crimes against humanity and murder? The best evidence leads to deliberate or unwitting acts committed in Wuhan, China, leading to deaths in every nation; not to mention the attendant economic destruction.

    3. This is hardly an American phenomenon. It’s going on everywhere in the world – including China. So much for “xenophobia.”

  2. The President had an information problem in January and February. His two sources of information on this were China and the “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction” intelligence community. The intelligence communities assessment on this matter was more vague and qualified than their certainty about weapons of mass destruction.

    The one criticism of the President I will entertain is that he should have qualified his statements on China. For example a qualified statement such as: “If China’s information is accurate, we are fine for now.” would have been more appropriate.

  3. Trump Praised China’s Initial Response

    Back in January, Trump praised China for doing two things that, in hindsight, we know it has not done: 1) keep the spread of the virus under control and 2) be forthright about how many people in the country are infected.

    Donald J. Trump

    ✔@realDonaldTrump

    “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”

    Edited from: “Everyone And Everything Trump Has Blamed For His Coronavirus Response”

    Today’s Washington Post

    1. The author for that post article concludes that Trump is right to blame this mess on China’s totalitarian regime while at the same time criticizing Trump for blaming China’s totalitarian regime instead of himself.

  4. McConnell Claims Impeachment Distracted Trump From Virus. But Claim Falls Apart Under Scrutiny

    Look at the calendar. The impeachment trial ended on Feb. 5. In reality, it was over before it even started, thanks in large part to McConnell. The only drama was about whether there’d be any witnesses — and that ended on Jan. 31, when the Senate voted not to hear testimony. That left plenty of time to deal with the virus.

    And while some lawyers in the executive branch and Congress were working on impeachment around the clock, impeachment didn’t consume the government. Trump managed to get to Mar-a-Lago at least four times in January and February, working in a few rounds of golf along the way. He held five campaign rallies around the country during the impeachment trial.

    Trump even had the bandwidth during the trial to comment on the coronavirus: On Jan. 22, he told CNBC “we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China.” On Jan. 24, he tweeted, “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!” On Jan. 30, at a speech in Michigan, he said again, “We think we have it very well under control.” On Feb. 2, referring to his administration’s Jan. 31 order partially banning travel from China, Trump told Sean Hannity, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

    Most importantly, impeachment didn’t keep U.S. intelligence agencies from warning the president and Congress in January and February about the danger of the virus. In particular, as Josh Rogin wrote, impeachment notwithstanding, “throughout January and much of February, senior Trump administration officials heatedly debated the scope and scale of the coronavirus pandemic.”

    Edited From: “Impeachment Didn’t Distract From Coronavirus, Trump Did” by George Conroy

    This Evening’s Washington Post

  5. Meanwhile, At Liberty University,

    Effort To Reopen Campus Ends When Students Report Virus Symptoms

    Liberty University is run by Jerry Falwell Jr., a well-known political ally of Donald Trump. Last week Falwell found himself the subject of deep controversy when he decided to reopen the university against the advice of public health officials. Now a small number of returning students report symptoms in keeping with the Covid-19 Virus.

    https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/490091-liberty-university-students-report-symptoms-that-suggest-coronavirus

  6. The U.S., collectively, was nothing more than one big experiment. The experiment was called the “melting pot.”

    I think it has been rather successful, if not fully successful. For the most part, ppl get along. There will always be outliers, as is understandable. There will always be lil spats, and disagreements.

    There is no need to tell students what to think, or how to think, or how to police others in way to think, if and when it does not pertain to actual acadmic coursework, knowledge.

    1. This comment above is a tangential, broad scope comment.

      More directly, everyone in the U.S. should consider themselves American, first and foremost. I am an American of Chinese descent. I am an American of Mexican descent. And most ppl DO feel this way. They may have never even been to their parents or grandparents’ origin country.

      Now, the virus stems from Wuhan, its origin place. Why is it not okay to call it Wuhan Flu? Why is it not okay to call it the Chinese Flu, when it comes from its origin country of China?

      If you’re from the U.S., I call you American. If you are from China, I call you Chinese.

      Who exactly are we offending by calling it Chinese Flu?

      Why should a Chinese person take that as a personal insult? It has nothing to do with you. Just bc a virus is from your origin country, has no reflection on you as a Chinese person.

      If it was called the American Flu, I would not be offended. Bc it has nothing to do with me personally.

      If someone illogically and erroneously attacked me bc of it, tell them to seek help for their mental problems and call the police, if necessary.

          1. Okay. So, technically speaking, it’s SARS-CoV-2 / Covid-19 / CV19 (for short).

            And I’m all for technicalities. Believe me, in the law, technicalities can be/make winners & losers. But here, right now, for a non-law based discussion.

            Could the term Chinese Flu, or Wuhan Flu be used as a loose slang term?

            While one could argue it’s inaccurate, would it be offensive? That’s my real question. On a scale of 1 to 10, how offensive is it, to say, a Chinese person, or say, an American person of Chinese descent…?

            What if someone calls it SARS-CoV-2 as a public figure/official on live broadcast, and then goes home and privately refers to it as the Kung Flu, which is not known to anyone?

            What if the tone is neutral, say, “Oh, yeah, that Kung Flu is very stressful.” Versus someone on the street yelling at another in a hatred manner & negative tone, say, “Get your Kung Flu, and go back to where you came from.”. Those are two very different circumstances.

            I guess IMO, I feel country before all else. That in times of crisis, one must be American, and for their country, as a whole. One can not pledge their allegiance to two sovereigns. I’m starting to ramble here, but the gist is observed.

            1. The last paragraph being an OT thought.

              But could one say, as the victim of hate speech, I am not Chinese, I am American, and a better American than you will ever be.

              But of course, I do recommend avoiding conflicts at all costs, eith mentally ill ppl, and if in danger, violent danger, calling the police.

        1. Anonymous – the French disease was syphliss but was the Italian disease when the French first got it. We have the Spanish flu, German measles, etc. It is the ChiCom flu.

          1. I don’t care wtf you call it. When you get it, your only concern is going to be that the doctors know what to call the successful treatment.

          2. Paul, the so-called Spanish Flu was never officially linked to Spain. It more than likely started at a U.S. Army base in Kansas

            1. Peter – there is a good possibility that it came from Chinese railroad workers in Canada and moved both north and south. DNA was found in an Inuit community and two Army bases.

              1. Paul, did you ever see that “American Experience” film about the Swine Flu? It plays like a horror show and seems uncomfortably relevant now.

  7. In my opinion both the SARS-CoV coronavirus and the more recent SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus are due to the Chinese live animal, so-called wet, markets and probably also certain practices of traditional Chinese medicine, the use of rare animal parts.

    So yes, these are Chinese viruses. More accurately, traditional Chinese culture viruses. However the name is coronaviruses. That is shorter and not contentious.

    — David B Benson

    1. yes benson it might be due to the use of exotic animals in tcm which is really backwards.

      while i generally dislike the CCP”s animus towards traditional chinese culture, in this one respect, they are right to denounce it. they did some work on this after the first Sars virus in 2003 but bad habits die hard

      also there is a possibility that if not this viruses than either coronaviruses might have, or could in the future, lead from the Wuhan bsl 4 lab due to corrupt and greedy workers stealing animals that should have been cremated after experimentation, and selling them at the wetmarket. this MAY have been an issue which lead to Xi dictating enhanced security protocols for the labs in china in the past month or so

  8. “Trump: U.S. appreciates China’s ‘efforts and transparency’ on coronavirus”

    This was January 24. For a competent opposition party, it is a pretty good opening for attack. The problem is it is not the kind of attack Democrats engage in.

    You see, Trump here is being the opposite of a xenophobe. There is no criticism of him regarding the acceptance of information put out by a totalitarian regime. That’s not the Democrats shtick.

    Actually, it’s not the establishment’s shtick either when it comes to China.

  9. “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine” Jan 22 2020. DJT.

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