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Author: Chiou-Ling Yeh

Abstract

Although scholars have investigated the intricacies of anti-Americanism, few have examined the factors that affected the abilities of minorities or colonized people to protest U.S. policies. This article compares and contrasts the responses of Chinese in the Philippines, Thailand, and Hong Kong to the May 24th Incident of 1957, when 25,000 Chinese attacked the U.S. embassy and ransacked the U.S. Information Service Office in Taipei, Taiwan, due to the acquittal of a U.S. soldier for killing a Chinese. While U.S. military and economic aid motivated recipients to rally behind the anti-Communist banner, geopolitics, domestic conditions, and anti-Chinese racism also played pivotal roles in determining whether the Chinese could voice or act upon their anti-American sentiment. The Philippines’ heavy dependence on U.S. military and economic aid, coupled with long-lasting anti-Chinese racism, limited the potential for Philippine Chinese to critique U.S. policies. By contrast, tenuous U.S.-Thai relations and domestic anti-Americanism emboldened Thai Chinese to lambaste U.S. military injustice. Although the largest U.S. aid recipient, Britain adhered to neutrality in its Cold War politics and permitted a vibrant cultural industry in Hong Kong, resulting in strong criticism of U.S. policies among the city’s Chinese.

In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations