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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

January 31, 2007

Written by C.N.

Adoption and Gender Imbalance in China

Recent news about stricter measures in foreign adoptions is worrying adoption agencies who seek Chinese babies for their Western clientele. Those who are homosexual, obese, older than 50, and worth less than $80,000 are no longer suitable to be adoptive parents according to the new criteria. Such restrictions are criticized in the New York Times (NYT) Op-Ed contributed by Beth Nonte Russell, a therapist and advocate of international adoptions, and former staffer of Indiana Senator Richard Luger (Republican).

She critiques three areas:

1. She blames China’s one-child policy for the abandonment of baby girls.
2. Accuses the Chinese government of placing national pride before the welfare of orphans.
3. Criticizes Chinese data on adoptions and orphanages as “unreliable.”

Embedded in these three points are accusations of callousness, breach of international treaty, and human rights violation.

The issue of abandoned and institutionalized children remains a taboo subject in China, a problem the government does not even acknowledge exists. The impulse to hide it seems to stem partly from embarrassment and partly from fear of revealing the grave human rights abuse the one-child policy has produced; surely, watching a parade of well-off foreigners cart off thousands of babies would make the Chinese authorities understandably uncomfortable.

But the answer is not to stop foreigners from adopting; it is to put an end to their reasons for doing so. My fondest hope, and the hope of thousands of parents who have adopted from China, is for all the orphanages there to close because there are no more abandoned children to put in them. This will only be accomplished when China decides that there is no economic or political justification for the magnitude of suffering that has resulted from the one-child policy. The government must openly acknowledge the problem, in part by publishing verifiable information about the status of its orphaned children, and take real steps to correct it.

Ms. Nonte Russell has a point about the cultural preference for boys in rural China, and the government’s reluctance to expose its problems. However, her understanding of the one-child policy or the causes of child abandonment are questionable.

The one child-policy is not strictly applied to all Chinese citizens; there are provisions that exempt certain individuals if they qualify. Ethnic minorities (e.g., Mongolians, Tibetans, Miao, etc) are basically exempt; even the Han are allowed to have more than one child under certain circumstances.

Given the international ubiquity of child abandonment, poverty rather than policy, seems to be a more logical explanation. Impoverished parents are more likely to abandon baby girls because of the Chinese cultural preference for boys. However distasteful this aspect of Chinese culture, this regrettable truth predates the one-child policy and establishes poverty and cultural bias as a more credible supposition.

What is especially perplexing about Nonte Russell’s piece is that she mentions the gender imbalance crisis in China, but fails see the connection with the reason why fewer foreigners are being allowed to adopt. The acute bride shortage will leave many Chinese men without partners, and that will lead to social upheaval and higher crime rate. Considering these problems, a moratorium on foreign adoptions is not an unreasonable measure in trying to restore gender balance.

There is a hollow ring to American criticism, when convoluted adoption policies in the United States are often cited as the main reason why so many parents seek babies in China. The omission of African-American children from this Op-Ed and from the general discussion on trans-racial adoptions is duly noted, when so many black children are in need of loving families and homes.

Perhaps part of the problem is that some Americans have an attitude of entitlement when it comes to adopting children in China. Adopting a Chinese baby is a privilege, not right. These babies are citizens of the People’s Republic of China, and the government has every right to set the criteria. China’s priority is to its own people, collectively.

Ms. Nonte Russell is also the author of Offspring of a Deathless Soul (2004); a work of fiction that appears to take its cue from an adoption trip to China. Based on the book’s dustcover preview, this work seems to engage in some sort of dream fantasy of an infanticidal Chinese emperor and a messiah-like baby. It appears to be a work that indulges an Orientalist fantasy of rescue and romanticizes the adoption of Chinese girls.

January 30, 2007

Written by C.N.

ASEAN Nations Planning Closer Ties

Most people have probably heard of the European Union (EU) or the North American Free Trade Zone (NAFTZ), but I’d guess that most have not heard of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Up to now, it’s a loose confederation of countries in Southeast Asia that has done little more than talk and make pledges of cooperation. At their latest meeting however, ASEAN countries seem poised to take their group to the next level and to more closely emulate the EU and NAFTZ:

Facing economic pressure from heavyweights China and India, and the twin shadows of terrorism and poverty, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations adopted an ambitious agenda it hopes can transform the region. Following a day of talks at a summit that was postponed last month amid fears of a terror attack, it set a goal of 2015 for a free-trade zone that would cover almost 570 million people, more than the population of Europe. . . .

Perhaps the biggest change is a plan to revamp how this disparate group of nations — run by everything from sultans to old-school communist ideologues — will handle its internal diplomacy. The group signed a commitment to create ASEAN’s first-ever charter, aimed at turning it into a European Union-style entity with binding rules and regulations. . . . ASEAN [includes] Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Although there’s still debate how a closer union of countries is good or bad on certain issues, in general, I see this as a positive step for these countries. Closer cooperation will allow them to begin cultivating a more united front, which will hopefully mean a more powerful collective voice in world affairs, rather than being singular, isolated states in the international community. We’ll have to see what the details of such a union look like, but I like what I hear so far.

The question becomes, how will the U.S. like such an arrangement? Will they see a closer and more powerful ASEAN as a useful counterbalance to the power of China, Indian, Japan, and South Korea, or will they see it as another emerging economic and political threat to their waning international hegemony? That question too remains to be seen.

January 28, 2007

Written by C.N.

Survey on Asian American Women

A colleague of mine asked for my help in recruiting Asian American women to take an Internet survey she’s created to help analyze work and family issues. It’s open to all women who self-identify as Asian American. It’s not exactly a short survey — it’ll take about 30 minutes to complete — but the data will be very valuable in helping her understand some very important issues. Please consider participating and please help by directing your friends, coworkers, relatives, etc. to the URL below. Thanks.


I am an assistant professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and am conducting a study on how Asian American women balance work and family responsibilities. If you or someone you know would be available to participate in survey for this study, it would greatly contribute to understanding the challenges and concerns of this understudied group of women and their mothering and work experiences.

The study is supported by an American Association of University Women Postdoctoral American Fellowship, a grant from the Institute of Asian American Studies at UMASS Boston and a research leave from UMASS Amherst. The survey will be completely confidential.

Unfortunately, I cannot offer any remuneration, other than the satisfaction of knowing that your participation will potentially help to raise awareness and facilitate workplace practices and policy initiatives to better serve Asian American working families. In addition, you may find the survey itself enjoyable and useful for gaining a deeper understanding of your own experiences and how they compare to other Asian American women.

At the end of the survey, you can enter your name into a raffle for a $100 book gift certificate as well as provide your contact information if you are willing to participate in a follow-up interview. Thanks and best wishes!

Miliann Kang
Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

January 25, 2007

Written by C.N.

Another Anti-Arab Student Attack

You might remember that back in November 2006, an Iranian American student at UCLA was tazered by campus police for refusing to show his student ID. On the heels of that, this past week three Palestinian college students were called racial slurs, terrorists, and physically attacked by 15 football players from Guilford College, a small Quaker college in Greensboro NC:

Police have described the assault against several Palestinian students — two from Guilford, one an N.C. State student — as racially motivated. Three Guilford football players are charged in connection with the incident that happened early Saturday outside a dormitory on campus. . . .

The three athletes who were charged, as well as the two Palestinian students involved, are not living on campus at the school’s request while the incident is investigated, college officials said Wednesday. Those who could not find a place to stay were offered hotel rooms at the school’s expense. . . .

That the injured Palestinian students had been asked to leave campus did not sit well with many at the forum, which was held at the New Garden Friends Meeting near campus. During the hour long meeting, students accused the school’s administration of dragging its feet in dealing with the accused. . . . Friends and classmates of the Palestinian students spoke on their behalf , describing an unprovoked attack and injuries that include a broken jaw, a broken nose and concussions.

According to court documents, up to 15 members of the football team were involved in the assault, during which the Palestinian students were beaten with fists, feet and brass knuckles while being subjected to racial slurs and called “terrorists.” Some students said they were offended the college shied away from calling the incident a “hate crime,” which they said implied the accusers were lying.

Obviously, in the wake of the rape allegations leveled at the Duke University lacrosse players that have since been retracted, we need to be diligent about adhering to the principle that an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. On the other hand, having seen too many of these kinds of documented hate crimes against people of color and other minority groups in general, but particularly against Arab- and Muslim-Americans in particular since 9/11, perhaps you’ll excuse me if I will go ahead and presume that they are guilty as charged.

In that context, the crime itself of being physically attacked and suffering concussions and broken bones is bad enough by itself. But as I’ve I’ve written about earlier when it comes to students being physically attacked out of racial hatred, what makes the situation even worse is when school administrators drag their feet in addressing not just the incident at hand, but also the root causes of the problem that have been allowed to go unchecked on their campus for too long. Apparently, this is exactly what has happened at Guilford.

This is especially ironic and hurtful since the Quaker religion is historically known for being very tolerant and respectful of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities. It’s really a shame that university leaders have apparently lost touch with not just that particular tradition but also with the heightened state of tensions unfairly directed at Arab and Muslim students around the country.

In terms of living up to that tradition of being at the forefront of fighting for racial tolerance and justice, Guilford leaders get an F so far.


Update: On Wed. 3/14, the Guilford Country District Attorney announced that all charges against the football players have been dropped. As a Guilford professor in the the linked article says, “Just because the legal issue has been resolved from the perspective of the legal system doesn’t mean the issues we’re dealing with campus are resolved.” That’s exactly right — the underlying prejudices and tensions against Arab students on campus still needs to be addressed for the college to genuinely move beyond this incident.

January 24, 2007

Written by C.N.

Princeton Student Newspaper Controversy

You might remember that recently an Asian American student applicant who was rejected at Princeton sued the university claiming racial discrimination. The people at Princeton’s student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian, decided to write about his case. Unfortunately, they tried to do so using a parody that included mocking Asian language accents and basically playing off offensive stereotypes against Asians. While the student newspaper claimed it was all hyperbole, others weren’t so amused:

Under the byline of Lian Ji, the article used broken English and racial stereotypes to bash the school for his rejection. “Hi Princeton! Remember me? I so good at math and science. Perfect 2400 SAT score. Ring Bells?” the article began. “Just in case, let me refresh your memories. I the super smart Asian. Princeton the super dumb college, not accept me.”

An accompanying note informed readers that the article was part of the joke issue, but that did not stop Princeton students and alumni from accusing the writers of racism. “Many angry Asian American alums are circulating this article like wildfire. I consider myself an easygoing person, but, guys, this article doesn’t even try to use humor to hide the underlying hate,” Andre Liu, who identified himself as a 1991 graduate, wrote to the editor. “Real bad call.”

Friday’s issue published an article on the controversy and a note from the paper’s managing board that stated its members “sincerely regret having upset some of our readers,” but defended their intentions. “Using hyperbole and an unbelievable string of stereotypes, we hoped to lampoon racism by showing it at its most outrageous,” the note said. “We embraced racist language in order to strangle it. At its worst, the column was a bad joke; at its best, it provoked serious thought about issues of race, fairness and diversity.”

In a letter that appeared in the Daily Princetonian, Princeton’s Asian American Studies Association said the column was “offensive to Asian American students” and “reflects poorly on Princeton’s reputation as a diverse and informed university.”

Apparently The Daily Princetonian includes a few Asian American writers who worked on the “parody” and apparently felt that publishing it was appropriate. Because of that fact, many defenders of The Daily Princetonian argue that they were right in publishing the piece. And apparently, all Asian Americans are supposed to think alike, right? Just because one or a few Asian Americans thought that it was funny means that all Asian Americans should fall right in line, like mindless robots?

As someone who’s been called “extremely sarcastic” by friends and relatives, I can appreciate the value of hyperbole and satire. But in this case, the parody clearly crossed the line into reinforcing and perpetuating offensive stereotypes. Ultimately, The Daily Princetonian has a right to feel that their piece tried to attack racial stereotypes. But they should realize that the same freedom of expression allows the rest of us to denounce it as patently offensive.

For more perspective on this issue, be sure to read Jeff Yang’s weekly “Asian Pop” column.

January 23, 2007

Written by C.N.

China’s Growing Gender Imbalance

For decades now, China’s government has enforced a strict “one child” policy that restricted most Chinese families to just one child, in order to curb China’s rising population. Combined with the fact that traditionally, males enjoyed many more legal rights than females, many Chinese couples end up aborting female fetuses in hopes of waiting for a boy. Unfortunately, this situation has created a growing gender imbalance in China, which has the potential to threaten China’s future stability:

Traditional preferences for sons has led to the widespread – but illegal – practice of women aborting babies if an early term sonogram shows it is a girl. The tens of millions of men who will not be able to find a wife could also lead to social instability problems, the China Daily said in a front-page report.

The report, carried in the newspaper, said China’s sex ratio for newborn babies in 2005 was 118 boys to 100 girls, a huge jump from 110 to 100 in 2000. In some regions such as the southern provinces of Guangdong and Hainan, the ratio has ballooned to 130 boys to 100 girls, the newspaper said. The average for industrialized countries is between 104 and 107 boys for every 100 girls.

The report predicted that by 2020 the imbalance would mean men of marriageable age — especially those with low income or little education — would find it difficult to find wives, resulting in possible social problems.

As CBS’s 60 Minutes reported on earlier, the potential problem with China’s gender imbalance is that research consistently proves that marriage has a stabilizing effect on men’s lives. Therefore, if there are too many women and not enough women, more men will end up unable to marry and as a result, are more likely to engage in risky and perhaps illegal activities:

“When there are more men than women, social instability and crime increases in society,” Hudson explained. “Psychologists have talked about what they call the pacifying effect of marriage. Young men who have been pretty extreme criminals — upon marriage — and when the children begin to come, their criminal careers more or less end.” Asked if she is predicting a crime wave, [BYU Political Science Professor Valerie] Hudson said, “Yes. It’s already happening.”

The article notes that there is an increasing incidence of girls and young women being kidnapped and sold to rural men as wives. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what crimes are possible as China’s gender imbalance gets worse. In this context, China had better do something fast to try to address this growing problem.

That is, perhaps China needs to channel or redirect some of its authoritarian control over other domestic matters such as censorship and human rights to both crack down on such kidnapping and illegal sonograms leading to abortions and to elevate the status of women so that they are on equal legal footing with men and therefore, there is no longer any incentive to have a boy rather than a girl.

China’s government has proven time and time again that they have the muscle to impose whatever they want, so here’s a situation where they can actually put that power to good use before it gets out of hand.

January 21, 2007

Written by C.N.

First Japanese Professional Hockey Player

First, there was baseball, then football, then basketball. Now the Japanese have hit all four major professional sports — as CNN/Sports Illustrated reports, Yutaka Fukufuji just became the first Japanese hockey player to play in the National Hockey League:

Fukufuji entered to start the third in relief of Barry Brust. He faced five shots, but allowed Wideman’s goal 7:32 into the period. Brust allowed five goals in the first two periods. The 24-year-old Fukufuji was recalled Friday on an emergency basis after Mathieu Garon was placed on injured reserve with an injured finger.

Fukufuji became the first Japanese player to dress for an NHL game Dec. 16 against Dallas in another emergency stint. “I was so nervous,” he said. “But I was very excited, too.”

Upon further research at and, I found out that Fukufuji (who plays for Los Angeles Kings) is not even the first Asian player in the NHL. I already knew that the NHL had at least one Asian American player — Paul Kariya. But lists several Asian and Asian American players who have played or are still playing professional hockey.

Wow, even I can learn something new every day . . .

January 20, 2007

Written by C.N.

Anti-Immigration in Yellowface

Asian Americans and other non-Hispanic minorities tend to be inconspicuous in the immigration debate, but that may not be sitting well with some whites who vociferously campaign for stringent immigration control. Some of these individuals who take a hard stance on immigration are not waiting for non-Hispanic minorities to weigh-in; they are taking the preemptive step of engineering ethnic anti-immigration groups. This unsettling trend is captured in a story about a political group named Vietnamese for Fair Immigration (VFI), featured on the Oakland Tribune, December 5, 2006.

The VFI drew the newspaper’s attention with a billboard it posted in Berkley stating “No Racist Amnesty.” This group gives the impression that non-Hispanic minorities are just as adamant about illegal immigration, as mainstream (predominantly white) groups. However, an investigation by reporter Michele R. Marcucci revealed that this ostensible Vietnamese group is actually the handiwork of a white man from Lompoc, CA; a man named Tim Brummer (a.k.a. Tim Binh), who fancies himself as “half-Vietnamese.”

According to the article, Brummer maintains that the frustration felt by many Vietnamese in trying to bring their relatives legally into the United States, is what drove them into creating the VFI. The main argument is that illegal immigration and amnesty are delaying the process of legal immigration for Vietnamese and other non-Latino applicants. The VFI also alleges that the system is biased in favor of Hispanic immigrants, since they are here in greater numbers. Despite these claims, the group’s credibility is called into question as the article exposes inconsistencies and non sequiturs.

Pro-immigrant advocacy organizations say Vietnamese for Fair Immigration may be one of an increasing number of groups that appear to be nonwhites gathering to ask for greater immigration controls, but are actually groups started with help from whites or from major, mostly white anti-immigrant groups that are seeking greater legitimacy for their views.

“Because the (immigration control) movement is overwhelmingly white, there’s a great desire to throw off the accusation of racism,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. ,…“And the easier way to do that is to have groups that are not white. I think that is what is going on in many, many cases.”

Web searches listed LeQuan Hoang, a refugee from Vietnam and Brummer’s wife, as the group’s director, and Brummer as member of its board of directors.
Brummer and Hoang have aired their views in letters to a handful of newspapers and on several Web sites whose creators advocate stricter immigration controls, including VDare, which recently ran an article on “the black-white IQ gap.”

When asked why she posted to the VDare Web site, she said she wasn’t familiar with the site’s content. “If you disagree with somebody’s point of view, they say you’re racist,” Hoang said.

While there are some legitimate grievances articulated by the VFI, the cloud of racism will not easily dissipate, given their choice of associates. Coalitions between Asian Americans and socially conservative whites, raises questions about ulterior motives; especially when the latter has a history of hostility towards policies of minority enfranchisement. If the ultimate goal of the VFI is to facilitate and expedite Vietnamese immigration to the United States, why would they involve themselves with VDare, a neo-conservative blog reputed for its anti-immigration stance and selection criteria favoring Europeans?

If the few minority-based immigration control groups are so indebted to conservative whites, one can logically infer that opposition to amnesty among Asian Americans is tenuous at best. Even Brummer’s wife admitted that illegal immigration probably does not “affect [sic] the legal process for Vietnamese and others to come here [to the United States].” Furthermore, her lack of knowledge about VDare underscores naiveté or denial on the part of minorities who make common cause with conservative whites.

The trouble with such cynical alliances is that they often fail to benefit Asian Americans in a substantive way. This is comparable to Asians who joined conservative whites in opposing Affirmative Action in schools. The number of Asians attending prestigious schools did not increase significantly, only the number of whites at the expense of blacks and Latinos. There are no assurances that Asians will be able to immigrate in greater numbers if groups like the VFI succeed. The only foreseeable result from a crack down on immigration is a broad suspension of any kind of immigration, especially for non-Europeans.

One can only speculate if the real Vietnamese supporters of the VFI ever contemplate about the transparency of their white political allies. Maybe they are aware of the different agendas, and still choose to set against other minorities in exchange for personal gain, be it admission into Berkley or bringing their relatives to the United States. Either way the portrait is unflattering: it suggests that some Asian Americans are politically illiterate and easily manipulated by whites; or it implies indifference to the plight of other minorities and unabashed complicity in ventriloquizing white supremacy.

January 18, 2007

Written by C.N.

Asian Immigrants Dominate Entrepreneurship

As I have written about before, Asian Americans tend to be overrepresented in entrepreneurship/small business ownership. New data shows the extent to which this is still the case today — one-quarter of all technology start ups in the last decade were started by immigrants, and that Indians were the most likely to do so:

A new study had found that more than a quarter of the engineering and technology companies launched in the U.S. from 1995-2005 had at least one foreign-born founder and Indians founded more immigrant-founded firms – 26 percent – than newcomers from China, Taiwan, the U.K. and Japan combined.

Immigrants were the founders or key executives of 52 percent of tech and engineering companies started in Silicon Valley in the decade, and nationwide immigrant-founded firms produced $52 billion in sales and employed 450,000 workers in 2005. . . . In California, New Jersey and Michigan, immigrants founded or led 39 percent, 37.6 percent and 32.8 percent, respectively, of the technology and engineering start-ups in the 10-year period. . .

“These non-immigrant citizens are typically foreign graduate students completing their Ph.D.’s, Green Card holders awaiting citizenship and employees of multinationals on temporary visas,” Wadhwa pointed out. . . . “If these people are really valuable and will help the U.S. compete globally – and I believe this is the case – we want them to be citizens and grow deep roots. These are the people we want in the U.S.; we don’t want them here temporarily.”

This study is very instructive in many ways. First it highlights the extent to which high tech entrepreneurship, which arguably forms the backbone for the future of U.S. economic competitiveness in the postindustrial economy, is dominated by Asians and in particular, by Indians. Sure, plenty of Asian Americans still open up the traditional ethnic restaurant, convenience store, or grocery store, but increasingly, many have turned their attention to he very top sectors of the American labor market — high tech firms.

Second, the article also notes that it is in the U.S.’s best interests to cultivate this entrepreneurship by integrate them into the mainstream fabric of American society. That is, rather than fret and lament the fact that more high tech startups are begun by non-White Americans, we should applaud the fact that so many immigrants want to create businesses here and encourage them to plant themselves more solidly into our society so that their businesses can continue to grow, employee American workers, and contribute to the future vitality of our economy and society.

The moral to this story is simple — American society is changing and Asian immigrants are at the forefront of those changes. Rather than resist them, Americans should embrace them because they ultimately strengthen American society and our economy.

January 16, 2007

Written by C.N.

Michelle Wie Being Overshadowed by Tadd Fujikawa

For the past couple of years, much of the golf world’s attention has been focused on Michelle Wie and her attempts to compete in PGA men’s golf tournaments. Despite her immense talent and the equally immense hype surrounding it, she has yet to make the cut in any of the men’s tournaments. This weekend however, she is being overshadowed by another young Asian American golf prodigy, Tadd Fujikawa (who earlier became the youngest person to qualify for the U.S. Open):

Tadd Fujikawa at the Sony Open

Four days after he celebrated his 16th birthday, Fujikawa shot a 4-under 66 to become the youngest player in 50 years to make the cut on the PGA Tour. . . . The cheer for Fujikawa’s eagle putt could be heard all the way to the clubhouse, where the 17-year-old Wie was wrapping up her press conference after a 76 to miss the cut for fourth straight time in the Sony Open, this time by 14 shots. . . .

He was assured of making the cut when he found the fairway on the 551-yard closing hole, and when he hit 6-iron from 207 yards to 15 feet, just left of the hole. Boo Weekley and Steve Wheatcroft were playing with him, and they graciously waited behind so Fujikawa could walk alone to the 18th green and soak in the applause. That gesture normally is reserved for champions, and the kid sure felt like one Friday.

Tadd eventually finished tied for 20th in the tournament, which is excellent for a 16 year old amateur. Both Michelle and Tadd have bright futures and successful careers ahead of them. But at this point, it looks like one is still struggling to live up to her hype while another is poised to take the golf world by storm, just like another (part) Asian American golfer did about ten years ago. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a teenager, but so far, Tadd seems to be handling it — and performing up to it — just fine.

January 14, 2007

Written by C.N.

Foreign Adoptions Declining

As many people know, foreign adoption has been a hot topic among Asian Americans for several decades now, especially as foreign adoptions have almost tripled in the past 15 years or so. However, as the Associated Press/Orange County Register report, there was a substantial decline in foreign adoptions in 2006, which could have significant consequences going forward:

Overall, according to new State Department figures, international adoptions by Americans dropped to 20,679 in the 2006 fiscal year from 22,728 in 2005 – the first significant decline since 1992. Adoptions from China, the No. 1 source of children since 2000, fell 18 percent, from 7,906 to 6,493, while adoptions from Russia, the No. 2 source for the previous six years, dropped about 20 percent to a 10-year low of 3,706.

Both are among many nations trying to reform their child welfare systems and increase domestic adoptions. In some cases, reform campaigns are coupled with skepticism toward foreign adoption, including concern about occasional cases of abuse. Romania has banned adoptions by foreigners, except for relatives; Ukraine and Kazakhstan insist that foreign parents submit regular reports on their adopted children. . . .

The number of orphans and abandoned babies in China remains substantial, though authorities say it is dwindling. About 51,000 were adopted in 2005, according to the government – 13,000 by foreign families, the rest in China. Professor Li Luxin, deputy secretary general of the China Association for Juvenile Studies, said domestic adoptions will surely increase. “More families are well-off,” he said. “They own apartments and cars and it is a way for them to repay society by adopting an orphan.”

I’ve written before that China has instituted restrictions that have made it all but impossible for gays/lesbians to adopt. Obviously not every adoptive parent who adopts from China is gay/lesbian, but apparently the results of such restrictions are now being felt. What’s also notable however, is that this trend is not just with China, but apparently exists among several other countries as well.

Coupled with an inevitable push for more domestic/internal adoptions in China, this trend seems to signal China’s push toward becoming increasingly self-sustaining and “modernized.” In other words, using an economics analogy, China may be trying to change its image as an “export” country into a more balanced one. If that’s the case, she should expect to see foreign adoptions from China continue to decline from this point forward.

January 11, 2007

Written by C.N.

Hmong Hunter Shot in Wisconsin

You might remember that in late 2004, Hmong American Chai Vang shot six White Americans to death in Wisconsin, claiming that they shouted racial epithets at him and fired shots in his direction. He was subsequently convicted of six counts of murder. Now comes word that another Hmong American was found dead from an apparent gunshot wound, also in Wisconsin:

Dealings between the Hmong, an ethnic minority group from Southeast Asia, and predominantly white residents of the mostly rural north woods have been on edge since November 2004, when Hmong immigrant Chai Soua Vang, 38, of St. Paul, Minn., killed six white hunters and injured two while trespassing in a private tree stand. . . .

Vang is a very common name among the Hmong, an increasing number of whom have moved into the Midwest. Even before those shootings, Hmong hunters claimed they had been harassed, and whites complained that the Hmong do not respect private property.

People at Green Bay Hmong Alliance Church were told of the killing Sunday morning, though many had heard about it the night before and their first thought was of the 2004 shootings, said Nao Vang, 60. “Some worry this could be retaliation. People are very concerned about that,” he said. Yia Thao, president of the United Hmong Community Center, said he heard the same thing but urged caution.

However we judge Chai Vang’s crime in 2004, it is very sad to see that apparently, the cycle of intolerance and hostility between Hmong and Whites in Wisconsin continues. Similar to what many felt back in 2004, we can only hope that this latest incident is the work of a single deranged person and does not represent the sentiments of most Hmong or Whites in the area.

The cycle of violence has to stop somewhere.