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The Wen Ho Lee Case
The denial of bail to Wen Ho Lee on the grounds that he is a flight risk is the latest in a series of jolts to the Asian Pacific American (APA) community.
Dr. Lee could have fled months ago when the authorities focused national media attention upon him. His arrest has particularly shaken up the APAs who work in sensitive research positions.
Even Richard Voorman, a ranking Los Alamos intelligence officer, admitted that the focus on Lee seemed based more on ethnicity than anything else. What Lee did appeared to be a routine occurrence although technically against the law.
Was Lee singled out for punishment? APA defense industry workers seemto think so. They have voiced their concerns to the media.The Chinese community has rallied behind the case by establishing a legal defense fund.
The Chinese and Asian Indian communities are particularly worried since they are well represented in sensitive research fields.
For APAs this incident is sort of a wake-up call. Minorities in the United States, specifically Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans have routinely received separate treatment by the legal system.
The higher rates of convictions and the harsher punishments meted out to people of color is already known fact to many of us.
However, to an extent, APAs, or at least large sections of the community haven't had to face this reality nearly as much as others.
Indeed, the treatment of people of color by the legal system is amongthe world's most significant human rights problems. The United Nations and Amnesty International, after much pressure, have recently admitted as much.
If the Wen Ho Lee case does nothing else it should awaken us to this reality and call us to action.
We need to make our voices heard. To spread the word and to rattle some eardrums. Most of all we must organize and combine our voices.
Last year saw a rise in hate crimes against APAs, but that is of minor consequence compared to racial bias shown by the government itself. Hatecrimes can be committed by any lunatic, but what does one do when the government and authorities mimic the actions of racial hatred and bigotry?
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