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Atlanta shooting hearing: Grace Meng gives tearful testimony as Chip Roy ‘glorifies lynching’

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Oliver O'Connell
Thursday 18 March 2021 20:13
Rep Grace Meng blasts Chip Roy at hearing on Asian American hate crimes

The House Judiciary Committee heard from Asian American leaders and activists about the rise in discrimination and violence against their communities since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Advocates have blamed former president Donald Trump for stoking discrimination against Asian Americans with his inflammatory rhetoric while in office.

The hearing comes just days after the shooting spree that claimed the lives of eight people at three spas in the Atlanta area — six of them Asian women.

In shocking moments early on in the proceedings, Representative Chip Roy defended his use of the term “Chicom”, railed against the Chinese Communist Party, and appeared to glorify lynching.

His comments were noted by several with Representatives Grace Meng and Ted Lieu calling him out during their remarks. Ms Meng gave particularly emotional testimony rebuking the GOP for putting a “bullseye” on Asian Americans’ backs with their rhetoric.

Lawmakers joined experts on hate crimes in giving testimony. The actor Daniel Dae Kim, known for roles on Lost and Hawai Five-O, also appeared. Mr Kim has been outspoken about the problem of violence against Asian Americans.


Good morning and thank you for joining us as the House Judiciary Committee prepares to hold a hearing on discrimination and violence against Asian Americans.

The hearing begins at 10am ET and will consider ways to prevent racially motivated attacks as it examines both the historic and more recent forms of discrimination felt by Asian Americans.

It comes just days after a shooting spree in Atlanta, Georgia killed eight people at three spas, including six Asian women.

Oliver O'Connell18 March 2021 13:51

Background on the Atlanta shootings

Andrew Buncombe provided our initial coverage of the incidents in Atlanta on Tuesday evening.

Man arrested after eight killed in shootings across Atlanta massage parlours

Eight people killed in total, according to authorities

Oliver O'Connell18 March 2021 13:56

The suspect: Robert Aaron Long

Here’s what we know so far about Robert Aaron Long who was arrested by police in Georgia later on Tuesday.

Atlanta spa shootings: What we know about suspect Robert Aaron Long

While motive for the Atlanta shootings is yet to be confirmed, at least six victims were Asian women at a time when hate crimes against Asian-Americans are on the rise

Oliver O'Connell18 March 2021 13:59

'Words have power’

Donald Trump has been accused of “inflaming” anti-Asian sentiment with comments he made amid the coronavirus pandemic in the wake of shootings at a number of massage parlors in Atlanta.

A 21-year-old man was arrested in connection with the shootings in the state on Tuesday after eight people, many of them women of Asian descent, were killed across three spas in Georgia.

No motive for the killings has yet been established and it is not yet clear whether there was racial motivation, but fears have emerged that the killer may have deliberately targeted people of Asian descent.

Louise Hall reports.

Trump accused of ‘fanning’ anti-Asian sentiment in wake of Atlanta shooting

Former president has often referred to coronavirus as ‘China virus’ or ‘kung flu’

Oliver O'Connell18 March 2021 14:03

Hearing now beginning

The House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties is holding today’s hearing on discrimination and violence against Asian Americans.

The committee consists of:

Democrats (Majority)

Steve Cohen, Tennessee, Chair Jamie Raskin, Maryland Deborah K. Ross, North Carolina Hank Johnson, Georgia Sylvia Garcia, Texas Cori Bush, Missouri Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas

Republicans (Minority)

Mike Johnson, Louisiana, Ranking Member Tom McClintock, California Chip Roy, Texas Michelle Fischbach, Minnesota Burgess Owens, Utah

Ex Officio

Jerrold Nadler, New York - Democrat Jim Jordan, Ohio - Republican

A moment of silence was held after chairman Cohen gavelled the hearing into session.

Oliver O'Connell18 March 2021 14:11

Chairman Cohen listed a number of horrific attacks on Asian Americans as he made his opening remarks and reminded those present that anti-Asian sentiments did not begin with the pandemic, but were exacerbated by it.

He then reminds the committee of the history of official government policies against Asian populations such as Chinese workers in the west of the country and the internment of Japanese Americans.

Oliver O'Connell18 March 2021 14:15

Calls for Atlanta police captain to resign

A sheriff’s deputy is under fire for saying the main accused in the Atlanta spa shooting, in which eight people died, was having “a bad day,” even as one of his own old social media posts that hinted at racism resurfaced.

Stuti Mishra reports.

Calls for Atlanta police captain to resign as ‘China virus’ posts emerge after massage parlor killings

Calls for Captain Baker’s resignation grow as old racist social media post resurfaces

Oliver O'Connell18 March 2021 14:29

Chip Roy rails against Chinese Communist Party in opening remarks

In his remarks, Congressman Chip Roy of Texas acknowledges the tragedy in Atlanta and says the victims of race -based violence deserve justice, but then goes on to add that “victims of cartels moving illegal aliens deserve justice, American citizens in South Texas, victims of rioting and looting last year” do too.

He then spent much of his time railing against the Chinese Communist Party’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and defending his own use of the term “Chicoms” and worrying about attacks on free speech.

It’s probably not what advocates against violence were hoping to hear in the opening moments.

Oliver O'Connell18 March 2021 14:40

The hearing is currently in recess because, like the rest of us, even a year into the pandemic Congress still gets technical glitches during web camera-based meetings.

Oliver O'Connell18 March 2021 14:41

Some reaction to Mr Roy’s remarks

Oliver O'Connell18 March 2021 14:43

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