Feb 6, 2020
Dear Editors of the WSJ:
I have subscribed to the WSJ for over 25 years. As a business professor, I have been using WSJ articles in my classrooms to illustrate real-world issues to several thousands of students. However, a recent opinion article entitled “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia” (Feb. 4, 2020) by Walter Russell Mead, has made me question the quality and integrity of the journal. Wikipedia has a brief explanation of the phrase “sick man of Asia,” which originated in the late 19th centuries. This phrase was created as a racist label on Chinese people. In his comment on the above opinion piece, Mr. Pomfret says: “That might have been ‘normal’ in the 19th century, but not today” (see “The coronavirus reawakens old racist tropes against Chinese people”, The Washington Post, Feb. 5, 2020).
The freedom of speech should NOT be used as an excuse to hide racism. Would you, Editors of the WSJ, publish any opinions by including the N-word in their titles, regardless of their contents, to insult African Americans? I trust that you have the integrity to know and say “No!” But, why did you insult Chinese Americans in the journal? China may be currently undergoing a tremendous challenge to fight against the 2019-Novel Coronavirus. Such an unfortunate event, no matter where it happens, deserves compassion, sympathy and assistance. It is highly inappropriate for the WSJ to use such a racist phrase to catch eyeballs!
I demand an immediate apology from both Walter Russell Mead and the Editor of the WSJ. As my protest, I had called in the journal’s customer services last night to have cancelled my subscription. I will continue my efforts in helping the Journal to recognize its mistake and may reconsider the use of the journal in my classrooms only after a sincere apology is issued.
Martin G Wu