Republican congressional candidate Yukong Zhao, a prominent national activist in the Chinese-American community, is calling Monday for other Chinese-Americans to publicly repudiate misinformation coming from China that blames America for the new coronavirus outbreak.
Zhao is running for the Republican nomination in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, seeking a shot at Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy. He rose to prominence nationally starting in 2015 while leading Chinese-American backlash against universities’ admissions programs, seen as discriminatory against Asian-Americans. The effort had drawn him national media attention and recognition as an activist leader in the community.
In a statement he released through his congressional campaign Monday, Zhao warned that the “foreign adversaries intentionally spread disinformation and conspiracies to attack America and to divide the Chinese-American community. Instead of apologizing for their early cover-up of this highly contagious disease, some Chinese officials weaponized public opinions to deflect the blame on the U.S.
“Notably, one Chinese Foreign Ministry official cherry-picked a clip from a U.S. Congress hearing to spread a debunked conspiracy that American military athletes caused the Coronavirus crisis in Wuhan, China,” he continued. “This is simply a propaganda campaign of misinformation.”
He continues, “Unfortunately, this reckless lie has harmed the U.S.-China relationship and created serious collateral damages on Chinese Americans on account of the name of the virus.”
As a result Zhao said he was calling on Chinese-Americans and legal residents of the United States from China to “forcefully reject this baseless lie. Any act of aiding and abetting in spreading this rumor will divide our Chinese-American community, harm America, and deteriorate the U.S.-China relationship. Too many Chinese-American small businesses depend upon the well-functioning of our community, this nation and the US-China bilateral ties.”
Zhao, of Orlando, legally immigrated to the United States from China in 1992, pursued a master of business administration degree from the University of South Carolina, and joined Westinghouse/Siemens Energy in Orlando.
He is in a highly-competitive Republican primary field, seeking what would be a long-shot bid against Murphy, a Winter Park congresswoman who has established herself as a moderate Democrat in the purple CD 7.
The district covers Seminole County and much of northern and central Orange County.
Other candidates in the field include Longwood health care executive Chelle DiAngelus , Orlando Dr. Leo Valentin, Lake Mary mortgage broker Richard Goble, and DeBary City Councilman Stephen Bacon.
Zhao also called on “all patriotic Chinese Americans and legal residents to make collaborative efforts to help America. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many Chinese-Americans have started to take actions by making generous donations to the CDC Foundation, or purchasing medical supplies from China to donate to American medical facilities. I highly commend their altruistic and patriotic acts and urge more Chinese Americans to follow suit.
“When America confronts this historic challenge, we must unite together to defend and help this great nation we all call home,” he concluded.