Yellow Peril and Black's Breath

The uprisings in the USA are the domestic harvest of imperial racism, using the virus in the struggle for world hegemony. The racist legacy is European. Commentary by Hans-Rüdiger Minow

Since the virus is spreading in Europe, people who appear Asian must be wary of those looking European. Asian descendence points to locations in an uncertain vicinity to the epidemic, yet not knowing the origin of the other, his physiognomy is suspicious. Asian looking people report that others avoid them, move away from them in buses and trains, evade them in parks or shout that they should disappear. Those particularly unfortunate are also spat at. Keeping a distance is not enough. A buffer zone of threatening void and insecurity is created around the Asian stranger. Donald Trump was one of the first to encourage cessation of contact. He gave the fear of the stranger a location; he called it "China" and the virus "Chinese." But now the genie has escaped the bottle to denigrate the Asian adversary. This genie is now active in the region of its origin, squeezing the breath out of former slaves - in New York and Chicago. It is imperial racism of the colonial hemisphere. He said "China" and reaped the wrath of his victims in Brooklyn.

Genetic Stigma

It was evident from the outset that the fear of the epidemic would be politically instrumentalized and exploited to stigmatize China. However, rather than avoid its use, the majority of the media, particularly in Germany, declared the political intention worthy of discussion, and avowed that the type - the genetic stigma - of the virus was Asian. "China, which sent us the virus," a German publication, considered to be serious, alleged (, 05.26.20).

Surplus Value

Fear can more easily look for images due to the ethnicity of the risk of illness - images stereotyping the location and type of the Chinese stranger (and everything else strange). The repository of images is drawn from history and from gaining dominance through distortions, presenting the dehumanized as abased. Like the image of "negroes" as monkeys, the image of Chinese coolies serving Europeans: often shackled or animal-like atrophied, devoted to their masters. It is the image used by racists to reap surplus value, accruing to their intrinsic weakness from arrogance - and to their profit from the slave market and labor. The distorted image of the Chinese stranger is a racial construct firmly entrenched in Prussian Germany just like the distorted image of the "negro."

Weapons and War

That this racism functioned as catalyst, when the atrophied coolie tore off his chains and German soldiers invaded China (to secure their being and surplus value), cannot be dismissed as an excess of the emperor's colonial desires. Even before they beheaded Chinese, the Elector of Brandenburg was profiting from the export of slaves and African "negroes." After the emperor had to abdicate, Weimar had also relied on racist surplus value, on weapons, and on war: as soon as it could make profits from arming Chinese against other Chinese. The colonial racists of the imperial era, transformed into democrats, traveled to China to again commercialize the old relationship: for German armored reconnaissance vehicles, machine guns and artillery (Rheinmetall, Krupp). The military pensioners of the World War carnage organized on-site the armed struggle, to crush the insurrection of the unleashed coolies (Seeckt, Falkenhausen, Wetzell, Kriebel). They were the same who had helped promote fascism during the Weimar Republic.

Eastward Expansion

With German fascism, the racial construct became totalized. Its application was expanded to become a fanatical driving force, for motivating the guards of this hegemonic project, and conceptualize the image, that depicted the stranger, the hidden face of the classless racial community - only inverted. Germandom must denigrate Jews and Slavs, Blacks and Yellows, to lend substance to the menacing doubts about its own significance, and then annihilate them. In Nazi phantasms of Judaized Slavs with Asiatic progeny, a new enemy character from the historical battles was being restaged: the Mongol hordes, which had advanced all the way to Prussia, the pagan Slavs, which the Teutonic Order of Knights missionized with the sword. In this new edition, fascist Germany's hegemonic symbol of eastward expansion, the Christian cross of the Teutonic Order of Knights maintained its original meaning. As "Iron Cross," it decorated the heroes of the Wehrmacht detachments, who were teaching the Slavish adversaries and their Asiatic progeny how to behave: the total annihilation. The subtext persists as the sovereign emblem of the Bundeswehr.


Nothing more clearly expresses the opacity of the racist heritage than the repository of images of German post-war campaigns against enemies in the "East" and "termites" in China. It is the re-edition of the racial construct, which 10 years prior had declared the Polish population slaves and disfigure the Asian features of Soviet soldiers to grotesque mugs. More than 3 million prisoners of the Red Army perished in the Wehrmacht's POW camps before being defaced as zombies on rearmament advertising posters (in West Germany): Russians are Coming. The Asian origins again predominated, while the depiction of American "negroes" in their function as occupation troops ranged between Uncle Tom's Cabin and Leni Reifenstahl ("Mein Afrika" - 1982) - either as benevolent slaves or as originally wild.


Colonial racism, depicting Chinese as "yellow" and "dangerous" had inspired (West) German press already quite early (Der Spiegel 1978: "The Yellow Peril") and must evoke fear, since it was politically refurbished (Der Spiegel: "The Yellow Spies"), to arrive at the current phase of rivalry and confrontation, recruiting the virus that "China" has sent us (Der Spiegel 2020: "Corona-Virus - Made in China"). The colonial phantasm is being further developed and globally deployed: (subtitle: When globalization becomes a mortal danger"). It heeds the needs stimulated by Donald Trump and justifies the life-and-death struggle, the "cultural resistance" against filth and infection, against blacks and yellows as well as adversaries, whom a guest diplomat of the German government recently referred to as "beasts" (Handelsblatt, 05.26.2020): the "beasts" around "Putin," the Slavs in the East - that is racism at its boisterous stage: imperialism.

Ready to Expand

The genie from the bottle that is supposed to vilify the Asian adversary, and squeeze the breath out of Blacks in Brooklyn, is the genie of imperialism. It is the genie, racists use to reap surplus value accruing to their intrinsic weakness from arrogance - and to their profit from the market and the labor of the South. As for the imperial genie in Europe, this has led to the deaths of thousands, who, often resemble George Floyd, the suffocated, and who die in the Mediterranean. The EU's protest is hypercritical. As for Germany: the genie sweeps over Sinophobia and anti-Slavism - the historical drive to the East, meaning Russia and China. It is fundamentally open and is ready to expand in any way.