Growing numbers of Chinese Americans and other expats from Asia have embraced far-right groups like the Proud Boys because they fear Antifa and Black Lives Matter want to create a communist dictatorship in the US.
Chinese Americans and expats from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong donated around $86,000 as part of a crowdfunding effort to help Proud Boys pay for medical expenses after members of the group were stabbed in Washington, DC this past December, according to a USA Today report published Tuesday.
The newspaper spoke to several of those donors who said they supported the fundraiser because they believe the Proud Boys and others including former President Donald Trump and radio host Alex Jones stand between America and a communist takeover.
‘You have to understand how we feel – we came from communist China and we managed to come here and we appreciate it here so much,’ explained Rebecca Kwan, who donated $500 to the fundraiser.
‘The Proud Boys are for Trump and they are fighting Antifa, and can you see anything good that Antifa did except destroy department stores and small businesses?’
Members of the Proud Boys are seen above in Washington, DC on November 14. The group has drawn support from a small but vocal minority of Chinese-Americans and expats from China, according to hacked data
A group of vocal Chinese-Americans support Proud Boys and its leader, Enrique Tarrio, as well as conspiracy theories Alex Jones because they view them as protecting America from a possible takeover by Black Lives Matter and Antifa. Tarrio and Jones are seen left and second from left in Washington, DC on November 14
A fundraiser for the Proud Boys was held through a crowdfunding site called GiveSendGo, which bills itself as the ‘number one free Christian crowdfunding site.’ Chinese-Americans and Chinese expats donated 80 per cent of the money raised
A minority of Chinese expats have also voiced support for former President Donald Trump (seen above on January 12 in Alamo, Texas)
The fundraiser was set up through a site called GiveSendGo on December 17 – five days after several Proud Boys members were injured during clashes with Black Lives Matter counter-demonstrators in Washington, DC.
In total, the crowdfunding effort raised $106,107 – 80 percent of which came from Asian expats, according to hacked data from GiveSendGo that was posted on the whistleblower site Distributed Denial of Secrets.
‘You are the true heroes and patriots!’ Janice Wang wrote after donating $100.
‘Thank you for your courage to fight for our freedom!!’ Ao Liu wrote after donating $30.
‘Thank you, proud boys. You are my heroes,’ wrote Nancy Chang, who sent $300 to the group on January 5 – one day before members of the Proud Boys helped storm the US Capitol.
GiveSendGo bills itself as the ‘number one free Christian crowdfunding site.’
D.C.: A member of the Proud Boys is treated after being stabbed by an anti-Trump protester on December 12. Proud Boys raised more than $106,000 to help cover medical expenses
The donations from Chinese natives was a surprise given that Proud Boys and other far-right groups have been accused of white supremacy. Proud Boys denies the claim.
Founded in 2016, the Proud Boys began as a group protesting political correctness and perceived constraints on masculinity.
It grew into a group with distinctive colors of yellow and black that embraced street fighting.
In September their profile soared when then-President Trump called on them to ‘Stand back and stand by.’
Enrique Tarrio, based in Miami, became the national chairman of the group in 2018 after the organization’s founder, former Vice Media chairman Gavin McInnes, quit.
McGinnes departed in November 2018 after the FBI categorized the Proud Boys as ‘an extremist group with ties to white nationalism.’
A group of Chinese-Americans show their support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at a campaign event in Tampa, Florida on October 24, 2016. Some expats’ opposition to communism is at the root of their support for Trump and allied groups like the Proud Boys
In November and December of last year, Tarrio led the Proud Boys through the streets of DC after Trump’s election loss.
Video shows him on December 11 with a bullhorn in front of a large crowd.
‘To the parasites both in Congress, and in that stolen White House,’ he said.
WHO ARE THE PROUD BOYS?
Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes started the all-male Proud Boys in 2016. McInnes and the Proud Boys have described the group as a politically incorrect men’s club for ‘Western chauvinists’ and deny affiliations with far-right extremist groups that overtly espouse racist and anti-Semitic views.
The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center designated the Proud Boys as a hate group, saying that its members often spread ‘outright bigotry’ and ‘anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric’ over the internet, and have posted social media pictures of themselves with prominent Holocaust deniers, white nationalists and ‘known neo-Nazis.’
Current national leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, marched in the infamous Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in 2017.
Proud Boys have been involved in a series of high-profile violent clashes at political events.
In New York City in October 2018, police arrested several Proud Boys members who brawled with anti-fascist protesters following a speech by McInnes at a Manhattan Republican club.
Proud Boys members also have frequently clashed with counterprotesters at rallies in California and Oregon.
Most recently, the group took part in the siege on the Capitol on January 6, where some members were seen breaking into the building.
In February, they were designated a terrorist group by Canada.
‘You want a war, you got one!’ The crowd roared. The next day Tarrio burned the BLM banner.
In court filings, prosecutors have described the Proud Boys as among the instigators of the fatal MAGA riot on January 6, in which extremists sought to keep Trump in office despite his electoral defeat.
At least 18 Proud Boys have been arrested on charges ranging from conspiracy to assaulting police officers.
At least six others associated with or accompanying the group have been charged.
Nonetheless, the group generates support from those who say the bigger threat is Antifa and BLM.
‘The Proud Boys are protecting the innocent people,’ said Donald Wang of Queens, New York.
Wang told USA Today he gave the group a $50 donation.
‘A lot of people in my community support them.’
A small sliver of Chinese-Americans have also been vocal in their support for Trump.
While most Chinese-Americans, like other immigrant groups, supported the Democratic candidate in 2016, Hillary Clinton, a vocal minority among them expressed enthusiastic backing of Trump.
Ironically, Chinese expats who back Trump formed pro-Trump group chats on WeChat, a social media app that the former president wanted banned due to its alleged connection to the Communist Party-run Chinese government.
The Biden administration has reversed attempts by Trump to ban WeChat and TikTok due to alleged ties to Beijing.
Chinese-Americans supported Trump for many of the same reasons that other native-born Americans did as well.
‘US conservative culture is very similar to the culture of our fathers and grandparents,’ Mr. Tian, a 31-year-old engineer living in Missouri, told Financial Times.
‘People value family, promote hard work and oppose many modern ideas, such as homosexuality and sexual freedom.’