ABSTRACT

The 1990s was a period in which political leaderships in several Asian states and in the United States (US) were accused of corrupt practices. But while the charges in Japan, Korea and Indonesia were about internal corruption, in the US charges of foreign influence on domestic affairs, including the election of a President, were central to a campaign-financing scandal. Johnny Chung, a naturalised US citizen born in Taiwan, was accused of illegally funnelling almost $300,000 to the US Democratic Party in order to finance the re-election of President Clinton in 1996 (Gerth and Sanger 1998). Almost $100,000 of that money was alleged to have come from a high-ranking military official and member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China (Gerth 1998:1). The allegations appearing in headlines of the New York Times that a ‘Democratic Party Fund-Raiser’ had a ‘China Tie’ represented the most recent chapter in a generations-old story about the transnational political activities of immigrants from many regions of the world and the targeting of Asian immigrants because of such activities. As such, the uproar about ‘the China connection’ was also a story about the construction of both US and Asian national identities in past periods of capitalist expansion and in the present era of globalisation.