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At the Crossroads: COVID-19, Racism, and Disinformation

This event is part a series dedicated to Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, hosted at the The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Stay tuned for the May 25 event, "Beyond #StopAsianHate." Follow and learn more on Twitter with #AAPIatWilson.

Date & Time

May. 13, 2021
1:00pm – 2:00pm ET


For more than a year, we have been fighting three viruses: COVID-19, racism and disinformation. For Asian Americans, concerns about COVID-19 are accompanied by fears of violence, with the number of reported attacks on Asian Americans surging during the pandemic as much as by 145%, according to a recent study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. One cause of this increase is disinformation campaigns that specifically tie the spread of the pandemic to racist narratives, scapegoating Asian communities and Asian Americans as the agents for COVID-19.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars invites you to join us for a program that will shed light on this convergence, by examining the impact disinformation has had on Asian American communities, and its impact on our global standing. What has been the impact of disinformation on Asian Americans? How are certain groups targeted in disinformation? What has been the impact of these trends on diplomatic relations with Asian countries as well as US standing in the region?

This event is co-sponsored by the Wilson Center's Science and Technology Innovation Program, Asia Program, the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, and the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy. It is held in partnership with the Asian American Journalist Association.


  • Introduction: Ambassador Mark Green, President, Director, & CEO, The Wilson Center
  • Keynote address: Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA 33rd District) 
  • Panel:
    • Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Reporter, the Washington Post; President, Asian American Journalists Association
    • Prof. Jonathan Corpus Ong, Associate Professor, Global Digital Media, University of Massachusetts Amherst
    • Rui Zhong, Program Associate, Kissinger Institute on China, The Wilson Center
    • Moderator: Jean H. Lee, Director, Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy, The Wilson Center

Questions for the panel can be submitted via email at, via Twitter @AsiaProgram, or when you RSVP for the event.


Hosted By

Science and Technology Innovation Program

The Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) brings foresight to the frontier. Our experts explore emerging technologies through vital conversations, making science policy accessible to everyone.  Read more

Asia Program

The Asia Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more

Kissinger Institute on China and the United States

The mission of Kissinger Institute on China and the United States is to ensure that informed engagement remains the cornerstone of U.S.-China relations.  Read more

Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy

The Center for Korean History and Public Policy was established in 2015 with the generous support of the Hyundai Motor Company and the Korea Foundation to provide a coherent, long-term platform for improving historical understanding of Korea and informing the public policy debate on the Korean peninsula in the United States and beyond.  Read more