Texas Tech University Chinese Faculty Group Says Lubbock Power & Light CEO Gary Zheng is Subject of Discrimination
A group of Texas Tech University Chinese faculty have co-signed a letter to Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson complaining about alleged mistreatment and discrimination against Lubbock Power and Light CEO Gary Zheng (pictured, left).
In the letter written by Dr. Daan Liang, a professor in the Wind Science and Engineering program, Liang draws parallels to Zheng’s alleged mistreatment as a McCarthyism-style witch hunt.
You can read the full text of Liang’s letter below:
Open Letter to Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson
April 24, 2014
As members of the TTU Chinese Faculty and Staff Association and the Chinese and Chinese American communities in Lubbock, we have been deeply troubled by the series of events revolving around Dr. Gary Zheng, Lubbock Power & Light’s CEO and Director, since October 2013. Dr. Zheng was first insinuated by you as being involved in corrupt and criminal activities on October 17, 2013, and continued to be portrayed as being dishonest and deserving demotion on March 16, 2014, even though not a shred of evidence has been found against Dr. Zheng in the Ashcroft Law Group’s “The Investigative Report for Lubbock Power & Light” released on March 13, 2014. At this point, we want to know why you have continued to smear Dr. Zheng.
We were first stunned by the news report on your allegation that “people could lose jobs” and “they could go jail” on October 17, 2013. As we were waiting for the result of the legal investigation, we were bombarded by innuendos, speculations reported as facts, and misleading comments represented as official investigation. On March 16, 2014, you made another public statement: “They could have fired him in October and I think they should have.” It dawned on us that you first assumed Dr. Zheng to be guilty and then started fishing for evidence. As no evidence can be found, you just want to have Dr. Zheng fired on the basis of your own allegations.
Dr. Zheng’s ordeal reminds us of the McCarthyist style of witch-hunt against Dr. Wen Ho Lee, a former nuclear scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dr. Lee was first slanted by the New York Times and other media as a Chinese spy, then subjected to various interrogations by the Department of Energy, and finally jailed in solitary confinement for 278 days. On September 13, 2000, federal judge James Parker not only publicly apologized to Dr. Lee for the way this case began and was handled but also drew a lesson for the executive branch of the government: “They did not embarrass me alone. They have embarrassed our entire nation and each of us who is a citizen of it.” Even though Dr. Lee reached a settlement with the federal government and the five news organizations for $1.65 million in 2006, the damage done to him, to his family, and to all Chinese and Chinese American communities across the country can never be fully measured by the monetary compensation. We hope that Dr. Zheng’s experience will not become our local version of the Wen Ho Lee case.
Chinese came to North America in as early as the 1830s. Chinese workers not only helped build the transcontinental railroad in the United States in the late nineteenth century but also helped create the technological miracles in the Silicon Valley in the late twentieth century. Despite Chinese American contribution to the prosperity and diversity of the United States, they were socially, culturally, and institutionally discriminated against in history, particularly during the Chinese Exclusion Era from 1882 to1943.
Today, it is against the law to discriminate any individual on the basis of race, ethnicity, and national origin, but implicit racism against Chinese is still rampant in our culture and society. Dr. Zheng has now been victimized twice by racial prejudices while working at Lubbock Power & Light; he was first referred to as “a Chinaman” at City Council meetings back in 2003.
In 2012, Congress officially apologized to the Chinese and Chinese American communities in the United States for the damages done under the Chinese Exclusion Act. We demand that you publicly acknowledge the conclusion of the Ashcroft Law Group’s “The Investigative Report for Lubbock Power & Light,” which clears Dr. Zheng of any wrongdoing, and apologize to him, his family, and our Chinese and Chinese American community in Lubbock.
Daan Liang, President of TTU Chinese Faculty and Staff Association
(co-signers) Qing Cao, Qin Chen, Yong Chen, Xinzhong Chen, Zhen Cong, Zhaoyang Fan, Qing Feng, Weimin Gao, Jiawei Gong, Miao He, Juyang Huang, Qing Hui, Hongxing Jiang, William Lan, Changzhi Li, Guigen Li, Jing Li, Kunyu Li, Wei Li, Xu Li, Jingyu Lin, Zhangxi Lin, Hongchao Liu, Yunjuan Luo, Yanzhang Ma, Beixin Ni, Jenny Qiu, Beibei Ren, James Sheng, Jian Sheng, Huazhong Shi, Yuan Shu, Huaxin Song, Lianfa Song, Yiyuan Tang, Alex Wang, Dong Wang, Shiren Wang, Shu Wang, Zhixin Xie, Wenwei Xu, James Yang, Le Yang, Linda Yin, Jessica Yuan, Hong Zhang, Hong-Chao Zhang, Kai Zhang, Weiwu Zhang, Yan Zhang, Yuanlin Zhang, Weiping Zhao, Jianjun Zheng, Huijun Zhu, Xiaotong Zhu, Yu Zhuang, Delong Zuo