Hacked data posted on the whistleblower site Distributed Denial of Secrets shows that people with Asian surnames donated 80 percent of the funds raised for members of the Proud Boys who were injured during violent Washington, D.C., clashes in December.
In total, gifts from members of the Chinese diaspora, which began pouring in through the GiveSendGo fundraising website on Dec. 17, amounted to about $86,000 of the $106,107 in donations raised to cover the medical costs of members of the extremist street gang with deep ties to white supremacists, USA Today reported.
On Dec. 13, after protesters took over the streets of Washington as they refused to except the results of the presidential election, four people were stabbed near Harry’s Bar, a popular hangout among members of the Proud Boys, as the group clashed with antifa counter-protesters.
On Dec. 17, a donor named Li Zhang gave $100 to the fundraiser moments before Hao Xu gave $20. which was followed by Ying Pei’s $25 donation.
Messages left by those who donated provide insight about why members of the Chinese diaspora would offer financial support to the all-male organization formed in 2016 and classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
“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,” said Rebecca Kwan, who sent the Proud Boys $500 on Christmas Day. “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?”
Some immigrants who left China and did so in rejection of communism view the Proud Boys as soldiers battling on the front lines to protect democracy from antifa and left-wing groups.
“The Proud Boys are protecting the innocent people,” said Donald Wang, of Queens, New York. “A lot of people in my community support them.” Wang donated $50.
“Thank you for your courage to fight for our freedom!!” Ao Liu wrote after donating $30.
The Proud Boys have been known to exploit social unrest by posing as antifa members at demonstrations, and have provided security at pro-America rallies.
At a September debate before he left office, former President Donald Trump told members of the group to “stand back and stand by.”
Megan Squire, a university professor who tracks online extremists, said of the Proud Boys after Trump’s quip, “They were pro-Trump before this shoutout, and they are absolutely over the moon now. Their fantasy is to fight antifa in his defense, and he apparently just asked them to do just that.”
At least 21 Proud Boys members have been charged with federal crimes for their roles in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack that took place just weeks after gifts from Chinese donors began rolling in.
“Thank you, proud boys. You are my heroes,” wrote Nancy Chang, who sent $300 the day before the riot.
Joohn Choe, co-founder of the Intuitive Threat Assessment, dismissed the idea that the donations were a front to allow the Chinese Communist Party to financially support the Proud Boys and capitalize on division in the United States.
“They’re real people – real estate agents, scientists. Just Chinese American boomers,” Choe said.
In response to learning that such a large portion of donations came from members of the Chinese community, Proud Boys chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, who identifies as Afro-Cuban, told USA Today via text, “I am happy that Asians support the ProudBoys because of the continuous hate and the relentless assault they get from BLM supporters,” adding, “So to the Asian community I’d like to say Thank You.”