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House Democrats hold the first congressional hearing on anti-Asian discrimination in three decades.

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Back then, Ms. Matsui said, “many leaders advanced the myth that the Japanese community was inherently the enemy. Americans across the country believed it, acceded to institutionalized racism, and acted on it.”

“Last year,” she continued, “as I heard, at the highest levels of government, people use racist slurs, like ‘China virus,’ to spread xenophobia and cast blame on innocent communities, it was all too familiar.”

The hearing briefly turned tense after Representative Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, made a lengthy condemnation of the Chinese government’s handling of the coronavirus and asserted that objections to what he categorized as nothing more than hawkish rhetoric about China amounted to “policing” of free speech.

“There’s old sayings in Texas about, you know, ‘find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree.’ You know, we take justice very seriously, and we ought to do that — round up all the bad guys,” Mr. Roy said, in comments that drew outrage on Twitter. “My concern about this hearing is it seems to want to venture into the policing of rhetoric.”

Representative Grace Meng, Democrat of New York, took exception to the remark.

“Your president, and your party, and your colleagues, can talk about issues with any other country that you want, but you don’t have to do it by putting a bull’s-eye on the back of Asian-Americans across this country, on our grandparents, on our kids,” she said, growing visibly emotional.

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