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Anti-lockdown activist Shelly Luther says Chinese students should be “banned” from Texas universities

Shelly Luther, a hairdresser who became a hero of the anti-lockdown movement in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, said in a since-deleted tweet on Wednesday that Chinese students should not be allowed admission into Texas colleges. Luther is currently a Republican candidate for Texas House. 

“Chinese students should be BANNED from attending all Texas universities,” she said in the Tweet. “No more Communists!” A follow-up tweet remains on Luther’s account in which she said that the state’s taxpayers “should not be subsidizing the next generation of CCP leaders,” mentioning the Chinese Communist Party. In another tweet, she added it is “common sense” that CCP members “should not have access to our schools.” 

Luther became known nationally in the early days of the pandemic when she refused to shut down her hair salon in Dallas in defiance of emergency orders. Despite being sentenced to a week in jail, she was released in just a few days after a motion was granted by the Texas Supreme Court.

State Rep. Gene Wu, a Democrat from Houston who is Chinese-American, responded to Luther on Friday and suggested that she publicly apologize.

“Luther’s statements are ignorant, hateful, and incite violence against not only Chinese Americans, but all Asian Americans,” Wu said. “To casually conflate all Chinese students in America with actual registered members of the ruling party in the People’s Republic of China is not only ignorance of an extreme nature, it is also the type of rhetoric that drives anti-Asian hate crimes.”

Luther declined to apologize and instead criticized Wu, who was one of the House Democrats who broke quorum last year and went to Washington, D.C. in protest of a GOP elections bill.

“It doesn’t surprise me that a socialist Democrat who doesn’t even know how to show up to work thinks the position that communist Chinese citizens should not access taxpayer funded state institutions is racist,” Luther said.

She is currently challenging state Rep. Reggie Smith, Republican of Sherman, in the upcoming March primary. The district favors Republicans, so either Smith or Luther will most likely occupy the seat after November. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: HOUSTON CHRONICLE

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