|People hold slogan at Atlanta, the US after a shootings that killed 8 people, including 6 women of Asian origin on March 16. (photo: AP)
People of Asian or African origin are targets of racism in many countries. History has recorded many massacres and attacks against Asian people. Since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, evidence that the pandemic began in Asia has increased racism against people of Asian origin.
Discrimination not only in the US
Violence against Asian-American people increased 150% in 16 cities across the US in 2020, particularly in Los Angeles and New York, which have large numbers of people of Asian origin. A report said that from March, 2020, to February, 2021, there were 3,800 attacks against Asian-American people in 48 US’s States.
Reports of hate crimes against East Asian and Southeast Asian people have increased in other countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Racial discrimination and xenophobia range from isolation to verbal insults and physical attacks.
London police statistics indicate there were 200 hate crimes against people of Asian origin in the third quarter of last year, 96% higher than the previous year. Many people of Asian origin said they were attacked and reviled as a “Chinese virus.” A public poll conducted last November showed that three-fourths of Chinese-Britons have suffered racial discrimination.
According to a report by the Spanish government, 2.9% of Asians in Spain have been victims of hate crimes. Anti-discrimination activists in France say the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened discrimination against Asian-origin people. Statistics recorded an average of 2 hate attacks per day against people of Asian origin in Paris in 2019.
A report by Australia’s Lowy Institute said one third of Chinese-Australians felt that they were treated differently or less favorable than in previous years. 18% of respondents said they were threatened or attacked because of their Chinese origin.
|Police block areas around the shootings in Atlanta, Georgia on March 16. (photo: AFP)
Efforts to stop discrimination
Shootings in Atlanta in early March killed 8 people, including 6 women of Asian origin. President Joe Biden said Americans can't be silent in the face of rising violence against Asian-Americans, These attacks are wrong, un-American, and must stop, Biden said.
He called on Congress to send him the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to sign, which would improve government reporting of such crimes and make information more accessible to Asian-Americans. In localities with many Asian-Americans, police have increased patrols to deter and prevent hate crimes.
Many organizations and movements have been established to protect people of Asian origin, appeal for unity, denounce crimes, and prevent racial discrimination. In Spain and France, activists have launched the campaign “I Am Not A Virus”. In Canada, demonstrators gathered outside the Museum for Human Rights in Manitoba province, raising high signs that said “Stop Asian Hate” and “Stop Hate and Begin Love.”
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for global solidarity against racism and violations of human rights.