Published:  01:44 AM, 07 April 2021

The times to turn back Asian hate crimes

The times to turn back Asian hate crimes

Anti-Asian hate crimes have been rising in the US since 2015. That seems to reflect a broader increase in bigotry, abuse, and violence, as in the UK following the Brexit vote. But there is no doubt that there has been a global surge, often carried out with direct reference to Covid, since the pandemic began and Donald Trump and others began talking of the China virus. A spate of assaults in the US, in particular on older people, has stirred outrage. Anti-Chinese hate crime rose by a fifth in the UK in the early stages of the outbreak, while nearly one in five Chinese Australians say they have been physically threatened or attacked since it began.

For many Asian Americans, it was further evidence that crimes against their community are not being taken seriously, even as they surge. Police said that the suspect gave no indicators that his actions were racially motivated, talking of sex addiction and saying he was trying "to take out that temptation". It is hard to think of language as more dehumanizing.

These shootings targeted Asian-owned spa and massage facilities 30 miles apart and claimed the lives primarily of Asian women. They took place in a country which has a history of treating Asian migrants, or those of Asian descent, as undesirable or sinister, and of portraying east and south-east Asian women as hypersexualized. 

The first federal anti-immigration law in the US targeted Chinese women, on a pretext of tackling prostitution, but in reality to prevent Chinese families from settling. Recently victims were regarded as sex workers, whether or not that was the case. Bee Nguyen, a Georgia state representative, said that the shooting appeared to be at the "intersection of gender-based violence, misogyny, and xenophobia.

The outpouring of grief and anger over the news that six Asian women were among those killed in the shootings at three Atlanta area massage parlors has drawn attention to the rise of anti-Asian violence in the US. And it's not just an American problem. From the UK to Australia, reports of anti-East and anti-Southeast Asian hate crimes have increased in Western countries as the pandemic took hold this past year. At least 11 people of East and Southeast Asian descent CNN spoke to described racist and xenophobic incidents, such as people moving away from them on the train, verbal abuse and even physical assault.

The past year has seen some Western politicians repeatedly stress China's connection to the Covid-19 outbreak, as well as raise the rhetoric against the Asian superpower. Within this environment, advocates say people of East Asian and Southeast Asian heritage have increasingly become a target for racism. Asian American lawmakers implore Republicans to tone down the rhetoric in wake of attacks.

But many European countries, including France, Germany and Belgium, do not collect demographic data on ethnicity for historical reasons, making it difficult to take an accurate measure of the scale of the problem. Hate crime statistics are recorded in the UK. Figures from the London Metropolitan Police show more than 200 incidents of hate crime against people of East Asian appearance happened between June and September 2020 a 96% increase compared to the same period a year ago.

A university professor was attacked while out on a jog in late February in Southampton, southern England. What they did was not civil, it should not happen in today's society. They just treated me like an animal," he said. Police have since arrested two men on suspicion of racially aggravated assault, according to two statements sent to CNN.

As the pandemic made its way across Europe, activists in Spain and France began to notice a problem. Campaigns, such as were created to raise awareness of the uptick in violence against Asians. In March 2020, an American man of Chinese descent, Thomas Siu, said he was violently assaulted in Spain's capital, Madrid after two men yelled racial slurs about the coronavirus at him. Siu, who was a student at the time, said that between January and March last year he was verbally assaulted 10 times.

This time, he was not going to take it anymore, and instead yelled back at his verbal abusers.
But the men did not stop. For many it is not an important issue because many journalists do not live or know members of the community, she said. They don't have an anti-racist perspective and they don't know about communities beyond their own.

Spanish comic book author Quan Zhou Wu, who lives in Madrid, agrees. The attack in Atlanta hasn't been on the front pages of media in Spain, it is super, super minor news, we are invisible, A 2019 report by the Spanish government shows that 2.9% of Asian nationals living in the country were victims of hate crimes. But while such offenses against Spanish nationals are recorded, the figures are not broken down by ethnicity.

The government has yet to release 2020 figures. In France, campaigners say the pandemic has made racism even worse for its Asian community. Since last year the racism has become more overt. It's people saying they don't like Asians, or they don't like China, said Sun-Lay Tan, a spokesperson for Security for All, an organization that represents more than 40 Asian associations in France. Make it better for future generations.

The campaign group estimates that in 2019, there was one hate crime incident against an Asian every two days in the Paris area alone. While they do not have data for 2020, Tan spoke of a number of anecdotes, including an account of someone having their shoulder dislocated the night after French President Emmanuel Macron announced a new lockdown in October.

Our parents dealt with racism but they accepted it because they wanted to integrate into the country, we are the second generation of immigrants in France, our responsibility is to speak out and make France "better for the next generation, This is not only a European problem. A March report by Australian think tank, the Lowy Institute, found that more than one-third of Chinese-Australians feel they have been treated differently or less favorably due to their heritage in the past year. And 18% say they have been physically threatened or attacked due to their Chinese heritage.

The study also noted a rise in hate speech against other minority groups, including African Americans, who saw a sharp rise in race-based harassment a different category than the record increase for Asians from 42% last year to 59% this year. That jump came as protests over the killing of Black Americans, sparked by the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others in 2020, put America's anti-Black racism at the forefront once again.

For the third consecutive year, LGBTQ+ respondents reported higher rates of overall harassment than all other demographics, with 64% saying they had been harassed online due to their identities.Minorities are undoubtedly disproportionately affected by online hate. The study also found that almost half of all Americans (41%) have experienced harassment on the internet. 

The ADL says the survey showed that despite the seeming blitz of self-regulation from technology companies including Facebook moving to ban Holocaust denial, militia organizing and high profile purveyors of hate speech including Donald Trump the level of reported online hate and harassment has barely been shifted compared with reports from a year ago. It has become increasingly clear that on their own, technology companies are not effectively preventing hate and extremism from proliferating online," Greenblatt said.

American adults who were harassed indicated they experienced the most harassment on Facebook (75%), followed by Twitter (24%), Instagram (24%) and YouTube (21%). Rashad Robinson, president of the online human rights advocacy group Color Of Change. The results of the study were unsurprising, as it has been proven repeatedly that online hate disproportionately affects communities of color and that a large majority of this activity is taking place on Facebook.

More than 100 prominent writers, including several top Asian American authors, have called for an end to a surge in anti-Asian hostility in the US which they say has been egged on, during the pandemic by the Trump administration's pandering to racist tropes. The joint statement, coordinated by Pen America and the Asian American Writers' Workshop (AAWW), comes at a time when hate crimes, violence and other attacks against Asians and Asian Americans are on the rise in the US. 

There have been numerous reports since early in the pandemic of Asian Americans being blamed for bringing the virus, into the country and being told: "go back to China".The attacks have erupted in college campuses, city subways and online. The FBI has warned local law enforcement across the country that Asian American communities are at risk due to rising hostility during the coronavirus crisis.

The disease is ripping through': why coronavirus is devastating California's Pacific Islanders. Among the more serious attacks that have been chronicled was a stabbing of a Burmese man and his two young children in Midland, Texas, in March. The teenaged assailant told police he had targeted the family because he thought they were Chinese and were spreading coronavirus. The authors of the joint statement said that "the time to turn back this wave of hate is now.

The writer is a columnist.
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