Coronavirus News Asia

Citizens at risk as anti-Asian racism surges in US


The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned of a surge in hate crimes against Asian-Americans. According to a statement obtained by ABC News, “The FBI assesses hate-crime incidents against Asian-Americans likely will surge across the United States, due to the spread of coronavirus disease … endangering Asian-American communities.

“The FBI makes this assessment based on the assumption that a portion of the US public will associate Covid-19 with China and Asian-American populations.” 

However, it is not just Asian-Americans who are targeted. Anyone who looks Asian is endangered, whether they are Americans or foreign visitors from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, or other countries in Asia, as well as nationals of European countries who happen to be of Asian heritage.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the virus of racism against ethnic Chinese and other Asians has been spreading across the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, France and elsewhere. 

In the United States, anti-Asian hate crimes have surged so much that during the March 27 phone call between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, the Chinese president emphasized his hope that the US would protect the health and lives of the many Chinese international students in the country. 

His worry was prompted by the recent racialization of the pandemic by President Trump and his administration as well as members of Congress calling the virus “Chinese.” The toxic rhetoric long promoted by China hawks in Washington, amplified by the virus crisis, subsequently helped cause a wave of anti-Asian violence.  

If the situation worsens as the FBI assesses, foreign governments may need to consider ways to protect their citizens and perhaps even evacuate them from the US. In a country that prides itself as the leader of the free world, how did it get here, where an entire race of people increasingly fear for their safety? 

Fanning the flames of racism

Unfortunately, racism has always been an endemic part of American history. It ebbs and flows throughout time, with punctuations during economic hardship and public health crisis. Whether with the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II, the murder of Vincent Chin in 1982 amid a recession that politicians blamed on Japan, targeting Muslim Americans after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and now Chinese-Americans and by extension all East Asians, because the average American cannot distinguish between Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, or any other East Asians.



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