List of incidents of xenophobia and racism related to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic

Map of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic:
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The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic, which started in the city of Wuhan, Hubei, China, in December 2019, has led to increased prejudice, xenophobia, discrimination, violence and racism against Chinese people and people of East Asian and Southeast Asian descent and appearance around the world, as well as discriminatory acts by Hong Kong Chinese against mainland Chinese, and by mainland Chinese against their compatriots from Hubei province, more specifically, from the city of Wuhan.

As the pandemic spreads and hotspots, such as those in Europe and the United States, form around the globe, discrimination against people from these hotspots has been reported.

Anti-xenophobia poster at a subway station in New York City amid the coronavirus pandemic

Africa

Cameroon

The US embassy in Yaoundé issued a travel warning to US citizens amid reports of "...verbal and online harassment, stone throwing, and banging on vehicles occupied by expatriates."[1]

Egypt

According to the Embassy of Japan in Cairo, store clerks have been hesitating to serve Japanese customers, and "corona" has also become a new slur with which to abuse Japanese people on the street.[2]

On 10 March 2020, an Uber driver was arrested after a viral video showing the driver forcibly removing his Chinese passenger at a highway in Cairo's Maadi district on suspicion of having the virus. In the video, a voice is heard in the video jokingly shouting "The first coronavirus case in Egypt!" and the same voice then tells the driver "May God support you, Hajji! Throw him out!." The incident has sparked outrage among Egyptians after the video was uploaded. Some Egyptians visited the Chinese man in his hotel and expressed apology to him for the incident, widely condemned in the local media as an act of bullying and racism.[3][4]

Asia

China

Although there has been support from Chinese online towards those in virus-stricken areas,[5] instances of regional discrimination have also arisen. According to World Journal, there have been instances of Wuhan natives in other provinces being turned away from hotels, having their ID numbers, home addresses and telephone numbers deliberately leaked online or dealing with harassing phone calls from strangers. Some places also reportedly had signs saying "people from Wuhan and cars from Hubei are not welcomed here." [6] Multiple hotels purportedly refused a Wuhan tour guide to check in after she returned to Hangzhou from Singapore with one of them calling the police to give her a health check and asking the police to quarantine her. Amidst these incidents, various cities and prefectures outside of Hubei adopted resettlement measures for Hubei people in their region such as designated hotel accommodation for visitors from the province.[7] In Zhengding, Jingxing and Luquan of Shijiazhuang City, the local governments rewarded anyone who reported those who had been to Wuhan, but not recorded in official documents at least 1,000 yuan RMB. In Meizhou, residents reporting people entering from Hunan were awarded with 30 face masks.[8]

It was reported that on a scheduled 27 January China Southern Airlines flight from Nagoya to Shanghai, some Shanghainese travellers refused to board with 16 others from Wuhan. Two of the Wuhan travellers were unable to board due to a fever while the Shanghainese on the spot alleged that the others had taken medicine to bypass the temperature check.[6] One of the Wuhan tourists protested on Weibo, "are they really my countrymen?" which a Shanghai tourist who was purportedly at the scene replied that they did it to protect Shanghai from the virus.[7] Many netizens criticized the Wuhan tourists for travelling with a fever, although some also called for understanding and for Shanghainese not to regionally discriminate.[9][10]

On 29 March, The Guardian reported that Western and African expatriates in China were reporting increased racial hostility and discrimination in response to a shift of Chinese–based Covid-19 cases from local to "imported" cases. These incidents have included been barred from restaurants, shops, gyms and hotels, subjected to further screening, and verbal attacks and ostracism.[11]

Hong Kong

More than 100 restaurants in Hong Kong have turned away customers from mainland China, with one restaurant demanding that a customer produce a Hong Kong identity card to prove they were not from the mainland.[12] Tenno Ramen, a Japanese noodle restaurant in Hung Hom, refused to serve mainland Chinese customers. The restaurant said on Facebook, "We want to live longer. We want to safeguard local customers. Please excuse us."[13] Another example is Kwong Wing Catering, a pro-2019–20 Hong Kong protests restaurant chain, which announced on Facebook on 28 January 2020 that it would only serve English or Cantonese-speaking but not Mandarin-speaking customers since the government did not implement a border closure against mainland Chinese. However, Mandarin is also the common tongue in Taiwan, so the said Facebook post was then updated a day later to clarify that they welcome Taiwanese customers.[14][15]

Indonesia

The Foreign Policy reported that "On social media, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts encourage people to stay away from places where Chinese citizens or Chinese-heritage Indonesians work and live. ... Major media outlets are also complicit in spreading anti-Chinese conspiracies."[16]

A demonstration was staged outside a hotel in Bukittinggi, rejecting the visit of tourists from Southern China who stayed there amid fear of coronavirus. The demonstrators demanded that the tourists be isolated in an airport, and showed distrust over screening tools in airports. It ended after police guaranteed that the tourists would stay in the hotel up to the following day, when the tourists depart from the city.[17][18]

In a press release, the embassy of Japan in Indonesia stated that incidents of discrimination and harassment toward Japanese people had increased in the midst of the pandemic, and announced they had set up a help center to assist Japanese residents dealing with these incidents.[19] In general, there have been reports of widespread anti-Japanese discrimination and harassment in the country, with hotels, stores, restaurants, taxi services and more refusing Japanese customers, and many Japanese people were no longer allowed in meetings and conferences. The embassy of Japan has also received at least a dozen reports of harassment toward Japanese people in just a few days.[20][21]

India

Indian Islamic cleric Ilyas Sharafuddin said in an audio address that the coronavirus outbreak was a "punishment of Allah on China for mistreating Uighur Muslims". Ilyas said that "they [the Chinese] have threatened the Muslims and tried to destroy lives of 20 million Muslims. Muslims were forced to drink alcohol, their mosques were destroyed and their Holy Book was burned. They thought that no one can challenge them, but Allah the most powerful punished them." He added that "Romans, Persians, and Russians who were arrogant and stood against Islam," were all destroyed by Allah.[22]

Students from Northeast India, which shares a border with Tibet, who study in major Indian cities have reportedly experienced harassment related to the coronavirus outbreak. For instance, Northeast Indian students in Kirori Mal College, Delhi, have filed a complaint to college authorities about harassment in the hands of other students.[23] Eight students from Northeast India at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai also alleged that they were subjected to racism and harassment.[24]

The Bharatiya Janata Party's State unit president in West Bengal Dilip Ghosh stated that the Chinese had destroyed nature and "that's why the God took revenge against them." The remarks were later condemned by the Chinese consulate in Kolkata, calling them "erroneous."[25]

There were rumors that some Muslims who returned from Dubai refused to undergo coronavirus testing for religious reasons. The news was then amplified by bloggers and some some social media channels, but it was later debunked and confirmed to be false.[26]

In March 2020, foreigners from Europe, US and Israel started facing xenophobia and discrimination, including evictions from rented homes.[27]

Iran

The Iranian government has blamed the country's outbreak on the “Zionists.” The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran has claimed Israel for releasing the virus as a form of biological warfare. These claims were seen by many, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), as being anti-semititic.[28][29]

Israel

More than 1,000 South Korean tourists were instructed to avoid public places and remain in isolation in their hotels.[30] The Israeli military announced its intention to quarantine some 200 South Korean nationals to a military base.[31] Many of the remaining South Koreans were rejected by hotels and were forced to spend nights at Ben Gurion Airport.[32] An Israeli newspaper subsequently published a Korean complaint that "Israel is Treating [Korean and other Asian] Tourists Like Coronavirus".[33] Public health expert Dr. Hagai Levine said that Israeli politicians may be overreaching to impress voters.[34]

On 14 March 2020, an Indian man from the Bnei Menashe community was attacked and beaten by several unidentified individuals in Tiberias who called him "Chinese" and "Corona".[35] The man was hospitalized at the Baruch Padeh Medical Center in Tiberas.[35]

Japan

In Japan, the hashtag #ChineseDontComeToJapan had been trending on Twitter;[36] furthermore, on Twitter, Japanese people have called Chinese tourists "dirty", "insensitive", and "bioterrorists".[37]

A server at a restaurant in Ito, a Japanese city on the Izu Peninsula south of Tokyo, was recorded shouting at a tourist "China! Out!" A Chinese woman, who was the target of the outburst, immediately left the restaurant.[38]

A confectionery shop in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture put up a sign saying "No Chinese allowed!" prompting Chinese citizens to boycott the store.[39]

According to an Ipsos MORI poll, 28% of Japanese respondents said they would consider avoiding people of Chinese origin in the future to protect themselves from coronavirus.[40]

Kazakhstan

In February 2020, a conflict broke out between ethnic Kazakhs and Chinese Muslims. According to The Diplomat, "In the hours following the incident, fake news about "ruthless pogroms in Kazakhstan around the spreading of coronavirus" circulated around social media, fueling hysteria in other parts of the country."[41][42]

Malaysia

A petition in Malaysia calling for citizens from China to be banned from entering the country claimed that the "new virus is widely spread throughout the world because of their unhygienic lifestyle".[43] The petition was reportedly signed by a little over 250,000 people within a week.[44]

Palestine

On 1 March 2020, a Palestinian mother with her daughter chanted "Corona, corona" to the two Japanese women who were in Ramallah for non-governmental aid mission.[45][46] The mother then attacked and pulled the hair of one of the Japanese women who attempted to record the incident. The Palestinian woman was later arrested that day. Ramallah Governor Leila Ghannam invited the two Japanese women to thank them for their relief efforts as well as a senior police officer gave flowers during a visit to the non-governmental organization's office.[47]

Philippines

Various Filipino-Chinese advocacy groups have warned that racism against the Chinese community has risen after the outbreak has started.[48] The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc and the Trade Union of Congress of the Philippines have condemned anti-Chinese propaganda with links to the virus.[48] Adamson University, a prominent Catholic school in Manila, received online backlash for ordering all its Chinese students to quarantine themselves amid the new coronavirus outbreak.[49] A crematorium refused to handle the corpse of a Chinese national who died from the virus.[50]

President Rodrigo Duterte has made appeals to the public to stop discriminating against anyone who has Chinese ancestry.[51]

Saudi Arabia

Images of a South Asian migrant worker who was dressed as a human hand sanitiser while wearing a face mask for Saudi Aramco went viral online and sparked global outrage and was cited as another example of "coronavirus racism".[52][53] The company later apologised for the incident.[54]

Singapore

An online petition urging the Singaporean government to ban Chinese nationals and travellers from China from entering the island country was signed by 125,000 people.[55]

The Ministry of Home Affairs has ordered an investigation against an Islamic teacher, Abdul Halim bin Abdul Karim, after he had posted on Facebook that the coronavirus pandemic was "a retribution by Allah against the Chinese for their oppressive treatment of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang." In a separate post, Abdul Halim claimed that Chinese people do not wash properly after defecating and were not as hygienic as Muslims, causing the virus to spread. Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam slammed the comments as "silly", "xenophobic" and "thoroughly racist" and is "quite unacceptable from anyone, let alone someone who is supposed to be a religious teacher."[56] The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore said it is aware of the post, which "expresses views that do not represent the Muslim community" and was investigating the matter.[57] In response, Abdul Halim said that his Facebook post written in Malay, was not intended to be racist and did not target "any particular race".[58]

South Korea

In February 2020, an entrance to a South Korean restaurant in downtown Seoul reportedly had a sign in red Chinese characters stating: "No Chinese Allowed".[59] "No Chinese" signs have been cropping up throughout the country, and some businesses are banning all foreigners.[60]

More than 760,000 South Korean citizens have signed a petition lobbying the government to ban Chinese tourists from entering the country.[61][62] The Daegu Lantern Festival posted a notice in English that no foreigners are allowed to visit their festival.[63]

Sri Lanka

A group of Singaporean tourists were reportedly denied permission to climb the tourist attraction Ella Rock due to their appearance.[64]

Thailand

A restaurant in Chiang Mai displayed a sign which read, "We apologize we are not accepting CHINESE customers. Thank you." after a customer left the restaurant upon noticing a group of Chinese people inside. The police demanded that the sign be taken down, but suggested that it could be rewritten in Chinese as "We ran out of food".[65] A similar sign was seen outside a restaurant in Ao Sane Beach in Phuket.[66]

Graffiti artist Headache Stencil reportedly tweeted, "Hey Chink! Please go back to ur shit-eating country. Our government need ur money to keep their power but you all not welcome for us now. #notwelcometothailand #backtourchinklandpls".[65]

Health minister Anutin Charnvirakul made negative comments about "dirty" Westerners, saying they "never shower" and are more likely to spread the virus than Asians.[67][68]

Vietnam

Asia Times reported that "A number of Vietnamese hotels and guesthouses have reportedly hung signs on their doors saying that Chinese guests are not welcome, while many Vietnamese have gone online to demand the closure of all border crossings with China."[69] Signs suggesting that Chinese customers are not accepted were seen in front of a shop in Phu Quoc and a restaurant in Da Nang.[70]

Australia & Oceania

Australia

On 26 January 2020, two of Australia's highest circulating newspapers published provocative headlines. Melbourne's Herald Sun's headline read, "Chinese virus pandamonium", a misspelling of "pandemonium" and alluding to China's native pandas, while Sydney's Daily Telegraph's headline read "China kids stay home". One of the outcomes of these headlines was a petition of over 51,000 signatures demanding an apology.[13][71]

At a Woolworths supermarket in Port Hedland, Western Australia, a person reported an incident whereby a staff member removed and refused entry to customers who appeared to be of Asian descent, claiming it was to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. A witness to the incident made a complaint that was upheld by Woolworths who confirmed that the staff member had been in the wrong, apologised for the incident and said they were conducting a full investigation into the incident.[72][73]

Ravenswood School for Girls, a private school on Sydney's North Shore asked a South Korean student to leave her dormitory – even though she had not been to China since visiting Shanghai in October 2019 and was medically cleared when she arrived at the school.[74] Similarly, a Chinese-Malaysian student in Perth found herself evicted from her shared home upon returning to Australia after visiting her home country for Lunar New Year.[75]

There has been a growing number of reports where members of the Chinese-Australian and Asian-Australian communities have been subjected to verbal vitriol and racist slurs, in addition to suggestions on social media to cull the Chinese race and "burn down" China to stop the epidemic.[76][77] On 20 March 2020, a student wearing a mask in Hobart, Tasmania was told, "you've got the virus" and "go back to your country" before being punched leaving him with a bruised eye and broken glasses. The reason for the attack was partly attributed to the cultural differences in wearing masks in Eastern and Western cultures.[78]

Chinese restaurants and establishments in Sydney and Melbourne have seen a dramatic drop in business, with trade declining by over 70%.[79]

On 28 January 2020, a man collapsed and died of a suspected cardiac arrest outside of a restaurant in Sydney's Chinatown. Unconfirmed viral videos circulating on social media suggest that bystanders refused to perform CPR out of fear of the novel coronavirus.[80]

According to an online Ipsos MORI poll, 23% of Australian respondents would consider in the future avoiding people of Chinese origin to protect themselves from coronavirus.[40]

New Zealand

MP Raymond Huo stated that there were racial abuse incidents in the country's Chinese community. An online petition to prevent people from China from entering the country was signed by more than 18,000 people.[81] In Canterbury, an email was sent to a Chinese-origin student's parent, which reportedly said, "our Kiwi kids don't want to be in the same class with your disgusting virus spreaders."[82]

Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff stated that he was "sickened" by the reports of Asian-origin people being racially targeted at swimming pools, public transport and restaurants.[83]

Europe

Belgium

There have been reports by Asian people of increased racism in Belgium.[84]

A woman was called "coronavirus", threatened, and spat on by five youths in Schaerbeek.[85]

A photograph depicting high school students in Chinese costumes while holding a sign that said "Corona Time" was posted on the official Facebook and Instagram of Sint-Paulusschool Campus College Waregem, a secondary school, in March 2020.[86][87][88] One of the students added latex gloves and a medical mask to his attire in reference to the outbreak,[86][88] while another student stretched her eyes in a racist gesture.[86][87] The photograph was removed after online backlash.[86][87] The school released a statement, claiming that the school team and the last-grade students had no intention to be condescending or offensive.[87] However, the activist Instagram that reposted the racist image stated that, "As an educational institution, you have a very large influence on the future generation. The fact that you approve of this kind of behaviour and promote it yourself on your channels is far from responsible and shows that something is wrong with you."[89]

In Brussels, a 22-year-old man punched a 24-year-old Asian man and accused him of being "the cause" of coronavirus in Belgium.[90]

Croatia

On 15 February 2020, during a Croatian Table Tennis Superleague match which was played in Dubrovnik between the local team Libertas Marinkolora and guest team STK Starr from Varaždin, a number of insulting comments were posted on the official Libertas Marinkolora Facebook page towards a Croatian player of Chinese origin, Tan Ruiwu of STK Starr which referenced the coronavirus. This included a comment by the manager of Libertas Marinkolor Marko Habijanec in which he instructed one of his players (who was facing Tan in the next match) to "Beat this virus." The comments were subsequently deleted.[91] Libertas Marinkolor eventually issued an apology and condemnation of the incident.[92]

Finland

Asians in Finland have reported instances of discrimination prompted by the novel coronavirus outbreak in China. Various people with backgrounds in China, Vietnam, and Japan told Yle that they feel to have been subjected to racist treatment since news broke about the virus.[93] On 23 February, Helsinki Times reported that at least one Chinese restaurant in Helsinki had seen a downturn in bookings since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. A Chinese supermarket reported a dramatic drop in people coming into the store but an uptick in online sales, with customers opting to have goods delivered to their homes.[94]

France

French newspaper Le Courrier Picard featured an Asian woman wearing a mask on its front page on 26 January 2020 with a headline "Yellow Alert".[95] The paper also titled an editorial "A New Yellow Peril".[96] The publication drew condemnation from French Asians who started the hashtag #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus (which translates to "I Am Not A Virus").[97] Other French newspapers called the Covid-19 as "Chinese Virus" at the beginning of the outbreak which could stigmatise people of Chinese descent.[98][99] Numerous reports indicate a significant increase in harassment and violent attacks toward people of certain Asian origins.[100][101] Some children of Asian descent were ostracised and mocked over their origins in middle schools near Paris.[102][103]

Non-Western restaurants, including Chinese, Thai, Cambodian, and Japanese have reported a decline in customers. The scale of the decline typically ranged from 30 to 50 percent.[104]

Many French-Vietnamese report also being subject to harassment since the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.[105][101]

South Korean media have reported an increased animosity toward South Korean nationals.[106][107]

Japan's public service broadcaster NHK, which provides a list of overseas safety risks for traveling, recently listed anti-Japanese discrimination as a safety risk when traveling to France and other European countries.[108] Some Japanese nationals have reported an increase in anti-Japanese incidents, such as being mocked on the street and refused taxi service, and least one Japanese restaurant has been vandalized.[109][110][111] A Japanese actress working for the French company Louis Vuitton received a number of coronavirus-related comments on the company's Instagram page, which the company later deleted.[112] A group of Japanese students on a study tour in Paris received abuse by locals.[2]

Asians in Paris have reported an increase in racism and harassment.[113][114]

Germany

Numerous racial incidences and discrimination against those of Asian descent in Germany have been reported by news media.[115][116]

The weekly magazine Der Spiegel has published a controversial cover which has been considered by some as blaming China for the outbreak and fueling xenophobia. [117][118][119]

The Chinese Embassy in Berlin has acknowledged a rise in hostile cases against its citizens since the outbreak.[120] On 1 February 2020, a 23-year old Chinese citizen in Berlin reportedly received racist insults and was subsequently beaten by two unknown assailants, in an incident classified by police as "xenophobic".[121]

A Chinese student from Chengdu living in Berlin was given two weeks notice to leave her sublet apartment by her landlord, German actress Gabrielle Scharnitzky.[122] Scharnitzky defended her actions, stating "I had to protect myself against a real possible danger of infection by a person returning from a virus-contaminated area, entering and leaving my home and thus endangering my health and the health of my visitors".[123] The student reportedly informed Scharnitzky of her intentions to visit China in January; although the trip never took place, she was nevertheless evicted.

On 5 February 2020, a Chinese woman in Berlin, who had not visited China in three months, was reportedly turned away by her gynecologist, claiming that the coronavirus may infect pregnant women in the clinic.[124] In the same month, a Chinese student in Essen with a sore throat was denied an appointment by a general practitioner over coronavirus fears, despite not having been to China since September 2019.[125] She was instead told to go the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with bronchitis.

In Munich, a German woman of Chinese descent was assaulted by a neighbor, who sprayed her with disinfectant, screamed "Corona" at her and threatened to cut her head off. The man is facing charges of assault and threat; the state protection department is investigating a possible racist motive for the crime.[126]

German football club RB Leipzig denied entry to a group of 20 Japanese fans over coronavirus fears.[127]

In Nuremberg, locals threw raw eggs at homes owned by Japanese residents.[128]

The embassy of South Korea in Germany warned its citizens of rising anti-Korean violence.[129]

According to an Ipsos MORI poll in early February, 28% of German respondents would consider avoiding people of Chinese origin in the future to protect themselves from the coronavirus.[130]

Hungary

Chinese-owned businesses, including those in the predominantly Asian Józsefváros Market in Budapest, have reported a significant drop in sales, which owners have attributed to the coronavirus. Some businesses have opted to signal to potential customers that they are from another Asian country.[131][132]

Italy

La Repubblica reported that the director of Rome's prestigious Santa Cecilia music conservatory, Roberto Giuliani, suspended lessons for all Asian students—Korean, Chinese, Japanese, with Koreans the largest group affected—due to the epidemic, though most of the students were second-generation immigrants.[133][134]

According to The Washington Post, people especially from South Korea and China experienced increased mockery and discrimination.[135]

It was posted on social media that a bar around the Trevi Fountain had a sign not allowing entrance to anyone from China because of "international safety measures". It was later removed by police.[136]

Dozens of Chinese stores were vandalized in the northern towns of Como, Brescia, and Varese. Many Chinese stores reported a decline in business.[137]

People of Chinese and Filipino descents reported assaults (some serious enough to require hospitalization), harassment, and being refused services. Some public officials asked students of Asian origin to stay home.[137]

On 24 February 2020, a Chinese man was barred from entering a gas station in Cassola in Vicenza, Veneto and was told "You have coronavirus, you cannot enter!" at which point somebody broke a bottle on his head causing severe injuries.[138] The same day, an elderly Filipino pensioner was attacked and punched in a supermarket in the town of Mariano Comense, in Como, Lombardy. Singer and TV personality Francesco Facchinetti was seen intervening and defending the victim.[139]

Veneto regional governor Luca Zaia apologized after claiming that the Chinese eat live mice.[140]

On 8 March 2020, a Japanese restaurant in Rivoli, in Torino, Piedmont was the target of an arson attack by a group of teens who taunted the owners, calling them carriers of the epidemic.[141]

Netherlands

Dutch public broadcasting news network NOS has reported that on many of its Facebook and Instagram posts about the coronavirus, there have been a great number of "racist, discriminating and anti-Chinese comments". Dutch residents of Asian descent report having been called out as carriers of the coronavirus during their commute, in the supermarket, in school, and on social media.[142]

On 6 February 2020, radio DJ Lex Gaarthuis presented his Carnaval song "Voorkomen is beter dan Chinezen" (a pun on the proverb Voorkomen is beter dan genezen – "prevention is better than cure" – with Chinezen referring to both Chinese people and eating Chinese food) on national radio station Radio 10 under his alter ego Toon, which includes the lyrics "we can't have the virus in our country, it is all caused by these stinking Chinese people" and "don't eat Chinese food." After many complaints were issued against Radio 10 and Gaarthuis, primarily by the Chinese community in the Netherlands, both the station and artist made formal apologies, with Gaarthuis saying the song was meant to be satirical but had overshot its mark.[143]

On 8 February 2020, a group of Chinese students living in a student dormitory of Wageningen University discovered that their floor had been vandalised. Damages included a Chinese flag torn from a student's door and shredded, an elevator littered with feces and urine, and walls defaced with English language insults such as "DIE CHINESE" and "CHINESE CORONA".[144] Dutch police investigated the incident, but no suspects have been identified.[145]

On 10 February 2020, a 65-year-old Dutch man of Chinese descent was kicked off his bicycle in Amsterdam by two young men on a scooter. One of the culprits filmed the incident and uploaded it to his Snapchat story. He later downplayed criticism saying "don't you worry guys, it was a Chinese man"[146] and only turned himself in to police after becoming the target of widespread Internet vigilantism.[147]

On a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Seoul on 11 February 2020, flight attendants put up a sign in Korean discouraging passengers from using a restroom on the plane allegedly reserved for the flight crew, apparently out of fear of the coronavirus.[148] A spokesman for the airline has since issued an apology, stating "we are deeply sorry that this was viewed as discrimination, which was absolutely not the intention of the crew" and that it is not company policy to reserve specific lavatories for flight crew.[149] Many Koreans and Dutch people of Korean descent have reported a spate of anti-Korean incidents, from vandalism of their homes to violent assaults and harassment, and more than 150 Korean expat respondents in an online survey indicated they had experienced a xenophobic incident.[150][129]

On the evening of 22 February 2020, a 24-year-old Dutch student of Chinese descent was assaulted by a group of students in her dormitory in Tilburg, suffering a concussion and knife wounds, after she asked them to stop singing Gaarthuis' Carnaval song.[151]

In late February 2020, the Japanese School of Amsterdam cautioned parents not to bring their children to playgrounds and other places frequented by local children, amidst a spate of violent bullying incidents targeting Japanese children.[150]

On 16 March 2020, a residence in Diemen was smeared with words reading "KANKER CHINEES CORONA" ("cancerous Chinese corona" in English), which was publicly denounced by Mayor Erik Boog.[152]

Russia

In Moscow and Yekaterinburg, Chinese nationals are targeted by quarantine enforcing campaigns, as well as police raids, which were condemned as racial profiling.[153]

In Blagoveshchensk, at least one hotel has barred Chinese nationals from booking rooms, and markets operated by people of Chinese origin have seen their sales plummeting.[154]

According to an Ipsos MORI poll, 37% of Russian respondents would consider avoiding people of Chinese origin, the highest of the eight countries surveyed.[40]

Ukraine

On 20 February 2020, 45 Ukrainians and 27 foreign nationals evacuated from Wuhan to Novi Sanzhary were met by a mob lighting bonfires and hurling stones.[155][156]

United Kingdom

On 12 February 2020, Sky News reported that some Chinese people in the United Kingdom said they were facing increasing levels of racist abuse.[157]

Chinese businesses in the United Kingdom, including the busy Chinese takeaway segment and businesses in Chinatown, London recorded significantly reduced customers in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak compared to usual elevated sales related to Chinese New Year celebrations, due to fears of coronavirus spreading through food or unhygienic working practices.[158][159] In London, a student of the Royal Holloway University was verbally abused by train passengers at Clapham Junction station, while a similar incident was reported by passengers on the London Underground.[159][160]

On 30 January 2020, a postgraduate student walking alone while wearing a face mask on West Street in Sheffield city centre, towards the University of Sheffield, was verbally abused and nudged by three people.[161]

Tottenham Hotspur footballer Dele Alli posted a video on Snapchat where he wore a face mask and appeared to mock an Asian man seated near him in Dubai about the coronavirus outbreak. He later apologised and deleted the video.[162]

A 24-year old Thai tax consultant in London was violently assaulted and robbed by two teenagers yelling "coronavirus" at the man.[163]

In Solihull, a woman of Chinese origin was allegedly called "a dirty Chink" and told "Take your fucking coronavirus back home!". A woman of Indian origin who tried to intervene was beaten up and later hospitalised.[164]

On 2 March 2020, a Singaporean Chinese student studying at University College London was beaten up when walking past a group of young people who shouted "I don't want your coronavirus in my country" to him in Oxford Street, London. He suffered fractures on his face and bruises on his eye. The Metropolitan Police in London are investigating this assault.[165] Two teenagers have been arrested in relation to the incident.[166]

In Exeter, as of 6 March 2020 there had been 6 separate racially-motivated physical assaults against Asian people, including 3 assaults against Chinese teenagers reported in a 24-hour period.[167]

A Vietnamese art curator was dropped as an assistant for an exhibit of contemporary Vietnamese fine art at the Affordable Art Fair. The dealer in charge of the exhibit explained in an email that she could no longer participate because "Asians are being seen as carriers of the virus" and that the presence of a Vietnamese curator "would unfortunately create hesitation on the part of the audience to enter the exhibition space."[168]

An NHS nurse of Filipino descent stated she was assaulted and racially abused by a couple at a train station during her commute for a nightshift at a hospital.[169][better source needed]

North America

Canada

On 26 January 2020, Peter Akman, a reporter who was with CTV News, tweeted an image of his Asian barber in a mask and said, "Hopefully all I got today was a haircut."[170] He was fired after the tweet was reported.[171]

Chinese-Canadian businesses in Vancouver have reported a drop in business ranging from 50 to 70 percent.[172] In the Greater Toronto Area, Chinese restaurants have reported a drop in sales ranging from 30 to 80 percent.[173]

On 28 January 2020, 9,000 parents of a school district in the York Region, just north of Toronto signed a petition calling on the York Region District School Board to keep students whose family have visited China home from school for 17 days, and that schools keep track of these students' travels and inform other parents so they could decide whether to pull their kids out of class. The York Region School Board rejected the petition, stating that it could potentially stoke racism.[174][175]

On 29 January 2020, Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada and head of the Public Health Agency of Canada, expressed her concern. Tam, who is originally from Hong Kong, tweeted that "I am concerned about the growing number of reports of racism and stigmatizing comments on social media directed to people of Chinese and Asian descent related to 2019-nCoV coronavirus."[176]

On 17 March 2020, two Korean men were stabbed in Montreal, prompting the Korean Consulate to issue a warning to those of Korean heritage in the city to be cautious and report any incidents to the consulate. Police are "not aware" of racial motives behind the attacks, but the victims believed that the attacks were racially motivated.[177]

United States

There have been reports of over 1000 xenophobia and racism cases against Asian Americans between January 28 and February 24, 2020, which was during the first COVID-19 cases that were reported in the United States. Within one week after the "Stop AAPI Hate" website was launched, there were over 650 reports of discrimination that were mainly against Asian Americans.[178]

In an infographic on common reactions to the novel coronavirus epidemic posted by University Health Services at the University of California, Berkeley, the school advised that "Xenophobia: fears about interacting with those who might be from Asia and guilt about these feelings" is normal. The university was criticized for "normalizing racism".[179]

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang spoke of an uptick in anti-Asian racism surrounding the coronavirus.[180] Several lawmakers, including multiple members of Congress, denounced xenophobia related to the coronavirus in a press conference. They said Asian-American businesses across the country--from grocery stores to nail salons and restaurants--had been forced into financial crises due to a reduction in customers.[181] Additionally, Asian-American businesses have reported coronavirus-related harassment and acts of vandalism.[182][183]

U.S. President Donald Trump's frequent references to the coronavirus as the "Chinese virus" has been criticized as anti-Chinese and racist,[184][185] as well as diversionary.[185] Trump continued to use this phrase despite criticism from Democratic legislators[186] as well as Asian American advocates and public health experts, who said that the use of the phrase inflamed tensions and cited an increase in attacks on Asian Americans.[187] Scott Kennedy, an expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that Trump's use of the phase fueled a narrative relating not only to the Chinese Communist Party "but of China and Chinese people in general" and was "xenophobic and tinged with racist overtones," especially given the Trump administration's past statement and actions.[184] National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases leader Anthony Fauci said that he would "never" use the phrase,[185] and in testimony before a House committee, CDC Director Robert R. Redfield agreed that usage of the phrase was "absolutely wrong and inappropriate."[186] Trump defended his usage of the phrase as "not racist at all."[188] Trump also brushed off the alleged use of the derogatory term "Kung Flu" by a White House official to reference COVID-19 when asked by a reporter during a media session on 18 March 2020.[189][190]

In March 2020, the FBI's New York field office issued an alert reporting that far-right extremists are encouraging one another to intentionally spread the coronavirus to police officers and members of the Jewish community if they contracted it.[191][192] The next day, the Department of Homeland Security released a memo to law enforcement officials warning of the possibility of violent extremists taking advantage of the pandemic to commit terrorist attacks. The memo cites calls by far-right extremists to commit attacks on Asian-Americans and other targets, as well as spread the virus in diverse neighborhoods and places of worship.[191][193][194]

Koreans in the U.S. hesitated to wear masks in public amid reports of hate crimes and racism towards Asians who wore masks.[195]

Restaurants in Chinatown in Boston have also lost customers due to fears of coronavirus.[196] The government of New York City cited a report which estimated a 40 percent sales drop for Chinese businesses in Flushing, Queens, while other reports suggested the drop ranged from 30 to 80 percent.[197][198]

Northwest States

In Seattle and elsewhere in Washington State, a rise in Anti-Asian racism has been blamed on coronavirus.[199]

California

In Los Angeles, a Thai-American woman on the Los Angeles subway captured footage of a man screaming racist comments and expletives about coronavirus.[136] On 13 February 2020, Los Angeles authorities spoke out against a number of bullying incidents and assaults against the Asian-American community, including a middle-schooler being beaten and hospitalized.[200] A 16-year-old boy in San Fernando Valley was physically attacked by bullies in his high school who accused him of having the coronavirus because he is Asian-American. [201] Robin Toma of the L.A. County Human Relations Commission stated, "Many may be quick to assume that just because someone is Asian or from China that somehow they are more likely to be carriers of the virus. We need to speak out against this when we see it. We need to speak up, not be bystanders, be upstanders."[201] Other forms of harassment in Los Angeles included fake World Health Organization (WHO) flyers advising people to avoid Asian-American restaurants.[202] In San Francisco, a Chinese woman crossing a street was spat upon by a man yelling, "Fuck China", and "run them all over" as a bus crossed in her direction.[203]

40,000 people signed a petition to expel two students from Bolsa Grande High School after they were seen in videos bullying Vietnamese-American students. Garden Grove Unified School District's public information officer responded by saying the students will face "disciplinary action in accordance with the California Education Code."[204]

Indiana

Two Hmong men were rejected from two hotels in Indiana due to being perceived to have the coronavirus by the hotel staff.[205]

New Jersey

On 26 March 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced a condemnation of an uptick in anti-semitism against the Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood, New Jersey.[206] Murphy acknowledged that much of the vitriol against the Lakewood Orthodox Jewish community stemmed from a number of incidents in which Lakewood residents were charged for hosting weddings and large gatherings in violation of statewide restrictions.[206] On 27 March, a Howell Township man was charged with making second-degree terroristic threats after he sent a Facebook message to Governor Murphy, in which he threatened to travel to Lakewood and assault members of the Jewish community with a baseball bat in retaliation for holding weddings and gatherings amid lockdowns.[207]

Governor Murphy also acknowledged reports of bias against the Korean-American community in Bergen County, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in New Jersey.[206]

New York

On 10 March 2020, a Korean woman in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, was confronted on the street by somebody yelling "Where is your corona mask, you Asian bitch?" before punching the woman, dislocating her jaw.[208] Later in the week, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, an Asian man walking with his 10-year-old son was harassed by a person yelling, "Where the fuck is your mask? You fucking Chinese" before being hit over the head.[209] Another incident occurred on 16 March where a woman in Midtown Manhattan was spat upon, and had her hair pulled out by a woman who blamed her for coronavirus.[210]

In the New York City Subway, a woman wearing a face mask was punched and kicked by a man who called her "diseased".[211] Numerous other incidences of harassment of Asians on the New York City Subway followed, including one in which a person was seen spraying an Asian man with an unknown substance.[212][213] On 19 March 2020, an Asian woman was robbed of her cellphone by a man who swung a punch at her and told her, "Go back to China", "You are dirty, get your temperature checked"; the victim was unharmed.[214]

In Brooklyn, New York, a social media post was sent from the office of New York State Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus urging citizens to avoid Chinese businesses. Frontus apologized for the message, blaming the incident on a part-time office assistant sharing a chain email; the staff worker was fired and the rest of the staff was ordered to complete cultural sensitivity training.[215][216] The apology by the Assemblymember triggered Brooklyn Community Board 13 member Ronald X. Stewart to post a xenophobic anti-Chinese rant, also targeted to Chinese-Americans, on social media expressing dismay that the Assemblymember had to make an apology. That community board member was given notice by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams that his reappointment to the community board would not be renewed.[215]

Pennsylvania

In a Philadelphia SEPTA subway station, an Asian couple was surrounded by a group and attacked.[217] Harassment and attacks on Asians have included a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer who was verbally harassed several times.[218]

Texas

At a Sam's Club in Midland, Texas, a 19 year old stabbed 2 adults and 2 children[219] along with a Sam's Club employee[220] who attempted to stop the attack. The victims were identified as an Asian family and the case is being investigated as a hate crime.[221][222]

Chinatown in Houston faced a drop in customers after people falsely and maliciously spread rumors online of an outbreak of the coronavirus.[223]

South America

Argentina

On 26 February 2020, an incident involving a fight was reported in La Plata between a Chinese supermarket owner and an Argentine delivery man. The fight was triggered because the delivery man jokingly said "¿Qué hacés, coronavirus?" ("What's up, coronavirus?"), making a joke about Chinese people and the coronavirus. Both men ended up injured and the police later had to intervene.[224]

Bolivia

Local authorities quarantined three Japanese nationals despite them having no coronavirus-related symptoms.[2]

Public efforts against xenophobia and racism during coronavirus

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned racism against Chinese Canadians while attending a Lunar New Year festival in Toronto on 29 January 2020.[225] Likewise, John Tory, the Mayor of Toronto, denounced xenophobia toward Chinese Canadians, amid reports of increasing stigma facing that community.[226][227]

On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization's Emergency Committee issued a statement advising all countries to be mindful of the "principles of Article 3 of the IHR (the International Health Regulations)", which the WHO says is a caution against "actions that promote stigma or discrimination", when conducting national response measures to the outbreak.[228]

In response to the heightened outbreak of the virus in Italy, which caused the Chinese community to shut down businesses due to racist attacks, President Sergio Mattarella made a surprise visit to a primary school in Rome on 6 February 2020, of which nearly half of pupils are Chinese in origin as a show of support and solidarity, saying "Friendship and peace are fundamental and you know it."[229][230]

An online petition entitled We zijn geen virussen! ("We are not viruses!" in English) was started in the Netherlands on 8 February 2020 in protest of racism against Dutch Chinese and others of Asian descent, which garnered over 13,600 signatures on its first day and was signed over 57,600 times at the end of the month.[231]

On 27 February 2020, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called for solidarity with people of ethnic Asian origin subject to such discrimination.[232]

On 14 March 2020, more than 200 civil rights groups in the United States demanded that the House of Representatives and Senate leadership publicly denounce the growing amount of anti-Asian racism related to the pandemic and take "tangible steps to counter the hysteria" around the coronavirus, offering the passage of a joint resolution denouncing the racism and xenophobia as one solution.[233]

The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) with Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) launched a website on 20 March 2020, encouraging the reporting of coronavirus-related harassment, discrimination, and bigotry.[234][203][235]

As the pandemic spreads and hotspots form around the globe, such as those in Europe and the United States, discrimination against people from these hotspots has also occurred, particularly in certain countries in Asia and Africa. In the United States, The Anti-Defamation League, the FBI and 2020 U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang have also pointed out that the virus has led to increased incidents of anti-semitism.[236][237]

New York Attorney General Letitia James launched a hotline for New Yorkers to report hate crimes and discrimination amid the coronavirus outbreak.[238]

See also

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