Anti-Asian hate crime has drastically risen since the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Many activists have claimed that this rise in such hate crimes is due to the false yet incredibly widespread belief that Asian people are responsible for spreading the coronavirus. As a result, many from the East Asian community report feeling incredibly unsafe and fearful.
As mass media created fearmongering surrounding the East Asian community, many Asian-owned businesses were vandalised, with some restaurants and takeaways being completely boycotted. Al-Jazeera interviewed several UK victims of anti-Asian hate crime, including Peng Wang. On the 23rd of February 2021, a passing driver had screamed ‘Chinese virus!’ at Mr Wang. When Mr Wang approached the driver who shouted the obscenity, he was attacked in response. The racism had also reached those in positions of power. Sarah Owens, a Labour Party MP of Chinese descent, reported that two unnamed MPs had described Chinese people as ‘evil b**ches.’
In the US, there have also been several reported accounts of anti-Asian hate crime, with the most recent being the Atlanta shootings. The Atlanta shootings had left eight people dead, with six of these victims being Asian women. Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) told The Guardian that it was appalling that it had taken the deaths of six Asian women to have people pay attention to the reality of anti-Asian hate crime. Choimorrow also stated that the record-keeping of such hate crime is so low and underreported, due to organisations such as the FBI and other police forces refusing to accept that such hate crime and racism exist. In 2019, the FBI reported that 4,390 victims were attacked due to their ethnicity or race. However, this is now viewed as a significant understatement, especially in comparison to the numerous Asian victims being exposed to hate crimes in recent events. In addition, a federal report that was released in February 2021 revealed that over 40% of hate crimes are not reported to authorities.
The UK-based advocacy group ‘End the virus of racism’ reported a 300% increase in anti-Asian hate crime within the UK. Furthermore, in the US, the FBI had warned in the beginning of the pandemic that they expected a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. The Centre for the Study of Hate & Extremism also released a fact sheet, which revealed the heavy spike in anti-Asian hate crime, with an increase of 145% in sixteen of the largest American cities.
We, at JAN Trust, are not only appalled by the state of such crime, but also offer our deepest sympathies to every individual who has been affected by anti-Asian hate crime. The danger that innocent individuals face due to their ethnicity is unjustifiable and should not be tolerated. No one deserves such abuse, regardless of their race, gender, religious background, ethnicity, or any other personal characteristic.