Group of UK-based academics and human rights activists in East and South East Asia urge UK government to condemn growing hate crime and provide additional protection to targeted communities .
The group, called End the Virus of Racism (EVR), said the National Council of Chiefs of Police (NPCC) had recognized intelligence reports confirming Britain’s far right was using the coronavirus, first identified times in Wuhan, China, as a reason to attack the east. and Southeast Asians.
NPCC’s senior hate crimes officer Deputy Police Chief Mark Hamilton said they take reports of hate crimes against Chinese and Southeast Asian communities very seriously.
Hamilton added: “No one is responsible for the coronavirus epidemic and everyone has the right to be protected from targeted abuse. We will continue to monitor any trends that arise. ”
Lu Gram, a global health researcher at University College London, added that Donald Trump’s repeated use of the phrase “Chinese virus” in referring to Covid-19 was also responsible for the spread of hatred. “It sounds like the post 9/11 atmosphere towards Muslims, when a Muslim on the street was seen as a potential terrorist. Now every Chinese is a member of the CCP [Chinese Communist Party], a potential existential threat to civilization.
New figures show attacks on ‘Orientals’ recorded by the Met stood at 21 in January, rose sharply as the pandemic spread, fell during lockdown and then, since restrictions were eased in May , began to increase steadily, reaching 50 incidents. in June and 60 last month.
The data, released under the Freedom of Information Act, also shows that attacks against people identified as Asians have risen sharply since the easing of lockdown restrictions, raising fears they could accelerate in second wave case. Figures show that there were 261 hate crimes against Asians in April, up from 323 in May, 395 in June, and 381 in July.
Gram added that there was significant underreporting of hate crimes to police in communities across East and Southeast Asia due to mistrust, and that EVR was seeking to raise funds. to set up a third party reporting system as an alternative.
“As East and Southeast Asians, we’ve been used to an underlying racism in society all of our lives, but that only highlights it. People now have an excuse to flaunt it, ”said Gram, who was born in China.
The 35-year-old, who had lived in the UK since the age of 18, added that a member of the group had already left London this year because he was tired of the street harassment caused by the pandemic .
Gram was also targeted, with someone accusing him of “doing this to us” while others shouted at him in the street to wear a mask.
He added: “We need government leadership in this area. Boris Johnson or [home secretary] Priti Patel to unambiguously support communities in East and South East Asia. ”
Children, according to EVR, are particularly vulnerable, with the group receiving numerous reports of children being bullied at school for eating “bat soup and spreading the coronavirus.”
He also supports a campaign for the government and media to stop using images showing Asians wearing masks when covering Covid-19, saying this perpetuates the idea that all East and South Asians -is are carriers of coronavirus.