According to data provided by the NYPD, the rate of reported hate crime against Asian-Americans has increased by 1,900 percent since the beginning of the pandemic last year. The attacks have been primarily against vulnerable members of the community including homeless people, small business owners, the elderly and women.
The United Nations issued a report in August 2020 that found in just eight weeks between March and May 2020 there had been 1,800 racist anti-Asian attacks upon Asian-American citizens. Stop AAPI Hate also produced a three month report after being set up on March 19th 2020 – their report stated that after eight weeks they had received 1,843 reports of anti-Asian discrimination due to coronavirus including physical abuse, verbal abuse and shunning made up the highest amount of cases. They also found that women were harassed 2.4 times more than men and that 7.8 percent of their respondents were elderly.
This surge in hate crimes has been happening consistently since the beginning of the pandemic, however the video footage of an attack on a 91 year old man that was pushed to the ground has made actors such as Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu speak up on the matter, offering fees of up to $25,000 for more information on the attack. The attacker went on to push both a 60 year old man and a 55 year old woman to the ground on the same street after attacking the 91 year old. All three were taken to hospital to be treated for their injuries. The assailant was believed to be targeting seniors in the Chinatown area of Oakland, California.
This comes after the arrest of the attacker of Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84 year old Thai man who was shoved to the ground in San Francisco last month, Ratanapakdee died of his injuries two days later.
Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu tweeted: “The number of hate crimes against Asian-Americans continues to skyrocket, despite our repeated pleas for help. The crimes are too often ignored and even excused. Remember #VincentChin. Remember #VichaRatanapakdee.”
Vincent Chin was a Chinese-American beaten to death in 1982 by two white men who were given a light sentence after the attack despite their clear racial intentions.
There is absolutely no denying that the influence of ex-President Trump has had an extreme effect on this rise in hate crime. Trump referred to coronavirus as “the China virus,” frequently used racial slurs to describe the Asian community and scapegoat language which has produced an increase in xenophobia.
Russell Jeung, a co-founder pf Stop AAPI Hate said: “there’s a clear correlation between President Trump’s incendiary comments, his insistence on using the term ‘Chinese virus’ and the subsequent hate speech spread on social media and the hate violence directed towards us. it gives people license to attack us. The current spate of attacks on our elderly is part of how that rhetoric has impacted the broader population.”
Other countries are not innocent either, as anti-Asian hate crime is up by 717 percent in Vancouver, Canada. Boris Johnson released a video wishing everybody a happy Chinese New Year to which the internet was loaded with insidious replies that reeked of racism and xenophobia.
“I know the Prime Minister has got to be diplomatic but this is a step too far,” one user wrote.
“Happy New Variant more like,” another wrote.
You can find the Stop AAPI Hate’s report below: