US president Trump likes to call it the “Chinese Virus.”
Earlier this year, President Trump lauded the efforts of the Chinese government and tweeted by saying “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency, ” and ended it with a thankyou note to China. Then he proceeded, “It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American people, I want to thank President Xi!”
With over 9 thousand cases being reported in a day, President Donald Trump has changed his narrative and now holds China accountable for the spread of the Coronavirus across borders. On multiple accounts he has referred to the Coronavirus as “the Chinese Virus” and used racist remarks to incite Xenophobia against people from the minority Chinese community in the United States.
A recent event took place in the White House, where a US news reporter was called upon a racial remark by an official. “This morning a White House official referred to Coronavirus as the ‘Kung-Flu’ to my face. Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back.” said the US news correspondent Wieja Jiang, an Asian-American residing in the United states. With the sky rocket spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the United States, many Asian-American have been targeted with racist remarks.
Ever since President Trump used Racist names to call the Coronavirus as the “Chinese virus”, racist comments against the Asian-Americans have increased. When asked about spurring Xenophobia amongst the masses of the people of the United States, President Trump denied any responsibility for creating the spread of this racist jibe.
Trump agenda creating Xenophobia amid the Coronavirus pandemic
In his speech, President Trump made a last minute edit, where he deliberately crossed out “Corona” and replaced it with “Chinese” as captured by a US reporter. Though President Trump denies any responsibility towards creating hatred towards the marginalized population of Asian Americans, the critics with the raised statistics of Xenophobia think otherwise.
Many Asian Americans agree that President Trump siding with the majority has put this marginalised community to be vulnerable to hate crimes. “It’s racist and it creates Xenophobia” said an Asian American working at the University of California. Taking into account the rise of hate crimes and racist remarks he added, “It’s a very dangerous situation.”
Critics also predict the rise of Xenophobia and the rise of hate crimes in the United States towards the Asian Americans could spur the Chinese government to retaliate. A US news producer also agreed that President Trump’s remarks were racist and this “gives the Chinese government even more fuel for inflaming anti-American nationalism.”
Globally Chinese face racism and hate crimes for the Coronavirus crises
People from the Asian descent have started to self isolate to not only protect themselves from the spread of the Coronavirus, but to protect themselves from the rising Xenophobia across the globe.
According to the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, over 650 racist attacks have been reported in North America within a week. Apart from racial comments and physical attacks, Asian communities have also been targeted with racial terms, memes and hate speech over social media.
Including incidents in the United States of America, Asians residing in Canada have also experienced a multitude of hate crimes. Asian businesses were violently targeted to shut down, a man was stabbed and racial marks are still being passed on. Though immediate measures have been taken into action to control the spread of Xenophobia against the Asian community, rising incidents of racism are still at rise.
Other States where the spread of the Coronavirus has killed thousands, racial crimes have risen too. A recent event surfaced on Facebook where Jonathan Mok from Singapore posted photos of his sustained facial injuries inflicted upon him on Oxford street in London. He told the local news he was a victim of racism where four men violently attacked him, not because he was Chinese, but because of his facial features. He posted saying “Racism is not stupidity- racism is hate. Racists constantly find excuses to expound their hatred- and in this current backdrop of the coronavirus, they’ve found yet another excuse.”
Coronavirus does not choose borders, or the color of skin or ethnicity
Ever since the World Health Organization reported the Coronavirus outbreak on 31st december 2019, multiple reports have surfaced where hate crimes and racism against the Asian community have been documented worldwide. Instead of ignoring the statistics and the apparent rise of Xenophobia against the marginalised Asian community, governments should take such incidents under consideration and act accordingly.
Taking into account President Trump’s language to backlash China and the rise of Xenophobia among different States, The U.N human rights chief, Michelle Bachelot called upon member states to work effectively to minimize discrimination triggered by the Coronavirus.
When Dr. Mike Ryan was asked to comment on Trump’s remarks of naming the Coronavirus “the Chinese virus”, the World Health Organization’s executive director for emergencies replied by saying “We’ve been very clear right since the beginning of this event that viruses know no borders and they don’t care about your ethnicity or the color of your skin or how much money you have in the bank. So it’s really important that we be careful in the language we use, lest it lead to profiling of individuals associated with the virus.This is just something we need to all avoid.” Referring to how Xenophobia has risen against the Asian ethnic communities he continued “It’s easy to make comments that are not intended to do that but ultimately end up having that outcome.”
As long as the elected governments such as the Trump administration deliberately use hateful remarks against the ethnic minorities, it is likely that these hate crimes will continue to rise. It is widely agreed that it is best to use official names that then create inflammatory remarks that could only create harm for the minor communities in the future.