As France Entered A Second Lockdown, A Call To Attack Every Chinese Person On The Street Gained Momentum On Twitter; Garnering A Thousand Likes And Getting Shared In Equal Numbers

An angry, hate-filled Twitter call to attack Chinese people in the streets of France after the country went into a second COVID lockdown has been followed by a dozen assaults on Asians and fuelled the flames of anti-Asian sentiment.

The first time anti-Asian racism surfaced in France at the start of the pandemic earlier this year, it was characterised as xenophobia. 

It was a fear and distrust of the “other,” with people of East Asian descent lumped together as presumed carriers of the coronavirus that had started in Wuhan, China, says Sun-Lay Tan, spokesperson for Safety for All, a collective of 46 Franco-Asian associations in France. 

This time, it’s taken a much darker and angrier tone. “It’s no longer just xenophobia. It’s hate,” he said.

Immediately following President Emmanuel Macron’s televised address to the nation at the end of October announcing a second lockdown across the country, a Twitter call to attack every Chinese person on the street began gaining momentum, garnering about a thousand likes and getting shared in equal numbers. 

Replies to the original tweet, which has since been flagged and taken down, were also laced with violence and venom: 

“Hitler should have killed all the Chinese, not the Jews.”

“Put me in a cage with a Chinese I’ll have fun with them. I want to watch all their hope fade from their eyes.”

“It’s a hunt for Asians, for slanted eyes and yellow dog-eaters.”

“You’re only good for bringing back disease.”

What concerns Tan and other anti-racism activists is that these Twitter calls have gone offline and manifested in brutal attacks on Asians of all backgrounds in Paris. The day after the tweet was posted, a male Asian student was assaulted in an unprovoked attack while playing table tennis in the park with a friend (permanent ping pong tables are fixtures in some Parisian parks). According to Le Parisien, his attackers shouted “dirty Chinese” while assaulting him with pepper spray.

Asians are no stranger to being singled out by thieves and pickpockets in the Paris region as it’s mistakenly believed that they carry bundles of cash and are easy targets. But the most recent spate of attacks are driven by something more sinister, Tan said. “Previously, Asians were targeted for their money and were victims of robberies and muggings. Now, it’s not even money. It’s just out of hate.”

In another incident, a 37-year-old Asian woman identified as Françoise was attacked by a young couple who followed her off the city bus. Prior to the attack, a few words were exchanged about the young woman’s coughing fit and mask. The couple got off at the same bus stop as Françoise and attacked, pulling her hair, spitting and punching her in the face, yelling, “It’s because of you, you ch**k that we have coronavirus” and “Go back to China and eat dog,” reports Le Parisien.

“There’s been a crescendo of hate since the second lockdown, and a call to violence that we didn’t see before,” said Laetitia Chhiv, president of the Association of Chinese Youth of France. 

Along with the coronavirus, the collapse of Asian businesses in Chinatown, and the threat of another terror attack – France is on its highest terror alert following the beheading of high school teacher Samuel Paty and an attack in Nice that killed three people – Asians in France now have to worry about being targeted in hate-related assaults. 

“Safety has become their number one preoccupation lately,” Tan said.

Along with fear and anxiety, there’s a feeling of anger and disbelief at the misplaced hate, added Chhiv.

“They don’t understand why there’s so much hate. We are not responsible for the coronavirus and yet we’re insulted, assaulted and held responsible.”

Since the spike in assaults, Tan and Chhiv have launched a joint campaign through their groups warning Asians to be vigilant of their surroundings and to file a police report in the event of an attack. Because more often than not, Asian victims – particularly immigrants and the elderly – are less likely to go to the police, for reasons ranging from language barriers to shame, or lack of faith in the judicial system.

But it’s hoped a recent legal victory will change that. On the 12th of November, the French courts sentenced a trio of men two to seven years in prison for targeting, violently assaulting and robbing exclusively Asian women – believed to be easy targets – in the Paris region in 2019. Of the 28 victims identified, only six took part in the legal proceedings. But it’s a major victory that Chhiv hopes will encourage the community to trust the legal system. 

Meanwhile, the Paris prosecutor’s office has launched a formal investigation into the original Twitter call to attack Chinese “for inciting public provocation to carry out a physical attack of a racist nature.”

“We want to send the message that no, you can’t say whatever you want on social media and call for attacks on an entire population for no reason,” Chhiv said.

She also points out that social media played a big role as a vehicle for hate in both the assassination of Paty and the anti-Asian discrimination currently playing out across France. During a lesson on free speech, Paty showed his class a cover from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which depicted a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad naked on all fours. One outraged Muslim parent waged a social media campaign against the teacher, which caught the attention of the killer who had no prior connection to the school or teacher.

“Social media can be a conduit for hate,” Chhiv said. “The fury on social media is nefarious for society. All it takes is for one person with bad intentions to stumble on a hateful post and use it to justify their violent behaviour.”

Source: Vice

Mississippi Approves New Flag Design – Had Been The Last State In The Country To Feature An Image Of The Confederate Battle Flag

The new design, which includes a magnolia blossom, was selected by a state commission in September to be put on the November ballot. The final decision came down to the magnolia image and the “Great River Flag,” which featured a shield with white and red stripes and a symbol representing the Mississippi River.

The flag featuring Confederate imagery was officially retired in June after protests against racial injustice and police brutality led numerous states to reckon with the history behind such symbols.

“Our flag should reflect the beauty and good in all of us. It should represent a state that deserves a positive image,” Rocky Vaughan, designer of the magnolia flag, said in a statement in September.

“The New Magnolia Flag represents the warmth and strength of the good people of Mississippi. Now is the time we show the world that we’re from Mississippi, the Magnolia State,” he added.

Source: The Hill

President Donald Trump’s Lawyer and Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani Accidentally Uploads Video of Himself Mocking Asian Accents

Rudy Giuliani accidentally uploaded a video of himself to YouTube on Wednesday night, in which President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer is seen to mock Asians in a racist manner.

The former mayor of New York City and President Donald Trump’s current personal lawyer put on a stereotypical Asian accent while bowing with his hands clasped together and talking about ordering Chinese food in the video.

An extended version of the video was set to private but not before clips made rounds on social media.

Source: NextShark

Apple Tweaks Mask-Wearing Emoji To Look Friendlier In The COVID-19 Era

Yep, the ‘Face with Medical Mask’ emoji has become an unlikely symbol of everyday life for 2020, meaning it’s no longer relevant just for those working in clinical settings – and now it’s had an upgrade.

Following its newfound fame, Apple has recently updated the face so that it looks a little more cheerful, to show that wearing a mask is no bad thing.

The new version of the emoji comes with Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS 14.2, which is currently in beta stage and expected to release in late October or early November 2020.

Before, the emoji had exasperated downturned eyes, and looked a bit sorry for itself. But after its makeover, the face not only has cheerful blushing cheeks, but its happy eyes imply there’s even a smile going on under that covering.

Source: LADbible

LA County Begins Program to Combat Acts of Hate After Rise of Racism Towards Asian Americans Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

Responding to what officials called increased acts of hate in recent years, most notably against Asian-Americans due to the coronavirus pandemic, Los Angeles County on Wednesday announced a campaign aimed at encouraging reporting of such incidents and responding to them.

The “L.A. vs Hate” campaign is a three-pronged effort that will include a marketing outreach campaign encouraging people to report acts of hate, improved resources for residents to report such acts through the county’s 211 hotline and a network of agencies to assist victims and develop prevention strategies.

“L.A. County is one of the most culturally diverse and vibrant communities in the world,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said. “Despite our diversity, these past few years have seen a steady rise in reported hate acts in our county. We also know that as a result of COVID-19, there has been an ugly backlash toward our Asian-Pacific Islander community. Spikes in calls to the 211 hotline reflect that racism.”

Source: NBC LA

The White House agreed Sunday that Kamala Harris is eligible to become vice president, ending false suggestions by President Trump that she was ineligible to serve if elected in November because she was born in the United States to immigrant parents

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Harris, now 55 and picked last week by former Vice President Joe Biden to be his running mate in November’s national election, was born in in 1964 in the western city of Oakland, California. She is the daughter of an Indian woman who had emigrated to the U.S. to attend graduate school and a father from Jamaica, making her the first Black woman to be on a major party national ticket in the U.S.

Under the U.S. Constitution, she is an American by birthright, by being born in the U.S.

Source: VOA News

2021 Venice Biennale Postponed to 2022

The 59th edition of the Venice Biennale, formerly scheduled for 2021, has been postponed to the following year. The international art show’s next iteration will now run for seven months, from April 23 to November 27, 2022, overlapping with the 15th edition of the contemporary art quinquennial Documenta in Kassel, Germany.

Cecilia Alemani, chief curator of New York City’s High Line, was tapped to curate the 59th Biennale. Among the confirmed names for the show so far are the multimedia artist Stan Douglas for the Canadian Pavilion; Latifa Echakhch for the Swiss Pavilion; and Zineb Sedira, the first artist of Algerian descent to represent France at the biennial.

Source: Vogue