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

Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans Are at an ‘Alarming Level’, UN Says

Experts from the United Nations (UN) formally expressed concerns about the growing number of attacks against Asian Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the alleged lack of measures from authorities to combat them.

The experts, appointed by the Human Rights Council (HRC), serve as rapporteurs on (1) contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; (2) human rights of migrants; and (3) discrimination against women and girls.

“Racially motivated violence and other incidents against Asian-Americans have reached an alarming level across the United States since the outbreak of COVID19,” experts continued.

These included vandalism, verbal harassment, physical attacks, and refusal of service and access.

Verbal harassment comprised the majority of the incidents. Victims reportedly heard profanities such as “f**ing Chinese,” “die ch*nk die,” “yellow n*****” and “go back to China, b**ch!”

The group also cited the alleged link between President Donald Trump’s anti-China rhetoric and the surge in hate incidents. They noted that his actions have been “seemingly legitimizing” the phenomenon.

Trump has used controversial terms to refer to COVID-19, including “Chinese Virus,” “China Virus,” “China Plague,” “Wuhan Virus,” “Kung Flu.” The World Health Organization (WHO), a specialized agency of the UN, has long opposed the use of such terms.

“Don’t attach locations or ethnicity to the disease, this is not a ‘Wuhan Virus,’ ‘Chinese Virus’ or ‘Asian Virus.’ The official name for the disease [COVID-19] was deliberately chosen to avoid stigmatization,” the agency said in March.

Congress has since introduced bills (House of RepresentativesSenate) condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment. The House passed its version by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) last month, which led to attacks against the official herself.

University of Missouri (Mizzou/MU) marketing professor Joel Poor relieved of teaching duties after telling student from Wuhan ‘Let me get my mask on’ in Zoom video lecture

Poor, Joel.jpg

In the video posted on Twitter, Poor asked students if anyone was from outside the U.S., and a student responded that he was from Wuhan, China. After hearing where the student was from, Poor made this comment.

“Let me get my mask on.” 

Following the backlash on Twitter, Poor wrote in a later email that the comment, which was in reference to Wuhan being the origin of COVID-19, was a joke. While Poor may have meant this comment to be humorous, some MU students do not see it in that way. Many students have replied to the tweet saying that they found the comment to be racist and xenophobic.

Source: Columbia Missourian

Cal State University East Bay (CSUEB) & Laney College Professor Matthew Hubbard Placed on Leave For Mocking Vietnamese Student’s Name and Telling Her to ‘Anglicize’ it to Accommodate Him

Laney College in Oakland confirmed that they are aware of allegations of “racist and xenophobic messages” from one of their faculty members about the pronunciation of a student’s name.

According to an email chain, which was later posted onto social media, professor Matthew Hubbard had asked student Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen to change her name as it “sounds like an insult” in English.

“Your name in English sounds like F**k Boy,” Hubbard adds. “If I lived i Vietnam and my name in your language sounded like Eat a D**k, I would change it to avoid embarrassment both on my part and on the part of the people who had to say it.

“I understand you are offended, but you need to understand your name is an offensive sound in my language.”

The emails were posted onto Instagram by the student’s sister along with a video of the professor only referring to the student as P Nguyen.

“As a professor, he should be trying to learn her name and culture and not try to white wash her name. My sister graduated high school thinking she can finally be able to use her name.

“I love that my parents want to keep my culture alive by keeping our Vietnamese name. If you can’t say it then ask.”

Source: Newsweek

In Orange County, Coronavirus-Related Racism Toward Asians Leads To Calls For Action

OC is home to Little Saigon, Little India and — Taiwanese bakery buffs will note — the first U.S. location of 85°C which opened in Irvine.

But in the weeks since the pandemic hit California, anti-Asian incidents have made some in the community feel straight-up unwelcome, and led to a demand for action at the top levels of county government.

More than 200 people signed a letter that was sent to the Orange County Board of Supervisors Wednesday, calling on it to pass a resolution “denouncing the discrimination and hate crimes directed against Asian Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Source: LAist