‘You deserve the coronavirus’: Chinese people in UK abused over outbreak

‘You deserve the coronavirus’: Chinese people in UK abused over outbreak





Published
at
9:10pm 11th February 2020.

(Updated at 3:42am 12th February 2020)

Chinese people in the UK say they are facing increasing levels of racist abuse – and some have had “coronavirus” shouted at them in the street.

One Chinese community group in Birmingham received a Facebook message that said: “The disgusting, barbaric animal cruelty you people do – you all deserve to get the virus.”

Chinese students in Cardiff have told Sky News they have faced abuse while walking to their lectures.

Robin Zhang, a postgraduate, said: “Four guys, standing next to the door, shouting at me and my friend Lucy, we were walking together, saying: ‘Hey! Coronavirus!’

“They were doing the gesture covering their nose and their mouth with the collar of their shirt and then laughing out loud.”

His friend, Lucy Jhu, added: “I feel very sad – I didn’t know how to react at that time. I think the virus is a problem that everyone has to face. I really wish people could fight against the virus together.”

Even as they spoke to Sky News in Cardiff’s St Mary’s Street, someone shouted abuse at their friend Sarah Tan.

Sarah is from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicentre of the outbreak of COVID-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus – and was wearing a face mask at the time.

She said: “My parents worry about me and want me to wear a mask even when I’m in the UK… I’m really frustrated that somebody just shouted coronavirus.”

Cardiff University said in a statement it is aware of discriminatory behaviour relating to COVID-19, takes any form of racial harassment, violence or abuse very seriously, and encourages students and staff to report it.

There are about 400,000 Chinese people living in England and Wales and, in the past few weeks, there have been reports of coronavirus-related abuse in other cities too, including Newcastle, York and Manchester.

Kate Gordon runs the Chinese Community Centre in Birmingham and she says a number of abusive messages have been directed at the organisation and its members.

She said a young British-Chinese girl who was born in the UK was recently targeted by a group of teenage boys.

Ms Gordon told Sky News that the abuse has forced some community centre workers to change their daily routine, adding: “We are very aware now that if we’re standing on a tram or a train or a bus and we’re coughing or sniffing people are looking at us and we feel very conscious.

“And some of us have started to change our work hours so we’re not travelling during peak hours – so we’re sort of almost self-quarantining, just to avoid this negative and hostile environment.”

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Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the UK, told Sky News last week: “There are some cases of hatred, discrimination against Chinese nationals. First, we have raised this issue with the British government and with the police.

“We also issued advice, warning advice to Chinese citizens either living here or travelling to this country.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I deplore any attacks on Chinese communities, on the British-Chinese community.

“This is not about one part of the world it’s about making sure we have a proper response.”

As the number of COVID-19 cases in the UK continues to rise, many Chinese people – already worried about families in China – see life becoming even more difficult.

Original Source