Chinese people in UK targeted with abuse over coronavirus


A spate of racist incidents linked to the coronavirus outbreak are being investigated by UK police, prompting fears among members of the Chinese community that they will face abuse if they wear face masks.

Chinese students in Southampton have been targeted with abuse, including one who had a stone thrown at them and told to go back to their fucking country, and another who was labelled a fucking virus by a passerby because she was wearing a face mask.

A Chinese restaurant worker in the city was also shouted at by a man who cited coronavirus, while a passenger in Portsmouth was reported to have been ordered off a bus by the driver because he was wearing a face mask.

A poster made by Southampton Universitys Chinese Students and Scholars Association which reads: I am not a virus, I am a human.

The four incidents all occurred within the space of three days at the start of the month, according to a dossier compiled by the Chinese Association of Southampton (CAS). Hampshire Constabulary has confirmed it is investigating the reports, with the force warning: Any crime perpetuated through ignorance, prejudice or hate is unacceptable.

Dr Michael Ng, who is chair of CAS, which has around 200 members, said that hostility against the Chinese community was at the worst level he had known since he arrived in the UK 24 years ago.

Its quite scary when you are walking, as a student, to have people shouting at you, throwing stones at you and you are on your own, he said.

I have a lot of PhD students from China who when they come here they like to wear masks because it seems to be something quite common in China because of air pollution and other things but now they wont wear masks. Its because of the threat of being abused, of being called a virus.

The incidents reported to the police, first reported by Portsmouth paper, the News, include someone who had stone thrown at them. The student was walking near Primark in Southamptons city centre on 3 February when they were targeted by a man and woman. The dossier says: The stone missed Offender shouting abuse including the word coronavirus and going back to the fucking country.

In a separate case a day earlier, the dossier records abuse against a female student walking home. Unknown male shouting abuse to her and called her fucking virus, it reads.

Two other incidents were recorded on 1 February, including a resident wearing a face mask who was apparently told to leave a public bus in the Portsmouth area by the driver. First Solent and Stagecoach, which run bus services in Portsmouth, said no complaint had so far been received relating to that incident.

In another case a restaurant worker was harassed while he walked home, according to the dossier which records: Unknown white male shouting abuse to him, including the coronavirus and swearing.

The dossier also includes information about another case, which was not reported to the police, involving Chinese pupils in Portsmouth being shouted at by others in school grounds. The incident prompted the schools head to issue a warning to the entire school about the behaviour.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com

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