Chinese-Australians say they are facing racial abuse and hostility because of coronavirus.
Victims say the attacks are happening both online and in person.
Chinese-Australians report feeling unsafe
Pan, a 27-year-old Australian citizen with Chinese-Malaysian heritage, told SBS News about an incident on a Melbourne tram.
“I was sitting on the tram when a white man came and sat next to me.
“He started talking about how Chinese people are spreading the coronavirus everywhere.
“I told him it wasn’t race-specific, and he kept insisting he was just saying what he had read and seen on the news.
“Public spaces are already fraught for me as an Asian woman, I don’t navigate these spaces feeling entirely comfortable or safe and this incident has exacerbated that feeling.”
Meanwhile, Gold Coast surgeon Rhea Liang tweeted about a patient making jokes about not shaking her hand because of COVID-19:
“I have not left Australia. This is not sensible health precautions, this is #racism.”
Queensland government confirm rise in hostility against Chinese-Australians
The Queensland government also confirmed a rise in “racially motivated” incidents against people of Chinese background in recent days.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll says police have laid 22 charges since 1 March.
The charges include abusive graffiti, assaults, and robberies.
For example, a 15-year-old girl has been charged after allegedly accusing a woman of having coronavirus before punching her in the face several times in Queen Street Mall.
Survey to record incidents
Meanwhile, Queensland Chinese United Council spokesman Michael Choi says referring to COVID-19 as a “Chinese virus” is “unhelpful and unwise”.
“It gives rise to stigmatisation and encourages some people who have bias and prejudice to exercise their prejudices,” he said.
“We have to stay together and work together to combat this enemy of ours.”
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