Following from the first press release of the Covid19 Anti-Racism Group (CARG) in April, they have just made public their second press statement and intensified their call against racist hate crime by starting an online petition.
Please sign the petition to show your support.
The May 2020 press statement is quoted as follows.
Petition against racism arising from Covid-19. Say no to racism.
Covid-19 Anti-Racism Group (CARG) has started a petition, echoing a similar petition from Australia, to address the increase in racism and hate crime towards British East Asians (Chinese, East and Southeast) arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. The petition is addressed to our Prime Minister asking for a clear declaration that the British Government deplores racism and hate crime arising from Covid-19 against British East Asian people and international students in our country.
In the first 3 months of 2020, there were at least 267 offences against Chinese, East and Southeast Asians people compared with 375 hate crimes in the whole of 2019 and 360 in 2018. Besides these numbers recorded by the police and some incidences highlighted in the press, many go unreported, as racist incidences and hate crime against people of Chinese, East and Southeast Asian heritage in the UK continue to rise.
The impact of racism and hate crime goes beyond the victims, as a climate of fear is generated. The following are comments from people when they registered on the CARG website:
“Not only the world has turned upside down with Covid-19 but as a British Chinese citizen I’m also living in fear for my children and me because of the rising hate crimes …”.
“You would think we would live in a much more tolerant society in the year 2020. I'm very worried about my future, as a British Chinese living in the UK.”
In recent weeks, various media outlets have begun to report on and deplore racism arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as highlighted the contribution made by British East Asians fighting against Covid-19, from frontline services to volunteers providing PPE and food. There are also examples of support from the wider British public. A notable example was the immediate support from residents, councillors, police and social media when a Chinese takeaway had racist slogans sprayed on its frontage. The local primary school also painted a rainbow with the words ‘Love is Stronger than Hate’ to replace the racist slogans.
There are however still many challenges to overcome. A study by Professor Binna Kandola, a visiting Professor at Leeds University and Aston University, surveyed 412 people of Chinese, East and Southeast Asian origins since the outbreak5. The findings are shocking as ‘over a third of people of Chinese heritage had experienced anti-Chinese racism in public places’. Professor Binna warns that incidences and hate crimes are likely to escalate when the coronavirus lockdown lifts.
Globally, Covid-19 related racism is on the rise, not only against people of Chinese, East and Southeast Asian heritage. There have been reports of racist incidences against Africans in China and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres recently announced that the Covid-19 pandemic has unleashed “a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering …. online and in the streets, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have spread, and Covid-19-related anti-Muslim attacks have occurred”.
We therefore continue to urge the press, media, public figures and our political leaders to emphasise solidarity, courage and mutual support across all communities, rather than feed hostility, division and racism. It is right that the origins of Covid-19 and its transmission should be thoroughly researched by scientists. There is however a big difference between critical analysis for learning lessons and weaponising Covid-19 for political gain.
Please visit CARG's website for the full press statement with a list of co-signees.