Coronavirus Discrimination: Asian Americans see rise in hate crimes across the country

SPOKANE, Wash. — Asian Pacific Islander American organizations and leaders are seeing a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in connection to COVID-19 across the country.

“There have been over 1,000 hate crime incidents in the last five weeks,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.)

Chu represents California’s 27th District and is also the Chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) a non-partisan group consisting of Congressional members of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.

In a meeting hosted by APIAVote and TDW+Co, on Thursday Chu joined national leaders denouncing a wave of verbal and physical attacks and calling for unity.

From coast to coast, hate crimes are spreading as the virus spreads.

Cases in New York, Philadelphia, Texas and Washington have caught the attention of civil rights organizations like Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ).

“In many instances, the perpetrator called out the disease being from China or called the victim a diseased person,” said John C. Yang, Executive Director of AAAJ.

Yang believes terms like “China Virus” and “Chinese Virus” have helped ignite discrimination against Americans of Asian heritage.

A photograph captured President Trump’s briefing notes, showing “coronavirus” crossed out and replaced with “Chinese.”

Yet, even the President has changed his stance.

This week on Twitter, he called to protect the Asian American Community and wrote it was “not their fault.”

“Let’s be real, there’s no medical benefit, no scientific benefit for using a term such as “Chinese Virus,” said Yang.

Both Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services are against calling COVID-19 by such terms.

On the World Health Organization website: “WHO announced “COVID-19” as the name of this new disease on 11 February 2020, following guidelines previously developed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).”

In a statement sent to 4 News Now, WA Governor Jay Inslee says he’s repeatedly condemned this rhetoric and “will not back down: There is no place for hate in Washington state.”

Still, watchdog groups remain on alert.

“We have to push back against this xenophobia every time it rears its ugly head,” said Chu.

As of Friday, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office says there have been no reported cases of hate crimes in connection to COVID-19 in their jurisdictions.

Anyone who does experience this can report it to three national hate crime trackers:

Stand Against Hatred

Stop AAPI Hate

AAPI Hate Crimes