Xenophobia & Racism
Editors: Lei Zhang, Erika Lee, Eunice Kim
This collection of news reports, perspectives, and other resources documents the rise of xenophobia and anti-Asian racism in the U.S. from late January 2020 to the end of March 2021. The false linkage between COVID-19 and the "uncivilized" Chinese habit of consuming wildlife animals was widespread online from the onset of the pandemic. People of Asian descent were blamed for carrying COVID-19 and spreading it in the U.S. These racial tropes circulating in the media and in public discourses drew upon and revitalized historically-entrenched narratives connecting Chinese people, communities, and spaces to disease. The “Yellow Peril” racial stereotype, which refers to the Western anxiety that Asians and Asian immigrants pose a threat of invasion, also helped to fuel anti-Asian racism. As of the end of July of 2020, more than 2,000 anti-Asian hate incidents had been reported. Asian Americans have been subjected to COVID-related discrimination ranging from micro-aggressions to life-threatening physical assaults. On March 16, 2021, eight people, including six Asian American women, were murdered at Asian-owned businesses in the greater Atlanta area. By the end of March, 2021, over 6,600 hate incidents had been reported to the tracking organization StopAAPI Hate.
Asian Americans have not been the only community impacted and stigmatized by xenophobia and racism during the pandemic. The scapegoating of Latinx immigrants and other immigrants and refugees also increased, with some lawmakers blaming new immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border for increased infection rates.
The Chinese American and Asian American community has been proactive in tracking anti-Asian hate incidents. Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) and the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University launched the Stop AAPI Hate: Report An Incident of Hate, which encourages witnesses and victims of microaggressions, bullying, harassments, and other kinds of violence to report and document the anti-AAPI racism. The OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates has a website on Hate Incidents and a reporting webpage AAPI Hate Crimes where victims can report cases of anti-Asian racism. The 2015 website launched by Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago to track and expose anti-Asian hate crimes continues to be updated in response to the pandemic. The organization also has a COVID-19 Resources/Reference Guide for immigrants, refugees, and community organizers. In addition, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association has offered NAPABA Resources on COVID-19 & Hate Crimes to non-members. Dr. Jennifer Ho (Professor, Ethnic Studies, CU Boulder) has created Anti-Asian Racism & COVID-19—a website and shareable pdf document. Scholars and researchers launched research projects such as the Virulent Hate Project to analyze anti-Asian racism, discrimination, xenophobia, and stigmatization during the COVID-19 pandemic and the AAPI COVID-19 Project, examining how the crisis has shaped the lives of Asians, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the US.
Exacerbating and promoting anti-Asian xenophobia was President Trump's brazen use of racist terms such as "Chinese Virus" and his antagonistic China policy. Numerous conservative lawmakers have also used the pandemic to introduce China-related legislation, fueling a narrative that China and people of Chinese descent in the U.S. pose a threat to U.S. national security. Chinese students and researchers in the U.S. were particularly targeted by new immigration policies. Sinophobia is likely to remain the driving force for anti-Asian xenophobia in the U.S., even after the pandemic fades away.
Xenophobia has also been salient in immigration policy changes. In the name of protecting public health and economic well-being, the Trump administration issued a series of executive orders that restrict legal immigration, deport undocumented immigrants, and deny asylum applications. (See Immigration Policy Bibliography). Although COVID-related xenophobia has targeted Chinese immigrants and Asian Americans, some lawmakers have also blamed Latinx communities for spreading the disease, as infection rates have increased among this group.
The federal government’s response changed dramatically after the 2020 presidential elections. Upon assuming the presidency, President Joseph R. Biden issued a “Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.” On March 18, 2021, the House Judiciary Committee also held historic hearings on Discrimination and Violence against Asian Americans. Following the mass shootings in Atlanta, Asian American protests had sparked a new movement and a new reckoning with anti-Asian racism. On May 20, 2021, President Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law. Still, even as vaccination rates increased and states removed many of the pandemic mitigation restrictions, anti-Asian racism and hate incidents continued to be reported across the country.
This annotated bibliography documents sources that help answer the following questions: How has xenophobia and public health worked together during the pandemic to scapegoat immigrants? In particular, why/how has anti-Asian xenophobia risen during COVID-19? What acts of discrimination, hate crimes, hate speech have occurred? And how does the rhetoric and action behind these acts build upon and further anti-Asian stereotypes, racism, xenophobia? How does anti-Asian xenophobia fit in the context of current U.S.-China relations? How is xenophobia different from and contributing to contemporary sinophobia?
How has xenophobia and public health worked together during the pandemic to scapegoat immigrants?
Thompson, Charles. “Some Blame Latinos for Hazleton’s COVID-19 Outbreak, Echoing Divisions That Once Roiled City.” Pennlive, April 20, 2020. In interviews with Latinos living and working in Hazleton, PA, many state that they are being “unfairly blamed” for the city’s status as having the highest per capita COVID-19 infection rate in Pennsylvania.
Bernal, Rafael. “HHS Chief Suggests Workers Are to Blame for COVID Outbreaks at Meatpacking Plants.” The Hill, May 7, 2020. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar has suggested that “the social habits and living conditions” of workers at meatpacking plants (who are predominately Latinx) were the reason for recent COVID-19 outbreaks at processing facilities.
Marley, Patrick, Ricardo Torres, and Molly Beck. “In Secret Recording, Vos Says Immigrant ‘culture’ Was to Blame for COVID-19 Outbreak in Racine County.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 11, 2020. A recording of Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos during his meeting with Gov. Tony Evers shows that he blamed the immigrant population in his district for their culture and spreading COVID-19. This prompted Latinx groups to call for Vos’s resignation.
Hess, Corrinne. “Vos Takes Heat For Linking ‘Immigrant Culture’ To COVID-19 Outbreak.” Wisconsin Public Radio, June 11, 2020. Shortly after blaming a coronavirus outbreak in Racine County on "immigrant culture," Wisconsin state Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was called on to resign or apologize.
Stein, Letitia, and Brett Murphy. “Feds Explore Whether Latino Immigrants to Blame for Coronavirus Flare-Ups.” USA TODAY, June 18, 2020. Latinx xenophobia becomes more visible as top federal officials question the linkage between the rise in COVID cases and US-Mexican border crossings. Individual officials deny contents of email and note during meetings obtained by USA Today, but nevertheless, the article points to how xenophobia can be used to deflect responsibility from government failures that exacerbates the total case numbers.
Sesin, Carmen. “Latino Leaders Demand Florida Governor Apologize for Linking ‘Hispanic Farmworkers’ to COVID-19 Rise.” NBC News, June 22, 2020. After Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis made comments attributing the state's steep rise in positive COVID-19 tests to "overwhelmingly Hispanic farmworkers" and day laborers, Florida Latino Democratic and civil rights leaders demanded an apology. See also this op-ed by Fabiola Santiago, “Florida Governor Owes an Apology for Blaming COVID-19 Spike on ‘Hispanic’ Workers.” Miami Herald, June 24, 2020.
Conant, Ericka. “Sen. Thom Tillis Blames Hispanics for COVID-19 Surge, Faces Backlash from Top Latinx Leaders.” AL DÍA News, July 20, 2020. After Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) made comments blaming Hispanics for their high rates of COVID-19 cases, Latino leaders criticized the senator, according to AL DÍA News, a Philadelphia-based media company focusing on issues related to Americans of Latino descent.
Weber, Paul, and Nomaan Merchant. “No Evidence Migrants at Border Significantly Spreading Virus.” AP News, March 10, 2021. AP provides a critique of the xenophobic linkage between COVID-19 spread and migrants.
Why/how has anti-Asian xenophobia risen during COVID-19? What is the rhetoric, what acts of discrimination, hate crimes, hate speech have occurred?
Palmer, James. “Don’t blame bat soup for the Coronavirus.” Foreign Policy, January 27, 2020. A video of a Chinese woman eating a bat went viral in the U.S. and Europe. However, the video was about a host of an online travel show sampling a bat at Palau, “an addition to the well-trodden cannon of adventurism and enthusiasm for unusual foods that numerous American chefs and travel hosts have shown in the past.” Foreign Policy reports, “At a time of heightened fear over a viral pandemic, the Palau video has been deployed in the United States and Europe to renew an old narrative about the supposedly disgusting eating habits of foreigners, especially Asians.”
Al-Arshani, Sarah. “A Costco sample-stand worker turned away a kid wearing a face mask because she thought he was from China and could give her the coronavirus.” Insider, January 29, 2020. A sample-stand worker at Costco in Washington told a family to move away because the worker feared that they were from China and had COVID-19. Costco said the worker was employed by a separate company that was taking “appropriate measures” in response.
Maningding, Ranier. “It’s coronavirus season. You know what that means? Racism, Lots of it.” NextShark, January 29, 2020. The article reports on online anti-Chinese racism. It cites a 2019 study that shows a strong connection between the fear of diseases and racial bias, and draws a parallel history between Ebola and COVID-19. (Opinion)
Ong, Jonathan Corpus, and Gideon Lasco. “Coronavirus shows how epidemics can spread racism.” OpenDemocracy, January 30, 2020. News media ranging from Asia to the U.S. have contributed to the narrative of Chinese as disease carriers and the conspiracy theory that COVID-19 is the Chinese government’s secret biological weapon.
Pan, Deanna. “Fears of coronavirus fuel anti-Chinese racism.” Boston Globe, January 30, 2020. The Boston Globe documents cases of anti-Chinese racism in Boston, around the world, and on social media. Several schools in the New England area have suspended their study-abroad programs in China.
Zadrozny, Brandy, Kalhan Rosenblatt, and Ben Collins. “Coronavirus misinformation surges, fueled by clout chasers.” NBC News, January 30, 2020. Accounts of several online platforms have promoted misleading, unverified, and clearly false information about COVID-19 with a mix of fear mongering and racial stereotyping. The authors argue this is an unethical practice to profit from a public crisis.
Lauren, Frias. “UC Berkeley had to apologize for saying anti-Chinese xenophobia is a ‘normal reaction’ to the coronavirus.” Business Insider, January 31, 2020. Business Insider reports that “UC Berkeley is facing backlash for a social media post that called anti-Chinese xenophobia a 'normal reaction' to the Wuhan coronavirus.”
Godoy, Maria. “On Social Media, Racist Responses To Coronavirus Can Have Their Own Contagion.” NPR, February 2, 2020. A podcast episode about anti-Asian racist backlash in which Chinese food and goods were boycotted and Asian Americans were assaulted. (Audio)
Shyong, Frank. “Coronavirus, the outbreak narrative and how our fear fuels our xenophobia and racism.” Los Angeles Times, February 3, 2020. Columnist Frank Shyong draws on his personal experiences to remind readers that the coronavirus “enables the construction of a societal 'other' and then justifies the targeting of it. And the manipulation of public health concerns to justify targeting of minorities has led to some of the biggest stains on American history.” Includes a link to an LA Times short video “An Epidemic of Hate: Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Amid Coronavirus.”
Hu, Jane C. “The Panic Over Chinese People Doesn’t Come From Coronavirus.” Slate, February 4, 2020. COVID-related anti-Chinese racism is part of a much longer history of racialization of Asians as disease carriers.
Pomfret, John. “The coronavirus reawakens old racist tropes against Chinese people.” Washington Post, February 5, 2020. The concerns of the pandemic have awakened anti-Chinese racism that is centuries old. The prejudice against Asians is based on the beliefs that Asians harbor disease and that Asian culture and living habits are backward. Many old stereotypes about the Chinese reemerged when the pandemic outbreak began.
Lee, Marie Myung-Ok. “Wuhan coronavirus" and the racist art of naming a virus.” Salon, February 7, 2020. White supremacy plays a role in the double standard of the naming of epidemics. If the epidemic spreads in the West, it receives a numerical designation such as H1N1; if in regions that Americans have stereotypes toward, it is named after that region: MERS, Asian Flu and Wuhan Coronavirus. There is a racial logic to the naming of a disease or any alien species in America.
Liu, Marian. “The coronavirus and the long history of using diseases to justify xenophobia.” Washington Post, February 13, 2020. Asian Americans, regardless of how long they have been in the U.S., are subject to suspicion and ridicule that they imported COVID-19 into the U.S. The discrimination is rooted in the long history of marginalization and the association between diseases and minority others. (Opinion)
Yan, Holly, Natasha Chen, and Dushyant Naresh. “What's spreading faster than coronavirus in the US? Racist assaults and ignorant attacks against Asians.” CNN, February 21, 2020. Two anti-Asian hate crimes and assaults in L.A. and New York City. A hotel staff member in Indiana harassed Hmong American guests, asking if they are from China. (Video: COVID-19 outbreak leads to racism against Asians)
Torres, Stacy, and Xuemei Cao. “Coronavirus on college campuses: fight fear and racism along with the outbreak.” USA Today, March 1, 2020. Torres and Cao argue that we not only need to educate students about disease prevention, but also “address the growing stereotyping, racism and discrimination that pose long-term threats to our health, economy, and individual and collective psyches.” (Opinion)
Jeung, Russell, Saras Gowing, and Kara Takasaki. “News Accounts of COVID-19 Xenophobia.” Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council, March 2, 2020. The report reviews 216 news articles related to the COVID-19 virus, xenophobia, and discrimination found on the America’s News database over a four-week period: Feb. 9 through March 7, 2020. (Report)
Walker, Alex. “News outlets contribute to anti-Asian racism with careless stock photos on coronavirus coverage.” Media Matters for America, March 3, 2020. This article reports on the contradiction of newspapers which warn against anti-Asian racism in pathogen fears, but then use stock photos of Asians in masks to report on COVID-19 updates.
Escobar, Natalie. “When Xenophobia Spreads Like A Virus.” NPR: Code Switch Podcast, March 4, 2020. CodeSwitch reports that “judging by the volume of emails, comments and tweets we got in response, the harassment has been intense for Asian Americans across the country—regardless of ethnicity, location or age. A common theme across our responses: Public transit has been really hostile.” Features an interview with historian Erika Lee. (Audio)
Lee, Matthew. “Coronavirus fears show how 'model minority' Asian Americans become the 'yellow peril'.” NBC, March 9, 2020. Amid the resurgence of the “yellow peril” stereotype, the “model minority” discourse of Asian Americans may jeopardize the government’s preparation for COVID-19 since measures and actions may overlook certain groups in need. Seeing Asian Americans through either lens will only make coping with the pandemic more difficult.
Rappaport, Nolan. “Will Empathy For Immigrants Survive COVID-19?” The Hill, March 10, 2020. The immigration law expert details ways in which Trump can exclude aliens if there is a nationwide outbreak of COVID-19.
Demby, Gene. “As Coronavirus Spreads, Racism and Xenophobia Are Too.” NPR, March 11, 2020. This podcast episode contextualizes the suspicion and harassment of Asians and Asian Americans regarding COVID-19 in the longer U.S. history of camouflaging xenophobia and racism as public health and hygiene concerns. Interview with historian Erika Lee. (Audio)
Ramirez, Rachel. “Xenophobia amid the coronavirus pandemic is hurting Chinese immigrant neighborhoods.” Vox, March 14, 2020. Vox reports that “with dim sum restaurant closures and empty senior centers, some worry Brooklyn’s Sunset Park may never recover.” Anti-Asian racism and xenophobia play an important part in the loss of business and fear to seek help.
Rizzuto, Max. "U.S. Politicians Exploit Coronavirus Fears with Anti-Chinese Dog Whistles." Medium, March 17, 2020. An analysis by the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab tracks the evolution of the terms "Chinese virus" and "Wuhan virus" by media outlets and conservative politicians.
Riechmann, Deb. “Trump Dubs COVID-19 'Chinese Virus' despite Hate Crime Risks.” AP News, March 18, 2020. Trump and members of his administration have continued to use racism to describe the COVID-19 pandemic even after scientists have reported that COVID-19 doesn’t respect borders and is not caused by ethnicity. The use of this racist and xenophobic rhetoric has been linked to the increase in anti-Asian violence and the use of racist rhetoric on white nationalist websites.
Chow, Serena. “Documenting Hate: Asian American Nonprofits Create Websites to Monitor and Report Discrimination Linked to Coronavirus.” AsAm News, March 19, 2020. Responding to the alarming rise in hate crimes against Asian people tied to the coronavirus outbreak, several Asian American groups have announced the creation of websites for individuals to document incidents of discrimination and speak out collectively against hate. In California, Chinese for Affirmative Action, the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), and the San Francisco State Asians American Studies Department announced that they have joined together to open a reporting center of hate crimes.
Chiu, Allyson. “Trump has no qualms about calling coronavirus the ‘Chinese Virus.’ That’s a dangerous attitude, experts say.” Washington Post, March 20, 2020. Experts criticize Trump’s use of “Chinese virus” as encouraging racism against Asian Americans. Includes a link to a video story about Rep. Judy Chu’s response to the president’s repeated ‘Chinese virus’ rhetoric. (Video)
Brownell, Kristen. “Despite what Trump says, my Chinese students are not the face of this virus.” Guardian, March 20, 2020. Chinese international students in the U.S. are more isolated and vulnerable during the pandemic. They are alone in the U.S. and they cannot return home anytime soon. At one restaurant in LA, Chinese students were asked to leave while their white caucasion teacher was allowed to stay. At a school’s PTA meeting, some parents requested the organizer to ask a Chinese couple in the back to leave.
Tavernise, Sabrina, and Richard A. Oppel Jr. “Spit On, Yelled At, Attacked: Chinese-Americans Fear for Their Safety.” New York Times, March 23, 2020. As bigots blame them for the coronavirus and President Trump labels it the “Chinese virus,” many Chinese Americans say they are terrified of what could come next. As Trump insisted on calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus,” hate crimes and harassments of Asians continued to rise.
Aratani, Lauren. “‘Coughing while Asian’: living in fear as racism feeds off coronavirus panic.” The Guardian, March 24, 2020. A passenger on a flight took photos of an Asian passenger and wrote to her friend, “there’s a lot of them. Pray for me.” Trump doubled down on the use of “Chinese virus” and other politicians continued to link the virus with the Chinese habit of eating wildlife animals. Anti-Asian racism continued to surge among the U.S. public.
Margolin, Josh. “FBI Warns of Potential Surge in Hate Crimes against Asian Americans amid Coronavirus.” ABC News, March 27, 2020. The FBI warns that Asian Americans will face more hate crime incidents in the U.S., “based on the assumption that a portion of the US public will associate COVID-19 with China and Asian American populations.” This report notes a March 14 incident in Midland, Texas, with "three Asian American family members, including a 2-year-old and 6-year-old, were stabbed … The suspect indicated that he stabbed the family because he thought the family was Chinese, and infecting people with the coronavirus."
Gladstone, Brooke. “A Different Way of Thinking About the Coronavirus.” On the Media, April 3, 2020. A podcast episode on the use of war metaphor in describing the efforts against COVID-19 in various countries. The metaphor can lead to racism and xenophobia, as Eula Biss from Northwestern University said. (Audio)
Editorial Board. “EDITORIAL: Hate crimes against Asian Americans are unacceptable.” Observer-Reporter, April 5, 2020. An FBI report has forecast an increase in hate crimes against Asian-Americans because of the coronavirus. U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, a California Democrat, says reports of hate crimes against Asian Americans are averaging about 100 per day. (Opinion)
Macguire, Eoghan. “Anti-Asian hate continues to spread online amid COVID-19 pandemic.” Al Jazeera, April 5, 2020. Al Jazeera reports that “racist abuse of Asians continues on social media despite pledges by Facebook, Twitter and TikTok to tackle issue.” Social media has become a fertile ground for the contention between racist and anti-racist rhetoric. (Videos: “COVID-19: Hate crimes against Asians on the rise in US”, “The Geopolitical Battle for the COVID-19 Narrative”)
Sampathkumar, Mythili, and Maya Shwayder. “Cyberbullying Is On The Rise During The Coronavirus Pandemic. Here’s what parents can do.” Digital Trends, April 8, 2020. Mental health professionals and child advocates noticed that the COVID-19 cyberbullying among teens and children has been on the rise.
ImmigrationProf Blog. “California study tracks hate crimes against Asian Americans amid COVID-19 outbreak.” April 10, 2020. There have been many reports of anti-Asian violence in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council has been tracking the reports of racism and hate crimes against Asian Americans.
Barbaro, Michael. “I Become a Person of Suspicion.” The Daily, April 10, 2020. Jiayang Fan, a staff writer at the New Yorker, talks about her experience of coming to the U.S. and growing up as a Chinese American, relationship with her mother, a first-generation immigrant from China, and the harassment that Fan experienced during the pandemic. (Audio)
Hong, Cathy Park. “The Slur I Never Expected to Hear in 2020.” New York Times, April 12, 2020. “I never would have thought that the word ‘Chink’ would a resurgence in 2020,” Hong wrote. In this piece, Hong talks about her personal experiences during the pandemic, documents hate crimes against Asians and shows the racism against Asians in the past. She astutely points out the insidious effect of “model minority” and conditional existence for Asian Americans: “White supremacy ensures that once the pressure of persecution is lifted even a little from one group, that group will then fall upon the newly targeted group out of relief and out of a frustrated misplaced rage that can never touch, let alone topple, the real enemy.” The anti-Asian hate also did not abate despite stay-at-home orders.
Feinberg, Ayal. "Hate crimes against Asian Americans have been declining for years. Will the coronavirus change that?" Washington Post, April 13, 2020. In the past two decades, the number of anti-Asian hate crimes has been on the decline, but the FBI warned that they are likely to increase, though COVID-19 “shelter-at-home” orders may help insulate Asian communities from bias and hate, according to Feinberg.
Zhou, Li. “Anti-Asian racism is on the rise during the coronavirus pandemic.” Vox, April 21, 2020. Vox reports that “anti-Asian racism is nothing new in America—and Trump is making it worse.”
CAA and A3PCON. “In One Month, STOP AAPI HATE Receives almost 1500 Incident Reports of Verbal Harassment, Shunning and Physical Assaults.” STOP AAPI HATE, April 24, 2020. STOP AAPI HATE, April 24, 2020. Within the first month of its founding, STOP AAPI HATE received almost 1,500 reports of xenophobia and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Incidents spanned all ages, genders, and private and public places across the U.S. Experts say this shows three trends: the “impact of China-bashing by politicians,” targeting vulnerable groups, and Asian Americans blatantly having their civil rights infringed. (Press statement)
Ellerbeck, Alex. “Over 30 percent of Americans have witnessed COVID-19 bias against Asians, poll says.” NBC News, April 28, 2020. NBC News reports that “more than 30 percent of Americans have witnessed someone blaming Asian people for the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new Ipsos survey conducted for the Center for Public Integrity.”
Richwine, Jason. “On the Correlation Between Immigration and Viral Spread.” Center for Immigration Studies, April 28, 2020. The author argues against the Cato Institute’s research which shows no relationship between foreign-born share of the population and the rate of COVID-19 infections and deaths. Richwine criticizes the research for overlooking the fact that immigration increases population density and thus increases the likelihood COVID-19’s spread.
Zakaria, Fareed. “On GPS: How Covid-19 has fueled racism in the US.” CNN, May 3, 2020. Fareed Zakaria’s interview with writer Jiayang Fan and historian Erika Lee on the impacts of Trump’s anti-Chinese rhetoric regarding COVID-19 on Asian Americans. (Video)
Chotiner, Isaac. “How Racism Is Shaping the Coronavirus Pandemic.” The New Yorker, May 7, 2020. African-Americans in the U.S. represent a third of COVID-19 deaths and over 30% of COVID-19 cases, even though they only make up 13% of the total U.S. population. Hammonds points to how this finding is nothing new and uses history to draw comparisons to how the U.S. response to COVID-19 is unsurprising. (Q&A)
Ellison, Sarah, and Elahe Izadi. “Trump’s ‘ask China’ response to CBS’s Weijia Jiang shocked the room—and was part of a pattern.” Washington Post, May 12, 2020. Trump told Jiang to “ask China that question” when the Chinese American journalist asked the president why he kept saying the U.S. was doing better than other countries and yet Americans were still losing their lives. Trump’s anti-China rhetoric was projected onto the Chinese American journalist.
“Covid-19 Fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide.” Human Rights Watch, May 12, 2020. The report documents the surge of racism and xenophobia in different countries including the U.S., China, Russia, India, the U.K., Australia, and Sri Lanka, and the authorities’ reactions to it.
Jan, Tracy. “Asian American doctors and nurses are fighting racism and the coronavirus.” Washington Post, May 19, 2020. Asian American medical workers have to deal with racism from their patients while treating them. (Video: Three Asian-American medical providers on the front lines of the pandemic spoke with The Post about the racial discrimination they faced as the virus spread)
Andrew Chow, "Violence Against Asian Americans Is on the Rise - But It's Part of a Long History." Time, May 20, 2020. Attacks against Asians and Asian Americans have grown as COVID-19 has spread across the world. But as the new docuseries Asian Americans (PBS) shows, this violence can be traced all the way back to the 19th century.
Price, John. “Racism Is on the Rise. And Asian Canadians Are Fighting Back.” TheTyee.ca, May 22 2020. Dakota Holmes, an Indigenous woman, was assaulted by a white male who yelled anti-Asian racial slurs at her in a Vancouver park. Another racist bully assaulted a woman when she intervened in the bully’s harassment of three Asian women wearing masks on a bus. Activists and various organizations are coordinating to resist anti-Asian racism locally and across Canada. (Video: New Democratic Party MLA Bowinn Ma castigates Trump and rock star Bryan Adams for messaging that “encourages people to embrace bias about other people, as though they are righteous”)
Huffington Post. “How the Coronavirus is Exposing America’s Anti-Asian Racism.” May 28, 2020. Historian Erika Lee and executive director of Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council Manjusha Kulkarni talked about how coronavirus exposed anti-Asian racism in U.S. history and what we can do about it. (Video)
Randall. “Surge of anti-Asian graffiti seen in San Mateo near San Francisco.” AsAmNews, May 31, 2020. Anti-Asian graffiti including phrases such as “China disease” appeared in San Mateo County where 21% of its residents are Asian Americans.
Yam, Kimmy. “Officer who stood by as George Floyd died highlights complex Asian American, black relations.” NBC News, June 1, 2020. Asian American activists have described Tou Thao, the Hmong American officer in the police murder of George Floyd, as “a symbol of Asian American complicity in anti-blackness. Experts say that this is “a pivotal moment for Asian Americans to tackle the subject of anti-blackness in a productive way, beginning with unpacking the biases in their own communities by first confronting the historical context behind it.” Experts contextualized the biases within Asian communities, offered suggestions of how to build Asian-black solidarity, and informed us about the dangers of not doing so. (Video: “I can’t breathe, officer.”)
Supchina. “The US Sinophobia Tracker: How America is becoming unfriendly to Chinese students, scientists, and scholars.” June 10, 2020. This website keeps track of paranoid rhetoric, visa restrictions, the targeted policing of China-connected research, charges against Chinese and Chinese American researchers and scientists in the U.S. But COVID-related Sinophobia is not tracked in detail here.
Borja, Melissa, Russell Jeung, Aggie Yellow Horse, Jacob Gibson, Sarah Gowing, Nelson Lin, Amelia Navins, and Emahlia Power. “Anti-Chinese Rhetoric Tied to Racism against Asian Americans Stop AAPI Hate Report.” Chinese For Affirmative Action, June 22, 2020. The report offers a comprehensive analysis of anti-China rhetoric in hate incidents which can be categorized into: virulent animosity; scapegoating of China; anti-immigrant nationalism; parroting of the term; Orientalist and racist depictions.
Chadwick, Jonathan. “Social media is 'fuelling prejudice' against Chinese people.” Daily Mail, June 12, 2020. A recent survey of 277 white Americans shows that those who trust what they read on social media are more likely to discriminate against Chinese people as a consequence of the pandemic. Since people tend to use social media more often due to the pandemic-related social isolation, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter risk becoming fertile grounds for racism. (Video: Shocking Moment Man Attacks Asian Couple)
“Remarks by President Trump at the 2020 United States Military Academy at West Point Graduation Ceremony.” White House, June 13, 2020. Trump’s repeated use of “China” in relation to the virus. “I want to take this opportunity to thank all members of America’s Armed Forces in every branch—active duty, National Guard, and reserve—who stepped forward to help battle the invisible enemy—the new virus that came to our shores from a distant land called China. We will vanquish the virus. We will extinguish this plague.”
“Donald Trump calls Covid-19 'kung flu' at Tulsa rally.” The Guardian, June 20, 2020. Trump used the racist term “Kung Flu” at a campaign rally in Tulsa Oklahoma. “It has more names than any disease in history. I can name kung flu. I can name 19 different versions of names,” he said to cheers from the crowd. (Videos: Trump calls coronavirus 'kung flu' and says he slowed testing; White House defends Trump's use of racist phrase to describe coronavirus)
Coleman, Justine. “Trump again refers to coronavirus as 'kung flu'.” The Hill, June 23, 2020. When addressing a young conservative group in Phoenix on June 23, Trump again used the term “Kung flu.” The White House press secretary Kayleigh MacEnany defends Trump’s use of the racist term. (Video)
Chan, Sewell. “The link between anti-Black racism and Trump's 'kung flu' comment.” Los Angeles Times, June 22, 2020. Chan argues that Trump’s use of “kung flu” and other racist language is a “pseudo-event,” a term describing the tactic of generating media attention and publicity in public relations. The author also points out that anti-Asian racism and anti-Black racism are in tandem; “the ‘kung flu’ comment is but a taste of the kind of verbal abuse that Black Americans routines face in our society.” Chan wrote, “Chinese immigrants had to carry permits to prove they had entered the United States legally, just as Black people in an earlier era had had to prove that they had permission to be away from places where they were enslaved or employed.” (Opinion)
Zhou, Li. “Trump’s use of "kung flu" is his latest effort to stoke xenophobia.” Vox, June 23, 2020. Despite the uptick in anti-Asian racist hate crimes and assaults, Trumps continues to refer to COVID-19 as “China virus” and “Kung Flu” during his campaign rallies.
Young, Robin, and Allison Hagan. “Trump's Racial Slurs To Describe Coronavirus Put Health Care Workers, Patients At Risk.” WBUR, June 25, 2020. Trump’s racial slurs for COVID-19 such as “Chinese virus” undermines patients’ trust in doctors who look Asian American, causing problems in health care. (Audio)
Kambhamaty, Anna Purna. “Asian Americans Share Experiences of Racism During COVID-19.” Time, June 25, 2020. Ten Asian Americans share their experiences of being assaulted because of their race during the pandemic.
Farivar, Masood. “US Watchdog Tracks Over 2,100 Anti-Asian Incidents.” Voice of America, June 27, 2020. STOP AAPI HATE, an anti-Asian hate tracker has tracked more than 2,100 anti-Asian hate incidents, “a troubling figure that Asian American advocates say is being fueled in part by political rhetoric against China during the coronavirus pandemic.” The tracker also found that “reports of anti-Asian discrimination spiked after Trump repeatedly used the term ‘Chinese virus.’” The surge in anti-Asian hate crimes also surged in Australia, Canada, and Europe. “This is a global pandemic of hate,” said Asian American writer and activist Helen Zia.
Ruiz, Neil G., Juliana Menasce Horowitz, and Christine Tamir. “Many Black and Asian Americans Say They Have Experienced Discrimination Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak.” Pew Research Center, July 1, 2020. Pew Research Center found that “Asian and Black Americans are more likely to report adverse experiences due to their race or ethnicity since the pandemic began.” “Sizable shares of Black and Asian adults say they worry other people might be suspicious of them if they wear a mask in public.” (Report)
Jennewein, Chris. “Report: 800 Hate Incidents Targeted Asian Americans in California During Pandemic.” Times of San Diego, July 1, 2020. Asian Americans in California have reported 832 cases of discrimination and harrassment in the past three months.
Ellwood, Beth. “Study ties social media to discrimination against Chinese Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.” PsyPost, July 1, 2020. A new study suggests that the more Americans trust their daily social media outlets, the more likely they are to believe that Chinese Americans are a threat to the U.S. The public’s increasing reliance on social media gave rise to prejudice and racism against Chinese Americans.
Shoichet, Catherine E. “Covid-19: Asian and Black Americans say they're facing more discrimination.” July 1, 2020. According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, about 40% of Asian and Black Americans say the people have acted uncomfortable around them since the pandemic. 31% of Asian Americans say they’ve been subject to racist slurs or jokes, and 23% are distressed about potential physical attack. Also, many Black and Asian Americans worry they’ll be eyed with suspicion if wearing a mask in public. (Video: “I’ve told to go back to my own country.”)
Huang, Josie. “'You Started The Corona!' Asian American Californians Have Reported Over 800 Hate Incidents During Pandemic.” LAist, July 1, 2020. The article reports on cases of anti-Asian hate crimes and responses from Asian American community leaders.
“Video shows CEO's racial rant against Asian American family.” CBS News, July 8, 2020. The video has several clips of disturbing physical and verbal assaults of Asian Americans. Since March, more than 2000 cases of anti-Asian assaults have been reported. (Video: CEO's racial rant against Asian American family).
Fuchs, Chris. “‘Definitely no,’ I’m not a spy: Student describes toll of visa ban targeting China tech theft.” NBC News, July 9, 2020. A new Trump Administration directive will bar any Chinese nationals from coming to the U.S. on graduate school or research visas if they have had any previous affiliations to the Chinese military. The purpose of this is to prevent China from stealing any science and technology from the U.S for military gains. But it can also turn away many Chinese students and researchers doing real work.
Basler, Cassandra. “Virus of Hate: Plagues and Anti-Asian Racism, Then and Now.” WSHU Public Radio, July 16, 2020. Disease related anti-Asian racism dates back to more than a century ago. Racism and xenophobia have also hindered disease prevention and treatment.
Hsu, Tiffany. “Anti-Asian Harassment Is Surging. Can Ads and Hashtags Help?” New York Times, July 21, 2020. The New York Times reports that “with more than 2,000 incidents and little action from the federal government, efforts to curtail pandemic-related racism have fallen to P.S.A.s and social media campaigns.”
“Stop AAPI Hate National Report.” Stop AAPI Hate, August 5, 2020. Stop AAPI Hate reports that it has received 2,583 reports of anti-Asian nationwide since it began tracking incidents on March 19, 2020.
“They Blamed Me Because I am Asian: Findings from Youth-Reported Incidents of Anti-AAPI Hate.” Stop AAPI Hate, September 17, 2020. Findings from the Stop AAPI Hate Youth Campaign based on 990 interviews with AAPI youth.
Jeung, Russell, Aggie J. Yellow Horse, Anna Lau, Peggy Kong, Krysty Shen, Charlene Cayanan, Mai Xiong, and Richard Lim. “Stop AAPI Hate Youth Report.” Stop AAPI Hate, September 17, 2020. 16% of all hate incidents reported to Stop AAPI Hate related to discrimination involving youth nationally.
Nguyen-Truong, Michael. “We Must Confront Anti-Asian Racism in Science.” Scientific American, September 22, 2020. Nguyen-Truong, a Ph.D. candidate at Colorado State University, argues for the need for more inclusion and positive change in STEM. (Opinion)
“The Return of ‘Yellow Peril’: Anti-AAPI Rhetoric and Policies Leading up to the 2020 Election.” Stop AAPI Hate, October 21, 2020. Reviewing anti-Asian American rhetoric by politicians in the months preceding the 2020 presidential election, especially on Twitter, researchers found that over 1 in 10 included racist or stigmatizing language, all of which came from Republican politicians.
“Georgia Report.” Stop AAPI Hate, December 2020. From March 20, 2020 to October 28, 2020, there were 32 incidents of hate in Georgia reported to Stop AAPI Hate.
“Los Angeles County Report.” Stop AAPI Hate, December 2020. From March 19, 2020 to October 28, 2020, there were 245 incidents of hate in Los Angeles County reported to Stop AAPI Hate.
Sitthivong, Felix. “Coronavirus Has Sparked Another Epidemic in My Prison: Anti-Asian Racism.” The Marshall Project, December 4, 2020. Sitthivong, an organizer and advisor for the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Awareness Group, shares the circulation of anti-Asian racism within the prison where he is incarcerated.
Ainsley, Julia. “Sixty-Nine Percent of Undocumented Immigrant Workers Have Jobs ‘essential’ to Fighting Covid, Says Study.” NBC News, December 16, 2020. Along with interviews with immigrant workers on the frontline, NBC reports on the study by pro-immigration reform group FWD.US that undocumented immigrant workers are 69 percent of essential workers during a pandemic, and 70 percent of such immigrant workers have stayed more than 10 years in the U.S. The study pushes back on various immigration policies the Trump administration has been pushing forward, including a potential TPS rollback.
Asian American Bar Association of New York. “A Rising Tide of Hate and Violence against Asian Americans in New York During COVID-19: Impact, Causes, Solutions,” February 2021. Report examining the explosive rise in anti-Asian hate and violence in New York City in 2020; factors and causes, as well as actions politicians, law enforcement, and community organizations have taken. (With a forward by Frank H. Wu, President of Queens College, City University of New York.)
Frew, Nicholas. “USask Researcher Examines Anti-Asian Racism on Twitter throughout COVID-19 Pandemic.” CBC News, February 8, 2021. University of Saskatchewan researcher Zhi Li plans on reviewing roughly 80 million tweets to track how anti-Asian racism has risen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hutchinson, Bill. “Arrest Made in Street Attack of 91-Year-Old California Man.” ABC News, Feb 9, 2021. Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong announced that 28-year-old Yahya Muslim has been arrested in connection with the attacks.
Zhou, Li. “A wave of violent attacks renews focus on anti-Asian racism.” Vox, February 10, 2021. The pandemic has brought with it a surge of anti-Asian racist incidents since it began in the U.S., but there has been a rise in attacks against specifically elderly Asian Americans in the last several weeks. The xenophobic violence is the result of many blaming Asians for the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Shapiro, Ari. “Unpacking The Surge In Violence Against Asian Americans.” Audio. All Things Considered. NPR, February 10, 2021. NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with VICE staff writer Bettina Makalintal about the recent surge in violence against Asian Americans.
Cowan, Jill. “A Tense Lunar New Year for the Bay Area After Attacks on Asian-Americans.” The New York Times, February 12, 2021. Lunar New Year celebration is nothing like what it was before, after a long year of pandemic-affected economy that affected small businesses such as banquet halls and restaurants, spike in assaults and hate-crime against Asian Americans, and rise in burglary and thefts that some interviewees saw as “an extension of wider suffering in the pandemic.”
Song, Zijia Eleanor, and Jennifer Vázquez. “Study Shows Rise of Hate Crimes, Violence Against Asian Americans During the Pandemic.” NBC New York, February 12, 2021. New coverage on Stop AAPI Hate’s most recent report, with a video interview with activist Amanda Nguyen.
Vang, Seashia, and Erika Nguyen. “Anti-Asian Violence in US Demands Response.” Human Rights Watch, February 12, 2021. Human Rights Watch analysts call for federal and local governments to invest in community safety.
Zakaria, Fareed. “Last Look: A Shocking Surge in Anti-Asian Racism.” CNN, February 14, 2021. Zakaria examines the spike in racist incidents targeting Asians that has gone hand in hand with the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Harris, Mary. “Pandemic-Fueled Anti-Asian Violence Hasn't Ended. It's Getting Worse.” Slate, February 17, 2021. Slate podcast interview with Kim Tran, a Vietnamese American Oakland native, historian, and “anti-oppression consultant.”
Wang, Qian Julie. “Opinion | Anti-Asian Racism Isn’t New.” The New York Times, February 18, 2021. Author Wang discusses their experiences with anti-Asian racism. (Opinion)
Cheng, Anne Anlin. “Opinion | What This Wave of Anti-Asian Violence Reveals About America.” The New York Times, February 21, 2021. Cheng (comparative race scholar and author) argues “how racial violence goes unexamined when it doesn’t fit neatly into the standard narrative of race in America.” It is not just Black and white. Racism can reveal “layered victimizations and mediated enmity.” (Opinion)
Petri, Alexandra E., and Daniel E. Slotnik. “Attacks on Asian-Americans in New York Stoke Fear, Anxiety and Anger.” The New York Times, February 26, 2021. A wave of xenophobia and violence has been compounded by the economic fallout of the pandemic, which has dealt a severe blow to New York’s Asian-American communities. Many community leaders say racist assaults are being overlooked by the authorities.
Fuller, Thomas. “He Came From Thailand to Care For Family. Then Came a Brutal Attack.” The New York Times, February 27, 2021. A profile of Vicha Ratanapakdee, who was recently murdered in San Francisco.
Lee, Jennifer, and Tiffany Huang. “Re-Imagining Safety, Belonging, and Justice in the Wake of Anti-Asian Violence.” Brookings, March 2, 2021. Brookings reports on the sudden attention the U.S. media outlets have in regards to acts of violence and xenophobia against the Asian-American community, but points out that this has been happening since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The article discusses the impact that xenophobia rhetoric by the previous administration and lack of action by the present one has had in perpetrating a culture that scapegoats Asian-Americans for the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kelley, Alexander. “Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Have Surged Nearly 150 Percent in Major U.S. Cities.” The Hill, March 11, 2021. Referring to Stop AAPI Hate’s published report, The Hill notes that the ethnicities of assault victims are: “a plurality of 41 percent identify as being Chinese or of Chinese origin” with other ethnicities such as “Korean, Vietnamese, and Filipinos also reporting attacks.”
Taylor, Derrick Bryson, and Christine Hauser. “What to Know About the Atlanta Spa Shootings.” The New York Times, March 17, 2021. Breaking news on the murder of eight people, including six Asian American women at three Asian-owned businesses in the greater Atlanta area.
Wu, Nicholas. “Will Atlanta Shootings Spur Action on Anti-Asian Hate Crime Laws?” USA Today, March 17, 2021. Reporting on the murders in Atlanta and reactions by lawmakers and others calling for more government response to anti-Asian racism.
Yam, Kimmy. “Racism, Sexism Must Be Considered in Atlanta Case Involving Killing of Six Asian Women, Experts Say.” NBC News, March 17, 2021. After the police officials put forward the claim that the shooter’s actions did not have any racial motivations, scholars and advocates argued that race and sexism have always impacted society’s attitudes towards Asian American women and pointed to the historical fetishization of Asian women.
Nicole Hong and Jonah E. Bromwich, “Asian Americans are Being Attacked. Why are Hate Crime Charges so Rare?” New York Times, March 18, 2021. Amidst a rise in reports of violence against Asian Americans, many incidents have either not led to arrests or have not been charged as hate crimes. Asian Americans are divided over the best measures to curb the violence.
Jeong, May. “Opinion | The Deep American Roots of the Atlanta Shootings.” The New York Times, March 19, 2021. (Opinion) Writer Jeong offers an important perspective that places the Atlantic killings within the context of a horrific history of violence against Asian sex workers. Jeong argues that sex work is an overlooked civil rights issue. “Anti-Asian violence is also anti-women violence, anti-poor violence, and anti-sex-work violence, that our fates are entwined, that fighting oppression means fighting oppression not just in one’s own narrowly defined community, but also everywhere,” Jeong writes.
Cowan, Jill. “Looking at the Rise of Anti-Asian Racism in the Pandemic.” The New York Times, March 19, 2021. Examines the difficulty in tracking and recognizing anti-Asian racism. Activist Helen Zia argues that anti-Asian racism is often discounted and dismissed. Cowan suggests that because there is no unified Asian American experience, it has been difficult to talk about the discriminations that Asian Americans face.
Ashley Wong and Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks, “‘Unbearable’: Sacramento Asian Communities, Stunned by Atlanta Shootings, Demand Change,” Sacramento Bee, March 18, 2021. Reporting on one of the CA newspapers that began to revisit the state’s long history of anti-Asian discrimination and violence in the wake of the Atlanta shootings. The LA Times also published similar historical assessments.
Alba, Davey. “How Anti-Asian Activity Online Set the Stage for Real-World Violence.” The New York Times, March 19, 2021. An analysis of how racist memes and posts about Asian Americans on platforms such as Telegram and 4chan created fear and dehumanization.
Gstalter, Morgan. “Trump Reference to COVID-19 as ‘Chinese Virus’ Prompted Increase in Anti-Asian Hashtags: Study.” The Hill, March 19, 2021. Reports on a recent University of California, San Francisco study that examined nearly 700,000 tweets containing more than 1.2 million anti-Asian hashtags in the days before and after President Trump first tweeted the phrase “Chinese virus” in reference to COVID-19 in March 2020.
Kim, Juliana, Sean Keenan, and Richard Fausset. “Protesters Gather in Atlanta to #StopAsianHate.” The New York Times, March 20, 2021. Reporting on the Stop Asian Hate march and rally in Atlanta protesting the killing of eight people, six of them Asian American women.
Chen, Brian X. “There Is No Rung on the Ladder That Protects You From Hate.” The New York Times, March 20, 2021. Technology writer Chen reflects on how the rise in anti-Asian racism and the recent murders in Atlanta reveal that despite the great diversity of Asian Americans (income, ethnicity, national origin, religion), they share experiences of discrimination. “Could confronting racism bring solidarity across their class divides?” Chen asks.
“Biden Says Americans Must Stand Against Hate Following Shootings of Asian Americans.” VOA News, March 20, 2021. VOA reports on the Biden administration’s urging to pass the “COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which would expedite the federal government’s response to the rise of hate crimes exacerbated during the pandemic, support state and local governments to improve hate crimes reporting and ensure that hate crimes information is more accessible to Asian-American communities.” (Video)
Mitra, Durba, Sara Kang, and Genevieve Clutario. “It’s Time to Reckon with the History of Asian Women in America.” Harper’s BAZAAR, March 23, 2021. The writers argue that the Atlanta killings demand a reckoning with “overlapping histories of racism, militarism, and policing that have made Asian diasporic women invisible to Americans except when condemned through ideas of illicit sex.”
How does anti-Asian xenophobia fit into the context of current US-China relations? What is the rhetoric, what policy changes or proposals have been put in place?
Mead, Walter Russell. “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia.” Wall Street Journal, Feb 3, 2020. Mead criticized the Chinese government for covering up the virus which turned out to be more contagious than the SARS virus in 2003. The evocation of the term “sick man of Asia” which has a colonial connotation in Chinese history infuriated the Chinese, boosting anti-American and nationalist sentiments in China. (Opinion)
Monyae, David. “Epidemic exposes West’s colonial mentality.” China Daily (Hong Kong version), Feb, 18, 2020. Monyae, the director for the Centre for Africa-China Studies at the University of Johannesburg, argues that “xenophobia, ideological bias and the West’s fear of China’s rise are the triple burdens that hinder the fight against the novel coronavirus in China.” (Opinion)
Wong, Tessa. “Sinophobia: How a virus reveals the many ways China is feared.” BBC, Feb 20, 2020. Sinophobia, particularly racism against Chinese mainlanders, is on the rise in Europe, the U.S., Australia, Japan, and even Hong Kong. Overseas Chinese and Asian Americans also feel anxious over discrimination. (Video: Parents Say Children are being bullied at school for being “Chinese and carrying the virus.”)
Cotton, Tom, and Mike Gallagher. “China stole US capacity to make drugs--we must take it back.” Fox News, March 25, 2020. The two legislators introduced the Protecting Our Pharmaceutical Supply Chain From China Act to end the U.S. dependence on Chinese drugs. They believe that China’s dominance in the world market for basic drugs is dangerous for the U.S. during wars and pandemics. (Video)
Beinart, Peter. “Trump’s Break With China Has Deadly Consequences.” The Atlantic, March 28, 2020. Beinart wrote that “after scuttling its partnership with Beijing on public health, the U.S. was unprepared for the pandemic.” The U.S. cooperation with China during the 2003 SARS outbreak protected Americans: only 27 Americans were infected and there were zero deaths. Responding to China hawks’ call for a “decoupling” from China, Beinart offers a timely review of U.S.-China cooperation in public health under the Bush and Obama administrations. (Opinion)
Baker, Brandon. “Why Asian-American racism is rampant during the coronavirus.” Penn Today, March 31, 2020. In this interview, Professor Josephine Park discusses how the racist use of “Chinese virus” to describe the pandemic is connected to the history of anti-Asian racism in the U.S. Park also notes that Trump’s deliberate use of the term is inseparable from the U.S. trade and cyber wars with China, pointing to imperial competition; the “China virus” racism locates in the large geopolitical contest.
Aydin, Serkan. “Sinophobia vs. coronavirusphobia.” Daily Californian, April 7, 2020. Despite historical causes for Sinophobia, the present trigger is the rise of China’s economic and military power. Since most political commentaries regard China as a security threat, it is unsurprising that the coronavirus becomes another Western excuse for Sinophobia.
Liu, Andrew. "Blaming China for coronavirus isn’t just dangerous. It misses the point." The Guardian, April 10, 2020. Liu argues that “this pandemic is a creature of capitalist globalisation, not any single country. ‘Chinese culture’ is a convenient scapegoat.” To criticize the China-bashing syndrome in the West is not to defend China, but to recognize and confront the political-economic forces behind the anti-China backlash. (Opinion)
Corasaniti, Nick, Jeremy W. Peters and Annie Karni. “New Trump Ad Suggests a Campaign Strategy Amid Crisis: Xenophobia.” New York Times, April 10, 2020. Trump’s xenophobic ad deceptively suggests Gary Locke Ex-Governor of Washtngton is Chinese, calling Joe Biden soft on China. (Video: Biden stands up for China)
DiResta, Renee. “For China, the ‘USA Virus’ Is a Geopolitical Ploy.” The Atlantic, April 13, 2020. The Chinese official media and some of its diplomats picked up the rumors online that COVID-19 is a U.S. military “bioweapons,” and they turned it into a trope of “USA virus.” Rumor mongering is used by both sides in the China-U.S. information war over the origin of COVID-19.
Tharoor, Ishaan. “It’s not just Trump who’s angry at China.” Washington Post, April 13, 2020. Many other countries including Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Britain and their politicians have directly and indirectly challenged China over the pandemic. Some nationalist leaders also echoed the American right-wing media’s use of the “Chinese” or “Wuhan” virus.
Ang, Yuen Yuen, Amy Celico, Elizabeth Knup. A Webinar on “Covid-19 and the U.S.-China Relationship: Collison or Collaboration?” National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, April 14, 2020. The webinar focuses on how the pandemic affects U.S.-China relations. The pandemic is a catalyst for the worsened relationship. The Trump administration’s increasing hostility toward China is validating China’s long-held suspicion that the U.S. would not tolerate its rise, according to Yuen Yuen Ang. (Webinar)
Aziz, Sahar. “Anti-Asian racism must be stopped before it is normalised.” Al Jazeera, April 16, 2020. Just as Muslims and Arab Americans were scapegoated for 9/11 terrorist attacks, Asians and Asian Americans were blamed for COVID-19.
“UN Migration Responds to COVID-19.” International Organization for Migration, April 16, 2020. The organization criticizes hate speech and xenophobia that have emerged during the pandemic. "During the COVID-19 outbreak, some of the most vulnerable people in our societies have become targets of hate speech and xenophobia...Public health should not be based on an 'us versus them' narrative. COVID-19 does not discriminate, and neither should we." (Video)
Martin, Jonathan, and Maggie Haberman. “A Key G.O.P. Strategy: Blame China. But Trump Goes Off Message.” New York Times, April 19, 2020. The Republicans believe that blaming China for the pandemic may be the best way to win the election, but Trump who was eager to continue trade talks sent conflicted messages on China, muddying Republican efforts to fault China. Joe Biden also in his campaign video criticized Trump’s praise of China.
Cotton, Tom. “Coronavirus and the Laboratories in Wuhan.” Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2020. Tom Cotton suspects that COVID-19 was leaked by two labs that study viruses from bat species in Wuhan. Attached to the op-ed is a video clip entitled “a Communist virus” by the WSJ which suggests that the Communist regime’s coverup of COVID-19 has led to the global pandemic. (Opinion and video: "A Communist Virus")
Itkowitz, Colby. “Republican strategy memo advises GOP campaigns to blame China for coronavirus.” Washington Post, April 25, 2020. The leaked Republican strategy memo drafted by a D.C.-area GOP strategist advises Senate candidates to blame China and avoid discussing Trump’s handling of the pandemic.
Krasny, Ros. “GOP Senator Says Don’t Let Chinese Students Study STEM in U.S.” Bloomberg, April 26, 2020. Tom Cotton said on Fox that Chinese students should not be allowed to study STEM and they should focus on Shakespeare. He deemed a “scandal” that Chinese students study in the U.S. only to return home “to compete for our jobs, to take our business, and ultimately to steal our property.”
Rampell, Catherine. “Why Tom Cotton’s immigration idea makes no sense.” Washington Post, April 27, 2020. Tom Cotton’s proposal to restrict Chinese students studying science in the U.S. would have financial repercussions on U.S. universities. Since immigrants trained STEM are critical for the U.S. economy and its military might, barring Chinese STEM students will only undermine the U.S. ability to compete. (Opinion)
Zwetsloot, Remco. “Sen. Tom Cotton suggested Chinese STEM students head home after studying in the U.S. The research shows otherwise.” Washington Post, April 28, 2020. Research based on data from the National Science Foundation showed that in nearly every STEM field 85-90% of Chinese graduate students intend to stay in the U.S. Another study showed that 85% of Chinese science and engineering Ph.D. graduates were still in the U.S. 5 or 10 years after graduation.
Christensen, Thomas J. “A Modern Tragedy? Covid-19 and U.S-China Relations.” The Brookings Institute, May 2020. The policy brief contends that the crossfire between the U.S. and China over the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to catastrophic results to the world. It calls for a ceasefire between the sides on the accusation of each other. The brief also lists six key areas where the two countries should seek cooperation. (Report)
“Exclusive: Internal Chinese report warns Beijing faces Tiananmen-like global backlash over virus.” Reuters, May 4, 2020. An internal report by the Ministry of State Security in China warns that China faces a rising wave of hostility in the wake of the pandemic. The anti-China hostility is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square Crackdown.
Koo, George. “Tom Cotton leads the China attack.” Asia Times, May 5, 2020. Tom Cotton, the “No. 1 coronavirus China hawk,” charged that COVID-19 was leaked from a research institute in Wuhan and that China deliberately let the virus spread to the world.
Portman, Rob. “On Senate Floor, Portman Outlines Upcoming Bipartisan Legislation to Stop China’s Theft of U.S. Taxpayer-Funded Intellectual Property.” Rob Portman Senate Website, May 13, 2020. The senator from Ohio discussed how China’s lack of transparency led to the spread of COVID-19. In particular, he accused the Chinese Communist Party of allowing people to travel “not to the parts of China...but to the rest of the world,” which led to over 4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the globe. Portman introduced a bill to crack down on China’s intellectual property theft.
Davidson, Helen. “China hacking poses 'significant threat' to US Covid-19 response, says FBI.” The Guardian, May 14, 2020. According to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, organizations researching on COVID-19 may be targeted by computer hackers linked to the Chinese government.
Borger, Julian, and Emma Graham-Harrison. “Donald Trump and Xi Jinping: are China and US on collision course in a new cold war?” The Guardian, May 17, 2020. Both parties have sought to increase the chances of winning the election by bashing China, and Trump went far to say “we would cut off the whole relationship, but experts say the bilateral relationship is probably the most connected in the world. On the Chinese side, with its slowing economy, the Communist Party has resorted to anti-Western nationalism to consolidate its power.
Fukuyama, Francis. “The China Challenge: What Kind of Regime Does China Have?” The American Interest, May 18, 2020. Speaking on how to deal with Xi’s China in the post-pandemic era, the political scientist argued that “the starting point is to recognize that we are dealing with an aspiring totalitarian country like the mid-20th century Soviet Union.” And “more broadly, the United States and other liberal democracies need to begin a gradual economic disengagement from China.” Fukuyama was also concerned that the CCP’s outreach to overseas Chinese known as “sharp power” may threaten academic freedom in U.S. academia and elicit suspicions of and prejudice against Chinese Americans.
Caputo, Marc. “Anti-China sentiment is on the rise.” Politico, May 20, 2020. As Trump and Biden attack each other for being soft on China, anti-China hostility is on the rise in the U.S. The polling by Pew Research Center in April, 2020 shows that two thirds of Americans have a negative view of China.
Hawley, Josh. “Senator Hawley Gives Floor Speech on Reforming the Global Economy, Preventing China’s Domination.” Josh Hawley Senate Website, May 20, 2020. Josh Hawley took to the Senate floor to make the case for reforming the global economy and preventing China’s domination. He said, “Now imperialist China seeks to remake the world in its own image, and to bend the global economy to its own will...The threat of China to the free world grows by the day. If the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t make that clear, nothing will.”
Rick, Scott. “Sen. Rick Scott Leads Colleagues in Bill to Protect COVID-19 Vaccine Research from Communist China.” Rick Scott Senate Website, May 21, 2020. The website reports that “senators Rick Scott, Mike Braun, Marsha Blackburn, Joni Ernst, Martha McSally, Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz introduced the COVID-19 Vaccine Protection Act to prevent Communist China from stealing or sabotaging American COVID-19 vaccine research.” The bill demands a thorough vetting and investigation of all Chinese student visa holders taking part in activities related to COVID-19 vaccine research.
Gancarski, A.G. “Rick Scott says every Chinese citizen is a Communist spy.” Florida Politics, May 27, 2020. Scott introduced a legislation that would require a “thorough vetting” of students from China who claim they are coming to the United States to help with COVID-19 vaccine research. When discussing the legislation, Scott asserted that “every citizen of Communist China by law has to spy on behalf of their country.” Elsewhere in March in an interview at the Hudson Institute, Scott made similar comments on Chinese citizens as Communist spies.
Wong, Edward, and Julian E. Barnes. “U.S. to Expel Chinese Graduate Students With Ties to China’s Military Schools.” New York Times, May 28, 2020. The Trump administration plans to cancel the visas of Chinese students and researchers who have direct ties to Chinese universities affiliated with the Chinese military. The Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China came into effect on June 1, 2020.
Nowrasteh, Alex. “We Should “Confront” China by Liberalizing Chinese Immigration.” Cato Institute, May 29, 2020. Nowrasteh notes that despite China’s luring of its students and scholars to return with enticing pay such as the “Thousand Talents Programs,” 90% of Chinese STEM doctorate recipients were still in the U.S. after a decade. Although Cotton and Trump’s restriction on Chinese students were out of national security concerns, their solutions would only strengthen the Chinese state. Nowrasteh’s proposal is to drain the best minds from China by offering them more immigration opportunities such as “every Chinese national with a college degree should be able to get a work permit or green card without numerical cap.”
Hughes, Siobhan. “Sen. Tom Cotton’s Next Mission: Carrying Trump Banner After Trump.” Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2020. Cotton is increasingly exerting influence on Trump’s policies regarding immigration, China, and the use of force on protesters.
Tillis, Thom. “COVID-19 exposes the threat of China’s theft of American intellectual property.” The Hill, June 10, 2020. Thom Tillis, a North Carolina senator, wrote, “while America rewards and incentivizes innovation, China rewards and incentivizes the theft of American innovation. Chinese government-affiliated hackers are trying to steal and disrupt important research at companies and institutions who are developing essential diagnostics, treatments, and cures for COVID-19. It’s a threat to our national security.”
Price, John. “White Supremacy in ‘British’ Columbia, and the China Syndrome.” The Tyee.ca, June 10, 2020. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sinophobia morphed into anti-Asian racism. Sinophia has historically demonized China as a source of disease, cheap labor, and a moral threat, but with China’s rise, it is deeply entangled in geopolitical rivalries. China’s current authoritarian system, its increasing dominance in technology such as 5G and assertive stance in international relations have made the West more anxious.
Cheng, Yangyang. “This Land is Not Your Land | Yangyang Cheng.” SupChina, June 25, 2020. Questioning “whom, or what, do borders and the military protect?” Cheng argues that “as COVID-19 alters the world as we know it, and governments exploit the crisis to amass power...we must rethink safety versus security, and reimagine community beyond the confines of a state.” (Opinion)
Wganger, Caroline S. “The Trump administration is curtailing visas for Chinese scientists. That could backfire.” Washington Post, June 26, 2020. Both Trump’s ban on work visas and restriction of Chinese researchers and graduate students’ entry could damage U.S. science and innovation. The very best and brightest students and researchers tend to remain in the United States (less so in Europe). China’s science and technology has emulated the U.S., and the decoupling and cut of cooperation would be detrimental to scientific research in the U.S. “Since January 2020, our analysis shows that researchers from the two countries have co-published more than 700 English-language articles on the coronavirus.” (Opinion)
Brennan, David. “Racism Makes Chinese Students in US More Likely to Support Beijing: Study.” Newsweek, June 30, 2020. A group of researchers from the U.S. and China found that Chinese students in the U.S. are more likely to support China’s authoritarian system after being exposed to racist anti-Chinese comments. In their study, they also found that experiencing discrimination does not make their respondents more likely to criticize the U.S. government; “it only makes them less likely to criticize the Chinese government and more supportive of the Chinese regime.”
Coleman, Justine. “Trump says he is becoming 'more and more angry at China' over spreading virus.” The Hill, June 30, 2020. Surges of new cases are taking place in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. On June 30, 2020, Trump tweeted, “As I watch the Pandemic spread its ugly face all across the world, including the tremendous damage it has done to the USA, I become more and more angry at China. People can see it, and I can feel it!” (Video)
Braun, Stephen, and Jason Dearen. “Trump's ‘strong wall' to block COVID-19 from China had holes.” Associated Press, July 4, 2020. Although Trump constantly referred to his February ban on travelers from China as his signature move against COVID-19, which he called a “strong wall,” an analysis shows that more than 8,000 Chinese nationals and foreign residents from Hong Kong and Macau arrived in the U.S. in the first three months after the ban. Also, at least 1,600 U.S. residents arriving from China were not tracked for their development of symptoms.
Ferguson, Niall. “Is the US in a New Cold War? China Has Already Declared It.” Bloomberg, July 5, 2020. To Ferguson who coined the term “Chimerica,” the coming of what he predicts will be a "new Cold War" has to do with both Trump’s America First strategy and the change in China’s foreign policy in 2008 four years before Xi came to power. Ferguson believes the disintegration of Chimerica is inevitable because the new Cold War to China is “intergalactic Darwinism.” (Opinion)
“Group Says Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Increase during Pandemic.” Voice of America, July 5, 2020. At least 2,100 anti-Asian hate incidents have been reported in the United States since March. Asian American activists say the racism is being fueled in part by political speeches against China in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. (Audio)
Lemon, Jason. “Trump adviser claims China sent "weaponized virus," calls Joe Biden the "candidate of the Chinese Communist Party.” Newsweek, July 12, 2020. Peter Navarro told Fox News that "we were cruising along until the Chinese Communist Party basically hit us with that deadly virus, that weaponized virus," and “And I don't think it's any coincidence that the first year that China had a down economy was the same year now that they're coming after us in all sorts of ways.”
Mozur, Paul, and Edward Wong. “U.S. Weighs Sweeping Travel Ban on Chinese Communist Party Members.” New York Times, July 15, 2020. The Trump administration is considering a sweeping ban on travel to the U.S. by the Chinese Communist Party members and their families. The population of CCP members in China is 92 millions. The Times reports that “it would further poison U.S.-China relations, even after several years of open clashes over economics, technology and global influence have led some diplomats and analysts to draw comparisons to a new Cold War.”
Miller, Maggie. “House Republicans urge Trump to take action against Chinese hackers targeting coronavirus research.” The Hill, July 20, 2020. Top GOP leaders in the House wrote a letter to Trump, urging the President to take action including levying sanctions on China-backed hackers. On July 7, the FBI director Chrsitopher Wray said, “at this very moment, China is working to compromise American health care organizations, pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions conducting essential COVID-19 research.”
Agence France-Presse. “Trump calls wearing mask ‘patriotic’ in fight against ‘invisible China virus’.” South China Morning Post, July 21, 2020. Trump wore a mask in the public for the first time. He wrote in a tweet, “we are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance.” (Video)
Wong, Edward, Lara Jakes and Steven Lee Myers. “U.S. Orders China to Close its Houston Consulate in 72 Hours.” New York Times, July 22, 2020. The Trump administration ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, accusing Chinese nationals of stealing scientific research. David R. Stilwell, who oversees policy for East Asia and the Pacific at the State Department, said some of China’s attempted scientific thefts in the United States had accelerated over the last six months, and could be related to efforts to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, although he did not present evidence to this claim.
Pompeo, Michael. “Communist China and the Free World's Future - United States Department of State.” U.S. Department of State, July 23, 2020. State Secretary Pompeo declared the failure of U.S. engagement policy with China since half a century ago and called on the world to confront China in a speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. (Video)
Choi, David. “Trump-endorsed GOP candidate says Chinese students should be banned from studying chemistry and physics in the US.” Business Insider, July 31, 2020. According to a video footage, Bryant Messner who is running for U.S. senate, argued that Chinese students should only be allowed to learn about “freedom and individual liberty,” “not study the hard sciences, computer science, physics, chemistry,” because hard sciences are being weaponized by the Chinese Communist Party. Messner also applauded Trump’s increasingly antagonistic China policy.
Jeung, Russell, Tara Popovic, Richard Lim, and Nelson Lin. “Anti-Chinese Rhetoric Employed by Perpetrators of Anti-Asian Hate.” Stop AAPI Hate, October 11, 2020. Between March 19 and August 5, 2020, Stop AAPI Hate received 2,583 incidents of anti-Asian hate. 789 (30.5%) included mentioned of anti-Chinese rhetoric. The types of language and terms employed by perpetrators could be categorized into five major themes: virulent animosity, scapegoating of China, anti-immigrant nativism, racist characterizations of Chinese, and racial slurs.
How have Chinese Americans and Asian Americans responded?
Chu, Judy. “As Coronavirus Fears Incite Violence, CAPAC Members Urge Colleagues to Not Stoke Xenophobia.” Judy Chu House of Representatives Website, February 26, 2020. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) sent a letter to fellow members of Congress “urging them to help stop the spread of xenophobia and misinformation by only sharing confirmed and verifiable information pertaining to COVID-19, how it spreads, and how Americans should protect themselves.”
Barton, Champe. “Asian-Americans Terrified of Coronavirus Backlash Stock Up on Guns.” The Daily Beast, March 6, 2020. “People are panicking because they don’t feel secure,” said David Liu, who is Chinese American and owns Arcadia Firearm and Safety, which is just east of Los Angeles. “They worry about a riot or maybe that people will start to target the Chinese.” Liu said his store had seen a fivefold increase in sales over the past two weeks.
“A Letter from the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.” NCAPA, March 11, 2020. NCAPA urges leaders in Congress to “call for unity, and publicly denounce the increase in racist attacks and discrimination against the Asian American community.”
NYT Opinion. “How Coronavirus Racism Infected My High School.” New York Times, March 17, 2020. In this Youtube video, a group of Chinese American high schoolers spoke out against COVID-19 related racism. (Opinion and video)
Lieu, Ted. “Trump is stoking xenophobic panic in a time of crisis.” Washington Post, March 18, 2020. Lieu, a House Representative, argues that Trump’s use of “Chinese virus” stokes xenophobia against Asian Americans who have been subject to long-term discrimination in this country. To conceive COVID-19 as a Chinese or foreign virus, as Trump’s rhetoric indicates, severely compromised Trump’s early response of only barring foreign nationals from China. (Opinion)
Gura, David. "George Takei: Trump's usage of 'the Chinese virus' is a 'signal to the haters'." MSNBC, March 21, 2020. An interview in which "Actor and activist George Takei says President Trump calling COVID-19 'The Chinese Virus' sends 'a cold chill throughout the Asian-American community, because he’s sending a signal to the haters.” (Video)
Shyong, Frank. "Column: ‘It’s just too much’: Asian Americans confront xenophobia, economic devastation and the coronavirus." Los Angeles Times, March 23, 2020. The LA Times reports that "Asian American communities whose support systems have already been eroded by gentrification are fighting to protect their most vulnerable residents. And for months, they’ve been suffering an economic slowdown fueled by misplaced xenophobic fear."
Moniuszko, Sara. “George Takei says he's 'chilled' by Trump's coronavirus rhetoric; Awkwafina addresses 'cruelty’.” USA Today, March 24, 2020. USA Today reports that "George Takei and other stars are calling out President Donald Trump for his use of the term "Chinese virus" to refer to the coronavirus." Takei reminded us of the long history of anti-Asian hatred as well as the recent hate crime against Asians.
Meng, Grace. “Meng Introduces Resolution to Denounce Anti-Asian Sentiment Caused by Coronavirus.” Grace Meng House of Representatives Website. March, 25, 2020. U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives that denounces the anti-Asian sentiment caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus. (Document)
Gilman, Azure. “Asian-American community leaders describe anxiety and prejudice amid coronavirus outbreak in New York City.” Marketwatch, March 31, 2020. Asian American community leaders in New York City condemned Trump’s use of “Chinese virus” and expressed concerns including businesses in Chinatown that has been hit the hardest, racial harassment of Asian Americans, and lack of support of residents who don’t speak English. They have advocated for government support of small businesses that have been affected and worked with people on how to deal with potentially dangerous encounters on the street.
Tie, Shizheng. “Coronavirus has unmasked America’s sinophobia.” Johns Hopkins News-Letter, March 31, 2020. During the crisis of pandemic, Chinese international students are not only viewed by Western lenses as “Communist stooges” (Tom Cotton’s term) but also as a plague. Travel restrictions may also terminate their visas for those who are out of the country for over five consecutive months if they fail to keep up with the schoolwork. (Opinion)
Yang, Andrew. “Andrew Yang: We Asian Americans are not the virus, but we can be part of the cure.” Washington Post, April 1, 2020. Yang called on his fellow Asian Americans to prove their Americanness to confront racism and biases. The piece espousing the model minority discourse drew criticism from Asian American communities. (Opinion)
Zia, Helen. “Targeting Asians and Asian Americans will make it harder to stop covid-19.” Washington Post, April 1, 2020. Recalling the anti-Japanese racism in the 1980s and Islamophobia after 9/11 terrorist attacks, Asian American activist and writer Helen Zia makes the point that scapegoating and racism will not cure COVID-19 but only put people in danger.
Zhou, Li. “Andrew Yang Told Asian Americans to Prove Their Americanness. Here’s Why That’s Wrong.” Vox, April 3, 2020. Zhou argues it is deeply flawed for Yang to claim that Asian Americans need to make themselves more palatable to those who discriminate against them. It is a misguided theory of “respectability politics.” (Opinion)
Zhan, Jennifer. “Harris, Duckworth, Hirono to introduce companion Senate resolution condemning anti-Asian racism amid COVID-19.” AsAmNews, April 3, 2020. AsAmNews reports that “Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) announced their intention on Thursday to introduce a resolution in the Senate denouncing anti-Asian racism and sentiment prompted by COVID-19.”
Xiao, Jiwei. “Fearing For My Mother in Wuhan, Facing a New Sinophobia in the U.S.” New York Review of Books, April 6, 2020. Chinese immigrants worried about their relatives in China when the pandemic broke out. At the same time, they are concerned with their own safety in the U.S. due to Sinophobia.
Fu, Chen. “COVID-19: Asian-American Doctor On Being ‘Both Celebrated And Villainized At The Same Time.” Time, April 9, 2020. Chen Fu, a Chinese American doctor, talks about his experience of confronting COVID-19 on the frontline while experiencing anti-Asian racism. (Video)
Willman, Turner, and Jason Chang. “Unmasking Yellow Peril.” 18 Million Rising, April 21, 2020. An analysis of the centuries-long yellow peril. The website 18 Million Rising brings Asian Americans together online and offline to reimagine Asian American identities and build coalitions with the understanding of intersectionality.
Cho, John. “ John Cho: Coronavirus reminds Asian Americans like me that our belonging is conditional.” Los Angeles Times, April 22, 2020. The model minority myth provides the illusion of “raceless-ness,” “seduces Asian Americans and recruits us to act on its behalf.” If you see or hear racist hatred on the street, in your family or at work, “stand up for your fellow Americans.” (Opinion)
Schultz, Kai, and Sameer Yasir. “For Indian Diaspora, Panic and Anger Over Trump’s Immigration Plans.” New York Times, April 22, 2020. Indian immigrant workers in the U.S. tech industry are distressed about Trump’s immigration restrictions when he halted issuing green cards for 60 days.
“Community Responses to Immigration Suspension.” Immigration Prof, April 23, 2020. A compilation of statements responding to Trump’s suspension of immigration made by Asian American and immigration activist groups.
"#HateIsAVirus (Michelle Hanabusa, Bryan Pham, Tammy Cho)." Asian America: The Ken Fong Podcast, April 28, 2020. In this podcast, “Michelle Hanabusa, Bryan Pham, and Tammy Cho talk about creating #HateIsAVirus, a social media campaign raising $1 million to support small Asian-owned businesses and bringing awareness of racism in the community due to COVID-19.” (Audio)
Xiaoqing, Rong. “Asian American rally against all hate as COVID-19 fuels fanatics.” Global Times, May 27, 2020. The East Coast Coalition for Tolerance and Non-Discrimination (ECC), a college student’s organization founded by a college freshman from China at NYU, started a project called “Combat Covid and Emergency Relief” to raise money to donate protective equipment to U.S. hospitals. Mao, the founder of the ECC, recalled that a man called him “you virus” and poured water on his face in early February.
“Statement from Stop AAPI Hate: Chinese Student Expulsion Builds on Politically-Fueled Racism Against Asian Americans.” Los Angeles Post, June 1, 2020. In response to the Trump administration’s plan announced today to cancel the visas of thousands of Chinese graduate students and researchers in the United States, Stop AAPI Hate, the leading aggregator of incidents against Asian Americans during the pandemic, noted a disturbing connection between the proclamation and the president’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric around COVID-19.
Shim, Elizabeth. “Asian Americans take campaign against 'Kung Flu' slur to the streets.” United Press International, June 27, 2020. Some Asian Americans have started campaigns against Trump’s use of “Kung Flu” racial slur. But others were unsure about the campaigns. Nelson Wong, a businessman in Chinatown who experienced anti-Asian racism when he was growing up in the 1970s, saw no problems with Trump linking the virus with China.
“New Report: 800+ Reported Incidents of Anti-AAPI Hate in California Since COVID.” A3PCON, July 1, 2020. The Stop AAPI Hate report shows that up to July 1, 2020, “Asian Americans in California have self-reported 832 incidents of discrimination and harassment in the last three months, including 81 incidents of assault and 64 potential civil rights violation.” (Document)
Green, Nick. “Torrance rally Saturday, July 11, to mark 1 month since viral racist incident.” Daily Breeze, July 10, 2020. A coalition of Asian American organizations in Southern California will hold a rally on July 11, a month after the racist verbal assault and threat against an Asian American woman at Torrance’s Wilson Park a month ago.
Mizes-Tan, Sarah. “Coronavirus A Major Concern For Asian Americans In Sacramento Region, Poll Shows.” Capital Public Radio, July 14, 2020. A poll over the Sacramento region shows that 80% of Asian residents thought that people needed to focus on stopping the spread of COVID-19 compared to just over half of respondents from other racial groups. 75% of Asian respondents are concerned that they will be targets of COVID-19 related hate incidents.
Medenilla, Klarize. “Poll: Majority Asian Americans believe race relations have worsened, feel unhopeful about COVID-19 recovery.” Asian Journal, July 18, 2020. According to a comparative poll conducted by Asain American United for Self-Empowerment (CAUSE) in partnership with Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) and Los Angeles Urban League, 76% of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) believe that the economy will continue to get worse and 77% believe that reopening and lifting of the stay-at-home orders were too quick. 44% of APAs believe that race relations in America are good or excellent, a 13% decrease from 57% in February. 68% of APAs in California acknowledged that Asians can be targets of racism. 54% of APs believe that the police use of force against unarmed black people shows systemic racism and 56% believe that recent protests have promoted racial unity and optimism.
Yam, Kimmy. “Taiwanese immigrant who invented N95 mask on working amid COVID-19 racism.” NBC News, July 15, 2020. Peter Tsai, the Taiwanese American who invented the N95 mask, spoke about the rise of anti-Asian racism. To Tsai, once an international student in the 1980s and an immigrant, immigrants always have to work harder and contribute more to native-born citizens to gain respect.
Wu, Frank. “Visa Restrictions and Lawsuits: Chinese Students Under Fire.” The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, July 15, 2020. In this podcast, Queens College President Frank Wu spoke about the increasing scrutiny of Chinese students and researchers in the U.S. due to the surge of Sinophobia since the pandemic, and the restriction’s potential damage to American competitiveness. (Video)
“Volunteers Band Together To Keep Community Safe With Racist Attacks Against Asian Americans On The Rise.” CBS New York, July 24, 2020. Confronted with the rise of anti-Asian assaults, many Asians, older immigrants in particular, will not report bias attacks. The group Concerned Asain American Citizens of New York launched a “Stop the Hate” campaign which designed a multilingual poster explaining how to report a hate crime. Volunteers have also formed a group called Chinatown Block Watch to patrol the streets and protect residents. (Video)
Weik, Taylor. “For Asian Americans, food deserts encompass both income and culture.” NBC News, July 30, 2020. Every week, the local nonprofit group API Forward Movement delivers hundreds of 5-pound tote bags filled with local produce to hospitals, churches and community groups in L.A. County. While Asian Americans are often perceived as economically secure, nearly 1 in 4 AAPIs in California struggles with poverty.
Pham, Loan Anh. “Racist anti-Asian attacks spur guns purchases by foreign Chinese students in US.” AsAmNews, July 31, 2020. The number of first-time Chinese and Asian American gun owners is on the rise as COVID-related racist assaults continue to occur. The U.S. gun culture is also appealing to foreign-born Asian Americans since many Asian countries bar private ownership of guns.
How have organizations, local and federal governments responded?
"Countering coronavirus stigma and racism: Tips for teachers and other educators [handout]." National Association of School Psychologists, 2020. The National Association of School Psychologists offers tips for teachers and educators to prevent racist harassment at school. (Document)
“OCA COVID-19 Advocacy — OCA National Center.” OCA-Asian Pacific Advocates, 2020. In a series of press releases, the non-profit national organization denounced racism and Trump’s racist tweets and endorsed bills that would protect small business and expand voting access during COVID-19 crisis. (Document)
Dahlen, Sarah Park. COVID-19 Anti-Asian Racism Resources for K-12. May 1, 2020. A professor of library and information science, Dahlen shares resources for K-12 educators and parents to understand and fight racism in this document. (Document)
Asian American/ Asian Research Institute. “CORONA Conversations, CUNY FORUM Volume 8:1 (2020).” City University of New York, 2020. From May to August, the CUNY FORUM features “essays; analysis; literary, graphic, and poetic responses; conversations and community resources around the global COVID-19 pandemic and the linked Black Lives Matter protests from comparative Asian American and international Asian perspectives.”
“The Racial Impacts of Covid-19: Regularly Updated News Articles.” Embracerace, 2020. The website collects and updates links to news articles that tell the story of COVID-19’s impact on Black, Indigenous and other communities of color.
“Stop Repeating History Condemns Trump's Racist Rhetoric Toward Chinese Americans.” Stop Repeating History. March 20, 2020. The Stop Repeating History Campaign issued a statement to condemn Trump’s racist language describing COVID-19 and his use of “Chinese virus.” (Video: President Trump Attacks Asian Americans.)
Brown, Robin Terry. “Educators Take a Stand Against Coronavirus Racism.” neaToday, March 23, 2020. With the rise of COVID-related racism, teachers nationwide have been making efforts to educate their students about COVID-19 and race to deter the spread of racism at school.
Redden, Elizabeth. “Scholars v. COVID-19 Racism.” Inside Higher Ed, April 2, 2020. Asian American studies scholars are confronting coronavirus-related racism in their teaching, research and outreach.
“Countering Xenophobia and Anti-Asian Violence.” Coalition of Asian American Leaders, April 10, 2020. Featuring historian Erika Lee and Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero, the webinar discusses history of racism, measures in place to protect communities, and what can be done more to fight xenophobia and racial violence. (Webinar)
Yam, Kimmy. “Senate Democrats call for federal action on anti-Asian coronavirus racism.” NBC News, April 10, 2020. Three Senate Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Duckworth, and Mazie Hirono, spearheaded a letter that called on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to take “robust” action against the rise of anti-Asian racism since the pandemic’s outbreak.
“COVID-19: Threats to Democracy and to Public Safety Through the Lens of the Asian American Experience.” American Bar Association, April 13, 2020. In this webinar, panelists discuss our nation’s history of racial scapegoating; the consequences when alternative facts are substituted for evidence and scientifically supported data; the role of the media; and how we, as a country, can stand together to simultaneously defeat COVID-19 and preserve democracy. (Webinar)
“Foreign policy experts call for end to hate crimes against Asian American community.” USA Today, April 15, 2020. Foreign policy experts and scholars have signed to call upon U.S. leaders to take actions against anti-Asian racism.
“How Xenophobia Spreads Like a Virus.” University of Minnesota China Center, April 21, 2020. Historian Erika Lee discussed the rise of xenophobia amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “The rise and racism and xenophobia that we're seeing during this public health crisis is both old and new.” (Webinar)
“Xenophobia and Racial Profiling During the Coronavirus Pandemic w/ Russel Jeung & Cynthia Choi.” Chinese Historical Society of America, April 23, 2020. In this webinar, Asian American studies experts and organization leaders including Russell Jeung, Cynthia Choi, and Kristen Sze discuss how we can work as a community to stop AAPI hate. (Webinar)
Lefko, Jim. “Resolution aimed at hate speech targets anti-Chinese COVID-19 references.” News 4 San Antonio, May 7, 2020. The City Council of San Antonio passed a resolution to condemn hate speech as a necessary measure to fight anti-Chinese sentiments. (Video)
“UN Secretary-General’s Global Appeal to Address and Counter COVID-19 Related Hate Speech.” United Nations, May 8, 2020. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres calls for “an all-out effort to end hate speech globally.” (Video)
“MPR Virtual Town Hall: Spotlight on Anti-Asian Racism during COVID-19 Pandemic.” Minnesota Public Radio. May 12, 2020. A virtual town hall meeting on anti-Asian racism with panelists Bo Thao-Urabe, director of Asian American Leaders, Rebecca Lucero, commissioner of Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Erika Lee, Regents Professor at UMN and Sam Ouk, equity program coordinator at Faribault Public Schools. (Video)
Kaur, Harmeet. “California is now offering support to undocumented immigrants, in the first relief fund of its kind.” CNN, May 18, 2020. Undocumented immigrants in California can begin applying for financial assistance to support them during the pandemic. This is the first state funding effort directed towards undocumented immigrants whose employment and finances were affected by COVID-19.
"Cities, States, Elected Officials, Influencers, and Organizations Stand United on National Asian American and Pacific Islander Day Against Bullying and Hate." Act to Change, May 18, 2020. Act to Change, a nonprofit organization addressing bullying including AAPIs, launched a virtual event “UNITED WE STAND” featuring AAPI influencers, leaders, and allies on fighting racism. (Video)
Chow, Serena. “FBI and Los Angeles Law Enforcement organize Virtual Hate Crime Summit to address anti-Asian hostilities.” AsAmNews, May 31, 2020. AsAmNews reports that “Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) held a virtual summit...to discuss escalating anti-Asian hostilities and provide information on hate crimes and bias-related incidents.”
Ho, Jennifer and John Pomfret. “Anti-Asian Racism in the United States and Sino-American Relations.” National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, June 2, 2020. In this webinar, Jennifer Ho and John Pomfret spoke about “the history of anti-Chinese/Asian racism in the U.S., the impact of coronavirus-related racism, and the importance of uniting across our communities to stand up against all forms of discrimination.” (Webinar)
“MOCA FORUM: Asian American Allyship for Black Lives Matter - Part 1 ft. Gov. Gary Locke and Frank Wu w. Nancy Yao Maasbach.” Museum of Chinese in America, June 19, 2020. The webinar features the former Governor Gary Locke and President of Queens College Frank H. Wu, offering an inward examination of racism in Asian American communities. (Webinar)
Tio, Michelle. “Hollaback! and Asian Americans Advancing Justice Offer Free Bystander Intervention Trainings to Combat Anti-Asian COVID-19 Racism.” Rafu Shimpo, July 2, 2020. Since March, the two organizations Hollaback! and Asian Americans Advancing Justice have teamed up to offer free bystander intervention trainings to combat the recent rise in anti-Asian/Pacific Islander (API) discrimination.
Museum of Chinese in America. “MOCA Forum: Asian American Allyship for Black Lives Matter - PART 2 ALLYSHIP.” July 14, 2020. The webinar features Precious Owodunni, president of Mountaintop Consulting and Nancy Yao Maasbach, MOCA president, discussing how Asian Americans can build allyship with Black Lives Matter movements and advance toward racial equity. (Webinar)
“Stop Repeating History: Asian Pacific Americans at the Dawn of a New Civil Rights Era.” OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, July 29, 2020. The webinar has three panels with leading Asian American and Black American scholars, lawyers and civil rights activists focusing on anti-Asian racism and building allyship for racial justice and inclusion. (Webinar)
“Anti-Asian Racism Racism in the United States: Current Issues and Sino-U.S. Relations.” National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, August 5, 2020. The webinar featuring panelists Erika Lee, Nancy Yao Maasbach and Anla Cheng and moderated by Jerry Yang focused on issues of anti-Asian racism, generational divide in Asian American community, the model minority myth, and U.S.-China relations. (Webinar)
Darling-Hammond, Sean et al. “After ‘The China Virus’ Went Viral” Racially Charged Coronavirus Coverage and Trends in Bias Against Asian Americans.” Health Education & Behavior 47 no. 6 (September 10, 2020): 870-879. This research tests if conservative media outlets referring to coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus” or similar terms after March 8, 2020, increased bias towards Asian Americans and contributed to “Implicit Americanness Bias” and the idea that Asian Americans are “perpetual foreigners.” The result was a resounding yes and had dangerous implications on the health and wellbeing of Asian Americans. (Journal Article)
Mora Cristina G., Claudia Sandoval, and Sylvia Zamora. “Latinos Need to See Structural, Systemic Racism Right Now.” Latino Rebels, October 7, 2020. Although they are suffering through the pandemic at disproportionate rates every day, not all Latinos realize why this is. They do not understand the historical and structural racism and inequalities that have led them more likely to be essential workers, feel the negative economic impact from the pandemic, and have less access to quality healthcare. (Opinion)
Yam, Kim. “After Trump's Covid-19 diagnosis, anti-Asian tweets and conspiracies rose 85%: Report.” NBCNews, October 15, 2020. The Anti-Defamation League analyzed over two million tweets and found that in the twelve hours after President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were confirmed to have coronavirus, anti-Asian speech jumped 85% and remained above average for several days.
Yam, Kimmy. “Trump is 'legitimizing' hate incidents against Asian Americans: U.N. experts.” NBC News, October 16, 2020. The UN Human Rights Council has published a mandate stating the U.S. has not done enough to recognize and stop racism and xenophobia against Asian Americans during the pandemic, as violence against this group has risen significantly.
Pha, Kong Pheng. “Two Hate Notes: Deportations, COVID-19, and Xenophobia against Hmong Americans in the Midwest.” Journal of Asian American Studies 23, no. 23 (2020): 335–39. In Wisconsin and Minnesota, an individual and a couple received racist and xenophobic notes addressed to them. These notes are tied to the Trump administration's negotiations with Laos over the deportation of Hmong Americans and the COVID-19 pandemic. Pha discusses different ways of combating racism and xenophobia Asian-Americans face. (Journal article)
della Cava, Marco. “Asian Americans in San Francisco are dying at alarming rates from COVID-19: Racism is to blame.” USA Today, October 19, 2020. In San Francisco, Asian Americans are disproportionately dying from COVID-19. Experts say racism, including the “model minority myth” that depicts Asians as medically and economically better off than others, is the driver of such death. In reality, Asian Americans fear getting tested because of hate crime. Also, many live in conditions not suitable for social distancing, and resources are not available in enough languages.
Arora, Maneesh, and Hannah June Kim. “Stopping the Hate: Political Condemnations of Anti-Asian Rhetoric during the COVID-19 Crisis.” Journal of Asian American Studies 23, no. 3 (2020): 387–405. This research looks at all the U.S. Congress members’ tweets to determine their part in denouncing racist and xenophobic actions against Asian-Americans since the COVID-19 pandemic. Democrats and POC legislators were found to condemn anti-Asian discrimination and racism when compared to Republican and white legislators. (Journal article)
Siu, Lok, and Claire Chun. “Yellow Peril and Techno-Orientalism in the Time of Covid-19: Racialized Contagion, Scientific Espionage, and Techno-Economic Warfare.” Journal of Asian American Studies 23, no. 3 (2020): 421–40. This research ties in the U.S. trade war against China with the historical “yellow peril” ideology. The history of anti-Chinese in American culture and the ongoing trade war led to an intensification of racism and xenophobia against Asian-Americans since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Journal article)
Jesús, Melinda. “Three Meditations on Anti-Asian Violence and COVID-19, or Fuck Off, Andrew Yang!” Journal of Asian American Studies 23, no. 3 (2020): 323–28. As a Filipina American peminist scholar, Melinda Luisa de Jesús writes three free verse poems as a response to Andrew Yang’s message on how Asian-Americans should conduct themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Journal article)
Goff, Phillip Atiba, Amelia M. Haviland, Tracey Lloyd, Mikaela Meyer, and Rachel Warren. “How Racism Amplifies Covid-19 Risk for Everyone.” Vox, October 26, 2020. Academics are using social sciences, data sciences, and policy observations to comment on how the American society is an engine that “drive...infection and death” based on existing disparities. (Opinion)
“Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.” The White House. The United States Government. January 26, 2021. The White house has released a statement that condemns the racism and xenophobia perpetrated against Asian Americans and Pacific Islander in the United States. This is in response to the increase in hate crimes against those in these communities due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The brief also recognizes the impact political officials’ rhetoric has had in feeding into anti-Asian sentiment in the United States.
Breuninger, Kevin. “Biden orders DOJ to end private prison contracts as part of racial equity push.” January 26, 2021. CNBC. New executive order stops DOJ from renewing its contracts with private prisons. One of the reasoning is for “combating discriminatory housing practices, reforming the prison system, respecting the sovereignty of Tribal governments and fighting xenophobia against Asian Americans, especially in light of the Covid pandemic.”
Makalintal, Bettina. “Asian Americans Are Calling on Allies in Response to a Wave of Violence.” Vice, February 8, 2021. Following the recent murder of Vicha Ratanapakdee in San Francisco, Asian Americans are renewing their calls for action and allyship to combat anti-Asian racism.
Carras, Christi. “Daniel Dae Kim, Daniel Wu Offer $25,000 for Info in Oakland Attack on Elderly Man.” Los Angeles Times, February 8, 2021. Following the violent murder of a 91-year-old man in Oakland’s Chinatown district, actors Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu offered a $25,000 reward for information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of the attacker.
“Saving Chinatown with Grace Young.” Splendid Table. February 19, 2021. Lam interviews the founder of the Coronavirus: Chinatown Stories project and a cookbook author, about Chinatown and the impact of Covid-19 on the local community. (Audio)
U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, Hearing on “Discrimination and Violence against Asian Americans,” March 18, 2021. Congressional hearings with witnesses Congresswoman Judy Chu, Daniel Dae Kim (Actor), Senator Tammy Duckworth, Wencong Fa (Pacific Legal Foundation), Congresswoman Young Kim, Manjusha Kulkarni (Stop AAPI Hate), Erika Lee (Professor), Charles Lehman (Manhattan Institute), Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Hiroshi Motomura (Professor), Shirin Sinnar (Professor), Congresswoman Michelle Steel, John Yang (Asian Americans Advancing Justice).
Edmonson, Catie. “House Democrats Hold a Rare Congressional Hearing on Anti-Asian Discrimination.” The New York Times, March 18, 2021. In a historic hearing organized by Democratic lawmakers, witnesses described the “fear and trauma rippling through the Asian-American community, and argued that the uptick in attacks on Asian-Americans was a direct result of the rise of anti-China rhetoric stoked during the coronavirus pandemic.”
Eligon, John, Thomas Fuller, and Jill Cowan. “After Georgia Attacks, Asian-Americans Demand Serious Action on Bias.” The New York Times, March 18, 2021. After a year of rising anti-Asian racism, Asian Americans are becoming increasingly angry over the country’s longstanding failure to take discrimination against them seriously.