Combating Discrimination and Hate Crimes: Fighting the Pandemic Together!
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a global pandemic that has drastically impacted the world with devastation and has claimed many lives. As of May 21, 2020, a global total of 5.14 million people have been diagnosed with this virus and 330,000 have died. In Canada, 81,324 were diagnosed nationally with a death toll of 6,152. COVID-19 has created chaos in the economy and turmoil to people’s livelihood.
This is a time where Canadians should be united to fight this epidemic, and not to fight among ourselves. Since the pandemic, racism and hate crimes against Asians, and especially against the Chinese community, are on the rise across the country. Racist remarks, hateful and threatening messages, and physical attacks have been directed to Canadians of Asian descent. Some examples that has been widely broadcasted include a 92-year-old Chinese elderly man that was physically dragged out of a convenience store and thrown to the ground resulting in bodily injury. Another incident involved a young Asian lady who was assaulted in the face as she was waiting to cross the street. Sadly, the list goes on.
Adding fuel to the growing anti-Asian racism and targeted hate crimes, two articles published by Global News on April 30, 2020 maliciously condemned Chinese Canadian organizations for voluntarily sending Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to family and friends in China during the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, calling this a treasonous act of supporting a foreign power and the hoarding of supplies to the detriment of Canada. We should note that Canada was also shipping PPEs to China around the same time frame.
When Canada was impacted by the pandemic, Chinese Canadian organizations have generously supported the local communities by donating imported medical equipment from China. It is perplexing why these contributions were not included in the Global News articles.
The support provided to Wuhan by Canadian community groups and the Canadian government has helped contained the COVID-19 virus in China and slowed the spread of this virus. This has strategically bought valuable time for the rest of the world, including Canada, to get prepared.
Sowing the seeds of hatred and the spreading of prejudice must not be tolerated. Canada is a democracy that takes pride in multiculturalism and is an advocate for human rights. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, which was incorporated into the Canadian Constitution in 1982, clearly states that any racial discrimination is illegal. Canadians need to uphold our values, protect the safety of our communities and the civil rights of our citizens, regardless of race, colour, ethnicity and origin.
We urge the authorities to take swift actions to crackdown on hate crimes and prosecute the offenders. There needs to be more public awareness to recognize and reject racism, to embrace diversity, and to celebrate the long history of the contribution of the Chinese and other ethnic communities in the building of Canada. Throughout history, disease outbreaks have ravaged humanity and have never been known to discriminate against any specific ethnicity. Canadians should focus their efforts to unite Canadians in the fight against COVID-19 and not be detracted to engage in racial and hateful behaviours.
Finally, we wish to express our sincere gratitude and respect to the medical staff and public service personnel who are at the forefront fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that, with everyone’s effort, the “curve” will be flattened very soon, and Canada’s social economic activities will return to normal in the near future.
Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver
May 22, 2020
Tel: (604) 681-1923 Fax: (604) 682-0073