On Sunday 13 February, Christina Yuna Lee was found dead in her Lower Manhattan apartment after she was fatally stabbed by a stranger who followed her home after a night out. She was 35 years old. The man suspected of killing Christina has been taken into custody and has since been charged with her murder.
Christina Yuna Lee was a Korean-American woman. Although her death is not currently being considered a hate crime, it follows reports that anti-Asian hate crimes have risen by 361% from 2020 to 2021.
In light of Christina’s death, Yuan Ren reports on the rise of anti-Asian hate since the Covid-19 outbreak – and what we can all do to help…
On 16 March 2021, eight people were shot dead at three massage parlours near Atlanta. Six of these women were of Asian descent and seven of them were women, spurring further conversation around the rise of potential Asian hate crimes and violence against women.
Police arrested 21-year-old white male Robert Aaron Long as the suspect in all three shootings. He allegedly told police the attacks were the result of ‘a really bad day’ and that he wanted to “eliminate the temptation” of his sex addiction. Georgia Representative Bee Nguyen said the shootings appear to be “at the intersection of gender-based violence, misogyny and xenophobia.”
Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition of nonprofits, organisers, and educators, called the shooting “an unspeakable tragedy” for a community that has already been “reeling from high levels of racist attacks.”
These racist attacks peaked during Chinese New Year celebrations when a string of abuse towards East and South-East Asian Americans in the US marred festivities and reminded us of the Covid-19 ugliness suffered by these communities. One included a 91-year-old man pushed to the ground in San Francisco’s Chinatown and a similar act of violence towards a 52-year-old woman in New York.
The tide of hostility has been unrelenting. Almost every Chinese and East Asian person I know has experienced some form of name-calling or act of xenophobia in the last two years. There has been countless verbal assault on public transport and in restaurants reported or posted on social media.
Last February, a Singaporean student was beaten up on a Friday night in Oxford Street by a group of youths, one of whom yelled, “I don’t want your Coronavirus in my country”.
In March, while minding my own business in a London hotel, a man shouted “corona-corona” at me as he walked out of the lobby.
In the first three months of 2020, London saw a near tripling of hate crimes towards people of “oriental” appearance. In early March, Ipsos Mori’s found that one in seven people intentionally avoided people of Chinese origin or appearance.
So, why is anti-East Asian sentiment still soaring?
Part of it is down to one of the most powerful men in the world’s relentless drumming of “China virus”, “Wuhan virus”, and “Kung-flu” into our ears. There are few terms so vividly remembered from Donald Trump in 2020.