British Chinese MP Sarah Owen has described how the Covid-19 crisis has “lifted the lid” on anti-Asian racism as she called for more leadership from the government.
The Luton North MP says she has been repeatedly targeted online and that racists see the pandemic as “an excuse almost to either devalue us or lump us together”.
She called for politicians to take “a leadership stance” on the issue amid fears racism could worsen.
It comes after US president Donald Trump has frequently called Covid-19 “the Chinese virus” and a survey in May said anti-Chinese racist abuse had skyrocketed since lockdown, with victims reporting being spat at, physically abused and told to “f*** off back to China”.
Owen told Times Radio she had been accused of being part of “some massive Chinese communist party conspiracy” and sent pictures of people eating live animals.
Asked by radio host Gloria de Piero if she had been targeted, Owen said: “Bluntly, yes I am. I mean, because we’ve been in lockdown it’s not been too much face to face but if you look at my Twitter in particular, not so much from Facebook, but you look at Twitter...and it will be punching up racism as well as punching down.
“So there will be conspiracy theorists that believe that we’re all part of some massive Chinese communist party conspiracy that we’re all spies and that Covid was somehow manufactured or that 5G, we’re all supposed to be spies. Similarly they will be punching down – that we’re inhumane, that we eat bat soup.
“I mean the amount of videos that have been sent to me on my Twitter where people are eating live animals, as if that is somehow an okay thing to do now because we’re in a pandemic.”
In March, Tory MP Bob Stewart apologised after calling coronavirus a “foul Chinese illness” in a Facebook post.
Owen said she did not believe the racism didn’t exist previously, but that people felt emboldened by some politicians’ rhetoric during the...