A young Chinese boy has been chased and cornered at school by classmates ‘testing’ him for coronavirus amid concerns that Asian people are facing racist discrimination over the deadly outbreak.
Anaesthetist and HuffPost contributor Dr Nadia Alam took to Twitter on Thursday revealing her son was targeted at his Ontario school in Canada.
Today my son was cornered at school by kids who wanted to “test” him for #Coronavirus just because he is half-Chinese. They chased him. Scared him. And made him cry.
I was the same age when I was bullied for being Pakistani.
It’s 2020. I thought things had changed by now... 💔
— Dr. Nadia Alam (@DocSchmadia) January 30, 2020
“Today my son was cornered at school by kids who wanted to “test” him for coronavirus just because he is half-Chinese,” she said.
“They chased him, scared him and made him cry. It’s 2020. I thought things had changed by now.”
Dr Alam revealed there had been several other attacks towards Chinese students and the school was dealing with the matter.
Chinese and Asians across the world facing discrimination
The incident comes as growing concern that Chinese nationals and people with Chinese ancestry living outside of China are being wrongly targeted.
So far 213 people have died from coronavirus in China. More than 8000 people have contracted the virus, more than 100 of those outside of China.
Germany, the US, Japan and Vietnam have all confirmed human to human transmission of the virus outside of China, adding to the hysteria across the globe.
Earlier this week, Queensland MP Duncan Pegg lambasted a fake health warning telling people to stay away from Brisbane suburbs with large Chinese populations due to the coronavirus threat.
"For someone to make light of this, and to put out this racist, fake media release effectively misinforms the community and causes a lot of fear and anxiety," he told ABC radio on Tuesday.
A Chinese-Korean man told Korean publication the Hankyoreh his son had faced widespread discrimination after he was admitted to hospital with an injured leg from a traffic accident amid the beginning of the outbreak in China.
He said he left the hospital before his leg had healed due to Koreans’ outlook on Chinese within the country.
“We face severe discrimination at the best of times, and it’s pretty obvious that if my son caught something at the hospital, people would start grousing about ‘those Korean-Chinese.’ There were false rumours going around during SARS, and it’s the same now,” the man said.
One sign plastered on a Seoul restaurant said in Korean: “No Chinese allowed.”
The restaurant’s owner defended the sign when approached by the Hankyoreh.
“I don’t want to serve Chinese customers right now. I have the freedom to accept or reject customers. This is a big deal globally, and it makes me feel icky,” they said.
Similar signs have appeared in Hong Kong, with some citizens of the special administrative region already known to discriminate against the masses of mainland tourists who visit throughout the year.
contributed a picture i took yesterday at a local restaurant to the story: the sign says "this store only serves #HongKong residents."
Fear in the Age of Coronavirus: Chinese No Longer Welcome https://t.co/pN63ik5Zip @business #china pic.twitter.com/ZvtzgL8Bt9
— Fion Li (@fion_li) January 30, 2020
‘Treating us as if we’re infected’
Questions have been raised over Australia’s plan to evacuate Australian nationals from Wuhan and quarantine them in Christmas Island’s detention centre.
"Will I be treated as an Australian or as a detainee?” Chinese-Australian Daniel Ou Yang, who is trapped in Wuhan, asked.
A Chinese-Australian mother, identified as Ms Liu, told the ABC said her daughter asked her if their family had “done something wrong” after learning of Scott Morrison’s announcement.
“We are not prisoners, how could they treat us in a detention centre rather than a proper medical facility?" she asked.
On Wednesday, Today host Karl Stefanovic likened the 600 Australians trapped in Wuhan to “nuclear waste”.
University of Manchester masters student Sam Phan revealed in The Guardian he and other Asians are being unfairly stereotyped.
“People have started treating us as if we’re infected,” he said.
He explained how a fellow bus passenger hastily vacated his seat when he sat down next to him.
Perhaps revealing some naiveté, I'm surprised at the level of vitriol towards Chinese people I'm seeing in the comments sections of stories about the Wuhan coronavirus. And I mean towards the people, not the government. Disheartening.
— Andrew Kurjata 📻 (@akurjata) January 25, 2020
“I can’t help but feel more and more uncomfortable.”
Canadian journalist Andrew Kurjata said he was surprised by the abuse Chinese people faced in comments on news stories about coronavirus.
“Perhaps revealing some naiveté, I'm surprised at the level of vitriol towards Chinese people I'm seeing in the comments sections of stories about the Wuhan coronavirus. And I mean towards the people, not the government. Disheartening,” he tweeted.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.