Alarming surge in anti-Asian hate crimes recorded in U.S., Canada since pandemic started
TORONTO -- A grandfather shoved in San Francisco. A man slashed while riding the subway in New York City. The list of names, dates and locations of hate crimes against the Asian community in the U.S. and Canada continues to grow as the COVID-19 pandemic hits the one-year mark.
“Stop AAPI Hate,” a website that tracks incidents of hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S., compiled just under 3,000 incidents from March to December last year.
Among them is the story of Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Thai man living in San Francisco, who was violently shoved to the ground by a 19-year-old and subsequently died from injuries on Jan. 31.
Noel Quintana, a 61-year-old Filipino-American man, was slashed from ear to ear across his face with a box cutter on a New York City subway train in early February.
A 52-year-old Asian woman in Queens was shoved violently to the ground and required stitches in her head in an attack caught on surveillance camera that rapidly made the rounds on social media before the suspect was identified.
Asian communities in Canada have also experienced a spike in hate crimes and racist incidents during the pandemic, with more than 800 incidents recorded by Fight COVID Racism.
“The U.S. population is about 10 times that of Canada, [but] we have a higher ratio of attacks,” Amy Go of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice told CTV News.
“We were blamed for bringing SARS to Canada, just like we are blamed for bringing COVID to Canada,” Go said. “We are definitely seen as foreigners, that’s why we are told to go back to China.”
In Vancouver, hate crimes went up 97 per cent in 2020, and anti-Asian hate crimes went up 717 per cent.
Ottawa’s hate crimes went up 57 per cent, with the Ottawa Police Service saying some of the groups most victimized were “East and South-East Asian.”
Montreal reported a spike of 30 specifically anti-Asian hate crimes and racist acts last year, many related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asian actors, comedians, musicians and other personalities have been calling for more protections for their community members.
Actors Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu offered a US$25,000 reward for information on the suspect who shoved an 91-year-old man in California in January.
Ex-NBA star Jeremy Lin came forward and revealed that someone had called him “coronavirus” on the basketball court and called for unity in a series of tweets.
In response to the wave of hate crimes and racist attacks, communities have taken it upon themselves to protect their friends and neighbours.
Across the U.S., hundreds of people have volunteered to escort elderly Asian-Americans to keep them safe, and in California, a Chinese-American family who was the subject to repeated racist incidents in February now have neighbours standing guard outside their home in alternating shifts to protect them and “give them some peace.”