Updated: Jan 3
As you may be aware, there has been a significant increase in racist attacks towards the Chinese and South East Asian community. This has come as a result of the rise in cases of Coronavirus or Covid-19. Not only has racism increased in the UK, but has also been reported in USA, Australia, Europe and the rest of the world.
This week, HCCS became aware of an incident that occurred in the UK that is both heart-warming and sad at the same time. Reported in various newspapers earlier this week (24.02), Ms Meera Solanki, came to the defence of her Chinese friend following yet another racist attack as a result of the virus outbreak.
Ms Solanki, a trainee lawyer, was celebrating her birthday in a Birmingham bar when her friend, Mandy Huang, started being harassed by her assailant. Refusing to leave, the man told Ms Huang to ‘take your f**king coronavirus and take it back home’. When he was confronted by Ms Solanki, he punched her in the head causing her to fall on the pavement, knocking herself unconscious.
Unfortunately, this is just one of many incidents that has been reported up and down the country. The increase in racism and xenophobia, both verbally and physically, covertly and explicitly, demonstrates a serious lack of empathy or clear understanding about the situation.
It has been significantly fuelled by traditional and social media, and the current divisive mood of the country. Its increase is also apparent, despite other previous outbreaks, such as the scapegoating of the British Chinese community of the foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001, the 2003 SARS outbreak, and the more recently, the American H1N1 swine flu pandemic starting in 2009.
Nevertheless, HCCS was very moved to hear of Ms Solanki's defence of her friend, Ms Huang. For the Chinese community, it symbolises great courage, kindness and understanding. A member of HCCS who experienced both abuse on public transport and casual racism at work in the last few weeks, has said Ms Solanki has restored her faith in humanity.
HCCS wishes to thank Ms Solanki for supporting her friend and in doing so, the wider Chinese and Southeast Asian community as well. We would like to wish her continuous recovery to her injuries sustained. We applaud her courageous defence of her friend against mindless racist abuse.
Hccs has offered our members advice regarding best hygiene and health practices regarding Covid-19. Please note that the current number of countries has expanded.
Based on the advice of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) anyone who has travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau and Northern Italy in the last 14 days, may be at risk and should call NHS 111, if they feel any mild symptoms.
HCCS also recently met with members of Hackney Council and Metropolitan Police Hackney and Tower Hate Crime Unit who offered our members advice against racist attacks. You can find out more about their advice here.