Anti-Asian Incidents Higher in Canada Than US Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Report Says

anti-Asian

Canada has received more reports of anti-Asian incidents related to COVID-19 than the U.S., according to its first national report published this month.

Since the onset of the pandemic, more than 600 anti-Asian incidents have been brought to elimin8hate.org and covidracism.ca, sites that document attacks against Asian Canadians.

The national report, funded by the Canadian government, was a collaboration of the Chinese Canadian National Council – Toronto Chapter, Project 107, Vancouver Asian Film Festival and the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice.

It was released on Sept. 8 to commemorate the anniversary of the 1907 anti-Asian riots in Vancouver, an event set in motion by White supremacists who wanted to get rid of Chinese, Japanese and Punjabi Sikh communities.

 

The report reviewed anti-Asian attacks from seven provinces and found that Canada has a higher number of incidents per capita than the U.S.

British Columbia has the most reports of any subnational region in North America, followed by California, New York and Ontario; Vancouver has the most reports of all Canadian cities (28%).

The majority (65%) of all incidents involved verbal abuse and harassment, which came in the form of racial slurs, threats and derogatory remarks.

Meanwhile, nearly 30% of the incidents fell into the category of assault, including targeted coughing, spitting and physical attacks.

Forty-five percent of the attacks occurred in public spaces such as streets, sidewalks and parks. Other incidents took place in grocery stores (14%), public transit (8%), other businesses (7%) and private residences (5%).

East Asians suffered the most attacks (83%), followed by Southeast Asians (7%), South Asians (2%), mixed-race or biracial (1.5%) and Indigenous (1%). Meanwhile, those aged 19 to 35 reported the most incidents (45%), followed by 36 to 54 (33%), 55 and over (10%), and 18 and under (8%).

The report also found that women were impacted the most, accounting for 60% of all the incidents. In British Columbia, they lodged 70% of all reports.

“The recent surge in anti-Asian violence, vandalism and xenophobia is reminiscent of the 1907 Anti-Asian Riots and the decades of targeted discrimination that followed. Many seniors in our communities say they haven’t experienced or feared such intense levels of hate since the mid-1900s,” organizers with Project 107 said.

To establish the comparison, the report used data published by Stop AAPI Hate, the Asian American coalition tracking coronavirus-related racism in the U.S. Between March 19 and Aug. 5, it received 2,583 reports nationwide.

“These disturbing data, particularly when viewing in contrast to the US, illustrate the way in which the COVID-19 pandemic remains deeply racialized. Government policies and all parties need to put an end to anti-Asian and anti-Chinese rhetoric that stirs up hateful attacks and prejudice against all Asian Canadians,” said Justin Kong, executive director of the Chinese Canadian National Council – Toronto Chapter.

The report called on the Canadian government to include an anti-racism strategy in its post-pandemic recovery plan.

“A just recovery from the pandemic includes putting people’s health and wellbeing first; strengthening the social safety net and providing relief directly to people; prioritizing the needs of workers and communities; building resilience to prevent future crises; building solidarity and equity across communities, generations and borders; and upholding Indigenous rights and working in partnership with Indigenous people,” it stated.

Feature Image: COVID-19 scenes from Vancouver (Cropped) via Rod Raglin (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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