23 orgs urge Biden to protect AAPI community during COVID origin investigation

23 orgs urge Biden to protect AAPI community during COVID origin investigation
Ryan General
August 20, 2021
Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations are urging President Joe Biden to be extra careful to not further aggravate anti-Asian hate as the results of an investigation on COVID-19’s origins near their release.
About the report: The Biden administration launched a 90-day investigation into COVID-19’s origins in May amid the spread of the so-called “the lab leak theory,” which proposes that the pandemic resulted from SARS-CoV-2 escaping from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
  • Biden asked the U.S. Intelligence Community for a follow-up report on “their most up-to-date analysis of the origins of COVID-19, including whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.”
  • The president also asked for “areas of further inquiry that may be required, including specific questions for China” in the report set to be released at the end of August.
Concerns expressed: Spearheaded by the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and Stop AAPI Hate, 23 organizations signed a letter addressed to Biden, expressing concerns that the intelligence report could increase violence and hate toward the AAPI community, NBC reports.
  • The letter, posted on the StopAAPIHate website, urged the president to “redouble [his] efforts to combat anti-AAPI hate and violence — to speak out and to act.”
  • The coalition warned that many have already interpreted the investigation as “validation for the so-called ‘lab leak theory.'”
  • “The sad but undeniable truth is that the simple existence of that report will put our communities at risk. We recognize your Administration’s legitimate interest in identifying the source of this pandemic for the purpose of preventing future outbreaks,” the letter read. “At the same time, perception matters.”
  • According to Stop AAPI Hate co-founder Russell Jeung, they are worried that people could spread conspiracy theories no matter what the results reveal, provoking more people to commit hate incidents.
  • “That’s why we wanted to pre-empt these attacks. We wanted to put the nation on alert and call on the president to put more substance in his stopping anti-Asian racism,” Jeung was quoted as saying.
Featured Image via CBS News
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