The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council says that from March 19 to April 1 there were over 1100 reports of hate directed at the Asian Pacific Islander community in the U.S., including assault and vandalism.
The rise in acts of hate corresponds with president Trump's decision to refer to COVID-19 as the "Chinese Virus."
The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2020
Trump's decision to label the virus Chinese, instead of using its scientific name, is another incident in his long history of ethnic scapegoating.
Calling it the Chinese Virus also is a way for him to place blame on a foreign country instead of accepting his administration's missteps during the pandemic.
The World Health Organization spoke out about Trump's labeling of the disease.
"We've been very clear right since the beginning of this event that viruses know no borders and they don't care your ethnicity or the color of your skin or how much money you have in the bank," the WHO's executive director for emergencies, Dr. Mike Ryan said.
"So, it's really important that we be careful in the language we use, lest it lead to profiling of individuals associated with the virus. This is just something we need to all avoid," Ryan said.
By labeling the disease Chinese, Trump has put the the Asian Pacific Islander community in danger at a time when they're already living in a pandemic.
California Democratic Representative Ted Lieu criticized Trump's scapegoating on Twitter.
Dear @realDonaldTrump: Asian Americans will likely encounter more discrimination because of your tweet below. Please stop your unnecessary rhetoric.#COVID19 is now an American virus, an Italian virus, a Spanish virus. We all are impacted & we all need to work together. https://t.co/yLzNmpJZHs
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 17, 2020
Trump defended his use of the term by saying it's payback for a Chinese conspiracy theory that suggests the disease was created by the U.S. military.
"China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them. That was false. And rather than having an argument, I said I had to call it where it came from. It did come from China. So I think it's a very accurate term," Trump said.
Trumplandia is all about monkey see, monkey do, so many his supporters have started calling COVID-19 the Chinese Virus as well.
Trump 2020 #MAGA #ChineseVirus
— David (@davidbabula1) April 9, 2020
#maga Chinese virus is not going anywhere. It is attaching to lungs and killing people. It has destroyed lives and economies. There is no cure. There is no vaccine. Unleashed on the world by Communist China.
— PDowd (@AuntDowd) April 9, 2020
Should President Trump bomb Beijing for starting the Chinese virus? #CNNTOWNHALL #MAGA
— Clyde Anderson (@ClydeAn14142143) April 10, 2020
Tired of dealing of the racism directed at him on social media, Representative Lieu teed off on a racist Trump supporter on Twitter. Joe Schmo accused him of being an "agent of China" who should be charged with treason.
First of all that's pretty damn racist. Also, Lieu was born in Taiwan, not China.
So Lieu took him down by explaining his credentials as an American.
I served on active duty in the United States military to defend your right to say stupid, racist shit about me. https://t.co/mbVnQ4JaP6
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 10, 2020
Lieu joined the Air Force in 1995 and served four years on active duty as a member of the Judge Advocate General's Corps. ... Since 2000 he has served in the Air Force Reserve. He was promoted to colonel in December 2015.
There are a lot of unfortunate things that led to the Twitter exchange. One of the most devious is the idea that Asian Pacific Islanders are somehow less American that those who have another ethnic background.
During the coronavirus, Americans have come together by, ironically, staying apart. As president, Trump should focus on building national unity to defeat the virus instead of scapegoating certain groups to limit his responsibility.
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