Pandemic feeds xenophobia and racism in both the West and Asia

Pandemic feeds xenophobia and racism in both the West and Asia

Pandemic feeds xenophobia and racism in both the West and Asia

As the coronavirus ramps up across the world, racism and xenophobia follow in its path.

Whilst rates of infection continue to soar and the death toll grows, anti-Asian racism as well as xenophobia and discrimination against Westerners is growing, both on social media and in countries with settled expat communities. European expatriates are being referred to as dirty and foreign garbage, and Asians living and working in the West are being blamed for deliberately setting the virus loose on the Western world.

Westerners in China were the first to have services denied due to their race, and one top Thai cabinet minister blamed the infection itself on Western expats as well as stating all foreigners should be thrown out of the country. As a result, the UN itself is now warning of a worldwide rise in hatred and xenophobia as a direct result of the pandemic. Taking it still further, expats in China are being accused of immoral acts and scamming Chinese females into provided money and sex as well as attacking healthcare workers after testing positive for the virus, and Chinese expats are being attacked for simply going about their normal business.

Since the end of March, entry into China by foreign nationals with residence permits or visas has been banned, leaving many whose families are still in the country unable to get in touch with them or find out when they’ll be allowed to return. Official data is reporting some 90 per cent of new cases are Chinese nationals caught in other countries’ lockdowns or cancelled flights. As the vast country begins to open up, a trend is developing in that both sides’ shops and restaurants are barring expatriates as they believe they’re spreading the virus.

At the same time, Chinese businesses overseas as well as Chinese visitors are displaying signs saying ‘I am not a virus’ or similar comments, and both China and Western countries’ social media outlets are attacking foreign residents receiving what’s seen as special treatment. China’s official line is that it refutes all forms of prejudice and discrimination, but that’s not the experience of expats living and working in its major cities. Conspiracy theories are running rampant and both sides are blaming the other for the pandemic, whilst the many tens of thousands who’ve lost loved ones to the pandemic look on in horror.

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