China has condemned the spike in anti-Asian hate crime in the US, appealing to Washington to address the issue.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the comments to reporters on Thursday, two days after a white man gunned down eight people, six of them Asian-American women, across three spas in Atlanta, Georgia.
While the arrested suspect denies a racist motive, citing instead his guilt over his sex addiction, many people are linking the massacre to a larger wave of anti-Asian hate crimes.
Zhao’s remarks come on the eve of the first face-to-face talks between Beijing and Washington since President Joe Biden took office.
Asked about a Stop AAPI Hate report that noted nearly 4,000 hate-related incidents targeting Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders between March 2020 to the end of last month, Zhao said, “discrimination against Asian Americans, including against the Chinese, has been on the rise in the US over the past period of time”.
Zhao blamed the hate on former president Donald Trump, who frequently referred to the disease as “the Chinese virus” and other derogatory terms, as well as others in the US pushing political anti-China narratives.
“Defenseless elders of Asian ethnicity have been brutally attacked, their lives put in grave danger,” Zhao said. “Such despicable actions, born out of senseless discrimination, make us furious and sad.”
He urged the current US leadership to take remedial action, and to protect its Chinese citizens.
“Fanning racism and hatred, condoning discriminatory behaviours against Chinese nationals in the US including Chinese students, and even spying, harassing, cross-examining and arresting them for no cause at all,” he said.
Days before the murders in Atlanta, Biden dedicated part of his first presidential speech to condemning anti-Asian hate crimes on the anniversary of Covid-19 lockdowns in the country.
Biden condemned, “vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans, who have been attacked, harassed, blamed, and scapegoated”.
He chided the culprits by saying, “At this very moment, so many of them – our fellow Americans – they’re on the frontlines of this pandemic, trying to save lives, and still, still, they are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America. It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.”