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Content warning: Some viewers may feel harmed or traumatised by the images, texts, and links that follow, as these graphically describe instances of racial hate and violence and bodily harm.

14 June 2020 George Square, Glasgow Tommy Ga-Ken Wan Photographer, Scottish-Chinese man “A large group of men called me a ch****, tried to take my cameras  from me and punched me in the head; the sole response of the  police officers who witnessed this was to ask me to leave...”

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14 June 2020
George Square, Glasgow
Tommy Ga-Ken Wan
Photographer, Scottish-Chinese man
“A large group of men called me a ch****, tried to take my cameras

from me and punched me in the head; the sole response of the 

police officers who witnessed this was to ask me to leave...”

 

A rally occurred in George Square with hundreds of mostly male protestors gathered to guard and defend the city's statues and monuments. Tommy Ga-Ken Wan was present to photograph the event when he became a target for violence. His Facebook post describing what happened went viral, and his experience was reported in a number of news outlets including, The Glasgow Times, The Herald, The Daily Record, The National, The Scottish Sun, and GlasgowLive. The incident was also raised in Scottish Parliament.

February 2020 Primary school, north Manchester Anonymous Little girl "Her best friend told her 'my mum told me I'm not allowed to play  with Chinese children anymore because you are the virus carrier.' "

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February 2020
Primary school, north Manchester
Anonymous
Little girl
"Her best friend told her 'my mum told me I'm not allowed to play 
with Chinese children anymore because you are the virus carrier.' "

The impact of racism on Chinese communities in Manchester is discussed in a Manchester Evening News article in which Jenny Wong, Director of the Manchester Chinese Centre shared complaints she received from community members. She referenced racial abuse and bullying experienced by children in particular, and reflected on her own experience.

25 April 2021 Fargate, Sheffield City Centre Anonymous 19-year-old female Chinese student A woman demanded to know if she was Chinese,  hit her in the face and pushed her to the ground by the hair.  She was treated in hospital for eye injuries.

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25 April 2021
Fargate, Sheffield City Centre
Anonymous
19-year-old female Chinese student
A woman demanded to know if she was Chinese, 
hit her in the face and pushed her to the ground by the hair. 
She was treated in hospital for eye injuries.

 

Visiting Sheffield City Centre for the first time in a year, a student was attacked outside Boots on Fargate, and bystanders intervened. This was reported in The Star, Resonate, Yahoo News, and The Tab, and is said to have gone viral on social media in China.

March 2020 The Lotus House, Cardiff, Wales Mr Tan Manager of takeaway "We're not really bringing in any new business, new clients or  new customers…Some have made racist comments and  I've had coronavirus shouted at me on the phone...”

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March 2020
The Lotus House, Cardiff, Wales
Mr Tan
Manager of takeaway
"We're not really bringing in any new business, new clients or 
new customers…Some have made racist comments and 
I've had coronavirus shouted at me on the phone...”

An article on WalesOnline described how the pandemic has affected Chinese restaurants and takeaways in Cardiff, with significantly reduced business and experiences of racist verbal and online abuse. Mr Tan discusses how business and his interactions with customers have declined.

18 September 2021 Co-op on Mill Road, Cambridge Yuanzhao Zhang 25-year-old research engineer “… someone twisting my ear quite hard from behind…I turned back and  saw this group of teenagers...They shouted some racial slurs at me… I shouted back…They quickly all started punching me…nose broken."

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18 September 2021
Co-op on Mill Road, Cambridge
Yuanzhao Zhang
25-year-old research engineer
“… someone twisting my ear quite hard from behind…I turned back and 
saw this group of teenagers...They shouted some racial slurs at me…
I shouted back…They quickly all started punching me…nose broken."

While grocery shopping, Yuanzhao Zhang was attacked by a large group of about 10 young men. As they fled, he called the police and pursued them with the help of a bystander, who then took him to the hospital. He spoke on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire about the attack and previous verbal abuse, and was interviewed by ITV News, as well as CGTN following arrests made. The news story was reported in media outlets such as CambridgeshireLive, Resonate, University of Cambridge student newspaper Varsity, and Yahoo News.

23 February 2021 Woolston, Southampton Peng Wang 37-year-old father, University lecturer Out jogging when four men shouted racial abuse from a car.  When he shouted back, they got out and assaulted him. "They were  saying things like Chinese virus, get out of the country and dirty words...."

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23 February 2021
Woolston, Southampton
Peng Wang
37-year-old father, University lecturer
Out jogging when four men shouted racial abuse from a car. 
When he shouted back, they got out and assaulted him. "They were 
saying things like Chinese virus, get out of the country and dirty words...."

 

Peng Wang was assaulted while jogging. He was interviewed by ITV News, describing the incident and sharing his concerns for his safety and for his family. It was reported nationally and internationally in news sources such as BBC News (and after an initial arrest), Daily Echo (and after a second arrest), Independent, CGTN, Global Times, Resonate, HampshireLive, Yahoo News, The Tab, Socialist Worker, Korea Times, South China Morning Post, and VICE.

24 February 2020 Oxford Street, London Jonathan Mok 23-year-old, Singaporean, law student Walking past a group of men, “…the first punch was swung at my face… the guy delivered the second sucker punch…The attacker’s friend tried  to swing a kick…then said, ‘I don’t want your coronavirus in my country…’”

Disposable blue and white mask embroidered with the following text
24 February 2020
Oxford Street, London
Jonathan Mok
23-year-old, Singaporean, law student
Walking past a group of men, “…the first punch was swung at my face…
the guy delivered the second sucker punch…The attacker’s friend tried 
to swing a kick…then said, ‘I don’t want your coronavirus in my country…’”

While walking along London streets, Jonathan Mok was suddenly attacked. He shared photos of his face and wrote about his experience in a Facebook post, drawing national and international attention. This was reported in a wide range of media stories and opinion pieces about the initial attack and the subsequent criminal justice process, including The Guardian, BBC News (and later arrests and sentencing), The New Yorker, CNN, TIME magazine, ITV News, Independent, Evening Standard (and guilty plea), Daily Mail, The Straits Times, The Telegraph, Sky News, Eastlondonlines, Manchester Evening News, Daily Star, The Sun, Resonate, HuffPost News, The Atlantic, The Tab, CNA, CGTN, South China Morning Post, Metro News, New York Post, Taiwan News, BirminghamLive, VICE, The Mirror (and guilty plea), The Week, Harper’s Bazaar, British Vogue, and People Magazine.

March 2020, Affordable Art Fair, London, An Nguyen, Vietnamese curator Dropped by a New York gallery exhibitor, email stating  “Your presence on the stand would unfortunately create hesitation  on the part of the audience to enter the exhibition space.”

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March 2020
Affordable Art Fair, London
An Nguyen
Vietnamese curator
Dropped by a New York gallery exhibitor, email stating 
“Your presence on the stand would unfortunately create hesitation 
on the part of the audience to enter the exhibition space.”

An Nguyen received an email from a New York gallery, dropping her from an event in London, and shared a screenshot of it on social media, choosing not to identify the sender to stress systemic issues rather than individual wrongs. It prompted a response from the Affordable Art Fair and an apology from the gallery, which did not exhibit at the event. The story was reported and referenced in national and international pieces in The Guardian, Independent, Metro News, Evening Standard, CNN, Artnet, Daily Dot, BuzzFeed News, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker.

#StopAsianHate

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#StopAsianHate

#StopAsianHate is an anti-racist campaign that emerged in the wake of the escalating violence and brazen attacks on people racialised as East and Southeast Asian in the US, UK, and globally. The campaign has connected people around the world, helping to raise awareness of issues affecting ESEA communities, and catalysing far-flung groups to mobilise against racism. #StopAsianHate activists have been particularly active in the US, reacting to numerous violent attacks against elderly Asian people, and to the mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia and Indianapolis, Indiana. Celebrities have joined the cause to increase the visibility of these efforts and helped launch a funding campaign in the UK to support ESEA grassroots organising groups.

 

ESEA communities in the UK have a long history of activism and recently a variety of new ESEA UK groups and networks have formed, such as the British East and Southeast Asian Network (besea.n), End Violence and Racism against East and Southeast Asian Communities (EVR), Voice ESEA, and the Campaign Against Racism Group (CARG), among many others (some of which are identified in this article in gal-dem).

Anti-Asian racism has undoubtedly harmed many people and instigated fear and mental health difficulties for the wider community. It has also sparked greater community activism, solidarity, and love. The light at the end of this long, dark COVID-19 tunnel is hope for an anti-racist future in which ESEA communities can thrive.