List of incidents of xenophobia and racism related to the COVID-19 pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic, which started in the city of Wuhan, Hubei, China, in December 2019, has led to an increase in acts and displays of sinophobia as well as prejudice, xenophobia, discrimination, violence, and racism against people of East Asian, North Asian and Southeast Asian descent and appearance around the world. With the spread of the pandemic and formation of hotspots, such as those in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, discrimination against people from these hotspots has been reported.


In the past, many diseases have been named after geographical locations, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Zika virus, but in 2015, the World Health Organization introduced recommendations to avoid this practice, in order to reduce stigma. In accordance with this policy, the WHO recommended the official name "COVID-19" in February 2020.[1]

In early coverage of the outbreak, some news sources associated the virus with China in a manner that contributed to stigma. The journal Nature later published an apology for this type of coverage.[1][2] However, even after the majority of politicians had switched to avoiding stigmatizing language when referring to the virus, a minority continued.[1]



The US embassy in Yaoundé issued a travel warning to US citizens amid reports of "...verbal and online harassment, stone throwing, and banging on vehicles occupied by expatriates."[3]


According to the Embassy of Japan in Cairo, store clerks have been hesitating to serve Japanese customers, and "corona" has also become a new slur with which to abuse Japanese people on the street.[4]

On 10 March 2020, an Uber driver was arrested after a viral video showing the driver forcibly removing his Chinese passenger at a highway in Cairo's Maadi district on suspicion of having the virus. In the video, a voice is heard in the video jokingly shouting "The first coronavirus case in Egypt!" and the same voice then tells the driver "May God support you, Hajji! Throw him out!". The incident has sparked outrage among Egyptians after the video was uploaded. Some Egyptians visited the Chinese man in his hotel and expressed an apology to him for the incident, widely condemned in the local media as an act of bullying and racism.[5][6]


Violence towards foreigners has been reported amidst the pandemic, with some locals attacking foreigners on social media by publishing photos of them and linking them to the coronavirus. The Foreign Correspondents Association of Ethiopia had warned that "dangerous rumours" and "vicious posts" were being spread on the internet about foreign journalists, while other foreigners had been physically attacked.[7]


A video reportedly recorded in Kibera, Kenya shows an angry crowd threatening a man and a woman of East Asian descent about the coronavirus. A man in the crowd shouts at the frightened couple, "You are corona!" A motorcycle rider from the crowd later raised his hand threatening to slap the Asian man. Growing unease towards Chinese immigrants has been reported in the streets of Nairobi and its environment especially towards construction workers.[8]

An alleged Kenyan member of parliament posted in a Facebook message that his constituents had the right to stone and chase away any Chinese visitors who were not quarantined.[9] A Kenyan taxi driver told the BBC that Chinese nationals had been changing their usernames on taxi hailing apps to avoid their passenger requests being declined.[10]


Geopolitical analyst Ovigwe Eguegu[11] reported that "a plethora of conspiracy theories, and videos of Asians (some Chinese) eating bats, and other exotic animals" on Nigerian social media has led to increased Sinophobia.[12]

South Africa

An ethnic Chinese man in Johannesburg told Deutsche Welle that violent comments such as "wipe the Chinese people out" and "hope this virus gets all of them" have been expressed in the country by locals.[13] Additionally, one of the earliest reactions of the South African government with regard to COVID-19 prevention was to build a 40km fence on the border with Zimbabwe. This action was intended to "ensure that no undocumented or infected persons cross into the country," according to Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille.[14]



The Bangladeshi government has sent dozens of Rohingya refugees, who had remained stranded at sea for several weeks, to Bhasan Char, an uninhabited island in the estuary of the Meghna river. Hundreds more remain stranded on two overcrowded trawlers between Bangladesh and Malaysia. Human rights groups have criticised the Bangladeshi and Malaysian governments for using the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to send away refugees.[15]


There have been instances of Wuhan natives in other provinces being turned away from hotels, having their ID numbers, home addresses and telephone numbers deliberately leaked online or dealing with harassing phone calls from strangers. Some places also reportedly had signs saying "people from Wuhan and cars from Hubei are not welcomed here."[16] Many hotels and guesthouses refrained from people who had addresses in Wuhan.[17] Multiple hotels purportedly refused to check-in a Wuhan tour guide after she returned to Hangzhou from Singapore with one of them calling the police to give her a health check and asking the police to quarantine her. Amidst these incidents, various cities and prefectures outside of Hubei adopted resettlement measures for Hubei people in their region such as designated hotel accommodation for visitors from the province.[18] In Zhengding, Jingxing and Luquan of Shijiazhuang City, the local governments rewarded anyone who reported those who had been to Wuhan, but not recorded in official documents at least 1,000 yuan RMB. In Meizhou, residents reporting people entering from Hunan were awarded 30 face masks.[19]

It was reported that on a scheduled 27 January China Southern Airlines flight from Nagoya to Shanghai, some Shanghainese travellers refused to board with 16 others from Wuhan. Two of the Wuhan travellers were unable to board due to a fever while the Shanghainese on the spot alleged that the others had taken medicine to bypass the temperature check.[16] One of the Wuhan tourists protested on Weibo, "are they really my countrymen?" which a Shanghai tourist who was purportedly at the scene replied that they did it to protect Shanghai from the virus.[18] Many netizens criticized the Wuhan tourists for travelling with a fever, although some also called for understanding and for Shanghainese not to regionally discriminate.[20][21]

In March and April 2020, media outlets reported instances of xenophobia towards foreigners,[22] although according to The Globe and Mail on April 10, Chinese officials denied the existence of any such discrimination within China.[23] It has been attributed to fears of a second wave of the coronavirus, although the Chinese vice-foreign minister noted that 90% of imported COVID-19 cases were PRC nationals returning from overseas.[24][25] According to The Telegraph, foreigners are being barred from hotels, supermarkets, and restaurants, while others have had their visas cancelled and reentry into China barred.[26] The Guardian reported on 29 March of foreigners being shouted at by local residents, avoided in public places, and sometimes scolded as "foreign trash".[27] Shanghaiist has referenced stories of foreigner misbehaviour circulating on the Chinese internet as playing a role in the increased xenophobia.[28] A comic posted on Weibo depicts people in hazmat suits disinfecting foreigners and throwing them in waste bins.[29]

In April 2020, several reports emerged in Guangzhou of African nationals being evicted from their homes by local police and told to leave, with no place to sleep, amidst some recent Chinese news articles negatively reporting on Nigerians in the city.[30][31] The reports of discrimination created controversy in Africa damaging Sino-African relations,[32][33][34] and sparked a diplomatic crisis, with African governments and diplomats speaking out against the incidents in Guangzhou.[35] The Nigerian legislator Oloye Akin Alabi posted a video of his confronting the PRC's ambassador Zhou Pingjian over the alleged mistreatment of Nigerians in the city. The governments of Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda have also asked for explanations from the PRC government, and the African Union Commission invited the PRC ambassador to the African Union to discuss the mistreatment allegations.[36] The African ambassadors summarised the complaints in an official protest letter demanding the cessation of reported ejection from hotels or apartments, forced testing and quarantine, the seizure of passports, and threats of visa revocation, arrest or deportation of Africans particularly in the Guangdong province.[37] In response to the criticism, Chinese authorities set up a hotline for foreign nationals and laid out measures discouraging businesses and rental houses in Guangzhou from refusing people based on race or nationality.[38][39]

Hong Kong

More than 100 restaurants in Hong Kong have turned away customers from mainland China, with one restaurant demanding that a customer produce a Hong Kong identity card to prove they were not from the mainland.[40] Tenno Ramen, a Japanese noodle restaurant in Hung Hom, refused to serve mainland Chinese customers. The restaurant said on Facebook, "We want to live longer. We want to safeguard local customers. Please excuse us."[41] Another example is Kwong Wing Catering, a pro-2019–20 Hong Kong protests restaurant chain, which announced on Facebook on 28 January 2020 that it would only serve English or Cantonese-speaking but not Mandarin-speaking customers since the government did not implement a border closure against mainland Chinese. However, Mandarin is also the common tongue in Taiwan, so the said Facebook post was then updated a day later to clarify that they welcome Taiwanese customers.[42][43]

Many protesters in Hong Kong have reportedly insisted on calling COVID-19 the "Chinese Virus" or "Chinese coronavirus".[44]


The Foreign Policy reported that "On social media, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts encourage people to stay away from places where Chinese citizens or Chinese-heritage Indonesians work and live. ... Major media outlets are also complicit in spreading anti-Chinese conspiracies."[45] Several Indonesian Muslims online have also linked the virus with the mistreatment of Uighur Muslims, and that it is a "revenge by Allah."[46]

A demonstration was staged outside a hotel in Bukittinggi, rejecting the visit of tourists from Southern China who stayed there amid fear of coronavirus. The demonstrators demanded that the tourists be isolated in an airport, and showed distrust over screening tools in airports. It ended after police guaranteed that the tourists would stay in the hotel up to the following day, when the tourists depart from the city.[47][48]

In a press release, the embassy of Japan in Indonesia stated that incidents of discrimination and harassment toward Japanese people had increased in the midst of the pandemic, and announced they had set up a help center to assist Japanese residents dealing with these incidents.[49] In general, there have been reports of widespread anti-Japanese discrimination and harassment in the country, with hotels, stores, restaurants, taxi services and more refusing Japanese customers, and many Japanese people were no longer allowed in meetings and conferences. The embassy of Japan has also received at least a dozen reports of harassment toward Japanese people in just a few days.[50][51] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Japan) stated that anti-Japanese discrimination was on the increase in the country.[52]


A poster from India for spreading awareness about xenophobia related to COVID-19

People from Northeastern India have reportedly faced increased discrimination and harassment due to their Chinese appearance.[53] Northeast Indian students in Kirori Mal College, Delhi, have filed a complaint to college authorities about harassment in the hands of other students over the fears of coronavirus.[54] Eight students from Northeast India at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai also alleged that they were subjected to racism and harassment.[55]

A survey by The Takshashila Institution found that 52.8% of Indian respondents felt terms such as "Chinese Virus" and "Made in China Pandemic" were not racist or stagmatising to the country.[56] The Bharatiya Janata Party's State unit president in West Bengal Dilip Ghosh stated that the Chinese had "destroyed nature" and "that's why the God took revenge against them." The remarks were later condemned by the Chinese consulate in Kolkata, calling them "erroneous."[57]

In March 2020, foreigners from Europe, US and Israel started facing xenophobia and discrimination, including evictions from rented homes.[58]

Muslim gatherings organised by the Tablighi Jamaat has resulted in large increased of cases in India,[59] which has triggered Islamophobic reactions and increased communal tension.[60][61] Islamophobic hashtags began circulating shortly after the news broke in late March,[62] and a wave of anti-Muslim violence was reported in April.[63] In Jharkhand, hospitals refusing to treat Muslim patients because coronavirus-related Islamophobia have led to the deaths of at least two newborn babies.[64]

There have been a few reports of increased anti-Christian violence and discrimination amidst the coronavirus lockdown.[65][66][67]


The Iranian government has blamed the country's outbreak on the "Zionists." The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran has claimed that Israel released the virus as a form of biological warfare. These claims were seen by some Jewish organisations, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), as being anti-semitic.[68][69]

According to the Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japanese people have been denied entry to restaurants and experienced increased abuse since the pandemic.[70]


More than 1,000 South Korean tourists were instructed to avoid public places and remain in isolation in their hotels.[71] The Israeli military announced its intention to quarantine some 200 South Korean nationals to a military base.[72] Many of the remaining South Koreans were rejected by hotels and were forced to spend nights at Ben Gurion Airport.[73] An Israeli newspaper subsequently published a Korean complaint that "Israel is Treating [Korean and other Asian] Tourists Like Coronavirus".[74] Public health expert Dr. Hagai Levine said that Israeli politicians may be overreaching to impress voters.[75]

On 14 March 2020, an Indian man from the Bnei Menashe community was attacked and beaten by several unidentified individuals in Tiberias who called him "Chinese" and "Corona".[76] The man was hospitalized at the Baruch Padeh Medical Center in Tiberas.[76]


In Japan, the hashtag #ChineseDontComeToJapan had been trending on Twitter;[77] furthermore, on Twitter, Japanese people have called Chinese tourists "dirty", "insensitive", and "bioterrorists".[78]

A server at a restaurant in Ito, a Japanese city on the Izu Peninsula south of Tokyo, was recorded shouting at a tourist "China! Out!" A Chinese woman, who was the target of the outburst, immediately left the restaurant.[79]

A confectionery shop in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture put up a sign saying "No Chinese allowed!" prompting Chinese citizens to boycott the store.[80]

According to an Ipsos MORI poll, 28% of Japanese respondents said they would consider avoiding people of Chinese origin in the future to protect themselves from coronavirus.[81]

Ueno Sanji, a ramen restaurant in Tokyo has banned foreigners from dining there, with the owner claiming that he is doing so to protect his family, employees and regular customers.[82]


In March 2020, a Korean working in Jordan since 2014 reported to the police that he was beaten and mocked due to his Asian appearance.[83] In another incident, a Jordanian who has a Korean mother was refused to take a taxi, for the same reason.[84]

According to Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there have been incidents of Japanese people being chased by locals since the pandemic.[70]


In February 2020, a conflict broke out between ethnic Kazakhs and Chinese Muslims. According to The Diplomat, "In the hours following the incident, fake news about "ruthless pogroms in Kazakhstan around the spreading of coronavirus" circulated around social media, fueling hysteria in other parts of the country."[85][86]


In order to address the deficit in the capacity at Kuwaiti hospitals to help in the COVID-19 outbreak, Kuwaiti actress Hayat Al-Fahad called for the deportation of migrant workers or to "throw them in the desert".[87] Her comments generated outrage on social media in Kuwait.[87]


A petition in Malaysia calling for citizens from China to be banned from entering the country claimed that the "new virus is widely spread throughout the world because of their unhygienic lifestyle".[88] The petition was reportedly signed by a little over 250,000 people within a week.[89]

Islamophobia also occurs since March when social media users insult groups of Tabligh people as the cluster related to Sri Petaling Tabligh gathering cause it to experiencing sudden jump in number of cases in Malaysia.[90]

According to Human Rights Watch and the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, over 700 foreign migrant workers and refugees including stateless Rohingya refugees have been detained by Malaysian police during the coronavirus pandemic.[91] Police have claimed that the arrests were intended to prevent undocumented migrants from traveling to other areas as part of lockdown movement restrictions.[92] In response to the arrests, the United Nations in Malaysia's Head of Communications and Advocacy, Ahmad Hafiz Osman, to avoid detaining refugees and not to hinder them from seeking medical treatment. The Home Affairs Minister Hamzah Zainuddin had earlier described the Rohingya as "illegal immigrants" who have "have no status, right and basis to present any demands to the government."[93][92]

In addition, there have been incidents of xenophobia against Rohingya refugees in Malaysia, such as Malaysian politicians and locals expressing violent hate speech online,[94][95] accusing the Rohingya of committing crimes and dominating parts of the capital Kuala Lumpur. Names and photos of activists have been circulated on social media, and there have been several online petitions calling for the deportation of Rohingya on This surge in hostility has been fueled by negative perceptions about Rohingya refugees and inflammatory news stories on social media.[92][96] According to The Star newspaper, there were also reports of Rohingya individuals making racially-tinged and provocative comments in social media videos targeting the Malay ethnicity community, which have strained relations between the two ethnic communities.[97] Rohingya community spokespersons have said that the community is living in state of fear while the NGOs Mercy Malaysia and the Malaysian Relief Agency urged the public to show empathy and mercy towards the refugees during Ramadan.[96] On 11 May 83 human rights and civil society organisations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Article 19, and the International Committee of Jurists called on Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to address online hate speech and violent threats against Rohingya refugees.[98]

On 21 June, Malaysian human rights NGO Aliran raised concerns about the living and working conditions of foreign migrant workers, many of whom had become infected with COVID-19. Aliran also criticised "inflammatory" media coverage for fueling xenophobia and hostility against migrant workers.[99]

On 25 June, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall restricted refugees' access to the city's wholesale market, only allowing them entry if they possessed valid permits and were accompanied by Malaysians. The City Hall does not recognise identity cards issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. This ruling was criticised by Yemen Refugee Union representative Dr Mohammed Al Radhi and Alliance of Chin Refugees coordinator James Bawi Thang Bik as discriminatory and inhumane towards refugee communities.[100]

On 27 June, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin stated that Malaysia could not accommodate more Rohingya refugees due to a struggling economy and dwindling resources. Malaysia does not recognise their refugee status and has turned away incoming boats and detained hundreds of refugees. The Prime Minister also called upon the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to speed up the resettlement of Rohingya refugees in third party countries.[101][102]

In early July 2020, an Al Jazeera documentary titled "Locked Up in Malaysia's Lockdown" alleged that illegal migrants and foreign workers had subjected to racism and mistreatment by Malaysian authorities during the country's lockdown. The Malaysian Government criticised the documentary as "misleading" and "inaccurate", with Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob demanding an apology from the news network. The Royal Malaysian Police have launched an investigation into the documentary while the Immigration Department of Malaysia have sought to question a Bangladeshi migrant interviewed in the documentary.[103][104][105] In response, several civil society organisations including the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) issued a statement calling on the Malaysian Government to cease intimidating media and to protect the rights of migrant workers.[106] The Bangladeshi migrant, who was identified as Mohammad Rayhan Kaybir, was subsequently deported to Bangladesh on 22 August.[107]


On 1 March 2020, a Palestinian mother with her daughter chanted "Corona, corona" to the two Japanese women who were in Ramallah for non-governmental aid mission.[108][109] The mother then attacked and pulled the hair of one of the Japanese women who attempted to record the incident.[110] According to the Embassy of Japan, there have been at least another 10 reports of anti-Japanese incidents related to the pandemic, as of early March.[70]


Various Filipino-Chinese advocacy groups have warned that racism against the Chinese community has risen after the outbreak has started.[111] The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc and the Trade Union of Congress of the Philippines have condemned anti-Chinese propaganda with links to the virus.[111] Adamson University, a prominent Catholic school in Manila, received online backlash for ordering all its Chinese students to quarantine themselves amid the new coronavirus outbreak.[112] A crematorium refused to handle the corpse of a Chinese national who died from the virus.[113]

President Rodrigo Duterte has made appeals to the public to stop discriminating against anyone who merely happens to be of Chinese ancestry.[114]

Saudi Arabia

Images of a South Asian migrant worker who was dressed as a human hand sanitiser while wearing a face mask for Saudi Aramco went viral online and sparked global outrage and was cited as another example of "coronavirus racism."[115][116] The company later apologised for the incident.[117]


An online petition urging the government of Singapore to ban Chinese nationals and travellers from China from entering the island country was signed by 125,000 people.[118]

The Ministry of Home Affairs has ordered an investigation against an Islamic teacher, Abdul Halim bin Abdul Karim, after he had posted on Facebook that the coronavirus pandemic was "a retribution by Allah against the Chinese for their oppressive treatment of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang." In a separate post, Abdul Halim claimed that Chinese people do not wash properly after defecating and were not as hygienic as Muslims, causing the virus to spread. Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam slammed the comments as "silly", "xenophobic" and "thoroughly racist" and is "quite unacceptable from anyone, let alone someone who is supposed to be a religious teacher."[119] The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore said it is aware of the post, which "expresses views that do not represent the Muslim community" and was investigating the matter.[120] In response, Abdul Halim said that his Facebook post written in Malay, was not intended to be racist and did not target "any particular race".[121]

South Korea

More than 760,000 South Korean citizens have signed a petition lobbying the government to ban Chinese tourists from entering the country.[122][123] The Daegu Lantern Festival posted a notice in English that no foreigners are allowed to visit their festival.[124]

In February 2020, an entrance to a South Korean restaurant in downtown Seoul reportedly had a sign in red Chinese characters stating: "No Chinese Allowed".[125] "No Chinese" signs have been cropping up, and some businesses are banning all foreigners.[126]

Sri Lanka

A group of Singaporean Chinese tourists were reportedly denied permission to climb the tourist attraction Ella Rock due to their appearance.[127]


A restaurant in Chiang Mai displayed a sign which read, "We apologize we are not accepting CHINESE customers. Thank you." after a customer left the restaurant upon noticing a group of Chinese people inside. The police demanded that the sign be taken down, but suggested that it could be rewritten in Chinese as "We ran out of food".[128] A similar sign was seen outside a restaurant in Ao Sane Beach in Phuket.[129]

Graffiti artist Headache Stencil reportedly tweeted, "Hey Chink! Please go back to ur shit-eating country. Our government need ur money to keep their power but you all not welcome for us now. #notwelcometothailand #backtourchinklandpls".[128]

Health minister Anutin Charnvirakul made negative comments about "dirty" Westerners, saying they "never shower" and are more likely to spread the virus than Asians.[130][131] He later apologised for the comments.[132]

In December 2020, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said that illegal immigration was behind a new wave of COVID-19 infection in the country. Migrant workers from neighboring Myanmar bore the brunt of the blame, including incendiary social media posts advocating violence, such as "wherever you see Myanmar people, shoot them down," and refusal of service across Thai society, with Burmese citizens refused access to buses, motorcycle taxis, and offices. COVID-19 xenophobia also led to a reawakening of anger related to the 18th century destruction by Burmese forces of Ayutthaya, capital of what was then known as Siam, now Thailand. The head of Thailand's COVID-19 taskforce pleaded for tolerance in a televised broadcast, appealing to common religious values; "Today they are our family... Both Myanmar and Thai people are Buddhists."[133] In January 2021, however, 19 migrants from Myanmar, all Rohingya Muslims, were arrested at a crowded house near Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok. Authorities claimed that seven of the allegedly unauthorized migrants had tested positive for the coronavirus.[134]


While in 2019, a poll estimated that 83.2% of Turks wanted all Syrian refugees returned, the pandemic caused a further rise of xenophobia and anti-refugee sentiment in Turkey.[135] A couple of religious news outlets have reported a spike in attacks on Turkish churches, with some scapegoating Christians for the coronavirus crisis in Turkey.[136][137]

United Arab Emirates

Following comments made by Kuwaiti actress Hayat Al-Fahad about the deportation of migrant workers to the desert or to their countries of origin due to COVID-19,[87] Emirati poet Tariq Al-Mehyas clarified Al-Fahad's comments by stating "When we say "migrants" we mean Asians [not Arabs]".[138] He went on to further state that Arab workers from countries such as Egypt and Sudan were better than Asian (Indian and Bengali) workers and said Asians in the Gulf are never treated equally with Arabs.[138] When his comments generated widespread outrage in the UAE, he said that he wasn't racist because he had an Asian maid.[139][140] Al-Mehyas was later arrested by Emirati authorities for inciting hatred.[139]


Asia Times reported that "A number of Vietnamese hotels and guesthouses have reportedly hung signs on their doors saying that Chinese guests are not welcome, while many Vietnamese have gone online to demand the closure of all border crossings with China."[141] Signs suggesting that Chinese customers are not accepted were seen in front of a shop in Phu Quoc and a restaurant in Da Nang.[142]

Anger was also reported due to the increasing number of the infected cases coming from the Muslim community returning from Malaysia following their attendance of the Tablighi Jamaat festival in Sri Petaling mosque, and two to three patients did not obey the self-quarantine law in Vietnam and still attended Islamic events in Ho Chi Minh City, leading to fury and demands to imprison the Muslim population, even among Vietnamese celebrities.[143]

Australia and Oceania


On 26 January 2020, two of Australia's highest circulating newspapers published provocative headlines. Melbourne's Herald Sun's headline read, "Chinese virus pandamonium", a misspelling of "pandemonium" and alluding to China's native pandas, while Sydney's Daily Telegraph's headline read "China kids stay home". One of the outcomes of these headlines was a petition of over 51,000 signatures demanding an apology.[41][144]

At a Woolworths supermarket in Port Hedland, Western Australia, a person reported an incident whereby a staff member removed and refused entry to customers who appeared to be of Asian descent, claiming it was to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. A witness to the incident made a complaint that was upheld by Woolworths who confirmed that the staff member had been in the wrong, apologised for the incident and said they were conducting a full investigation into the incident.[145][146]

Ravenswood School for Girls, a private school on Sydney's North Shore asked a South Korean student to leave her dormitory – even though she had not been to China since visiting Shanghai in October 2019 and was medically cleared when she arrived at the school.[147] Similarly, a Chinese-Malaysian student in Perth found herself evicted from her shared home upon returning to Australia after visiting her home country for Lunar New Year.[148]

There has been a growing number of reports where members of the Chinese-Australian and Asian-Australian communities have been subjected to verbal vitriol and racist slurs, in addition to suggestions on social media to cull the Chinese race and "burn down" China to stop the epidemic.[149][150] On 20 March 2020, a student wearing a mask in Hobart, Tasmania was told, "you've got the virus" and "go back to your country" before being punched leaving him with a bruised eye and broken glasses. The reason for the attack was partly attributed to the cultural differences in wearing masks in Eastern and Western cultures.[151]

Chinese restaurants and establishments in Sydney and Melbourne have seen a dramatic drop in business, with trade declining by over 70%.[152]

On 28 January 2020, a man collapsed and died of a suspected cardiac arrest outside of a restaurant in Sydney's Chinatown. Unconfirmed viral videos circulating on social media suggest that bystanders refused to perform CPR out of fear of the novel coronavirus.[153]

According to an online Ipsos MORI poll, 23% of Australian respondents would consider in the future avoiding people of Chinese origin to protect themselves from coronavirus.[81]

New Zealand

MP Raymond Huo stated that there were racial abuse incidents in the country's Chinese community. An online petition to prevent people from China from entering the country was signed by more than 18,000 people.[154] In Canterbury, an email was sent to a Chinese-origin student's parent, which reportedly said, "our Kiwi kids don't want to be in the same class with your disgusting virus spreaders."[155]

Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff stated that he was "sickened" by the reports of Asian-origin people being racially targeted at swimming pools, public transport and restaurants.[156]

There have been reports of incidents of violent assaults against New Zealanders of Korean descent.[157]


On 5 February 2020, Fiji's state-owned broadcaster FBC reported that a local Chinese had been berated publicly at a bus station by a man claiming the victim had COVID-19.[158]

An opposition Fijian member of parliament Mitieli Bulanauca mentioned that COVID-19 has been spread by evil forces to assist China and they're responsible for the crisis we are in which is being assisted by satanic forces. Bulanauca also claimed that the World Health Organization (WHO) had sided with China over the poor handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Chinese Embassy in Fiji had condemned claims made by Bulanauca saying that it is shocked and disappointed as Bulanauca's remarks are not factual and were taken from fake social media pages.[159]



There have been reports by Asian people of increased racism in Belgium due to the pandemic.[160]

A woman was called "coronavirus", threatened, and spat on by five youths in Schaerbeek.[161]

A photograph depicting high school students in Chinese costumes while holding a sign that said "Corona Time" was posted on the official Facebook and Instagram of Sint-Paulusschool Campus College Waregem, a secondary school, in March 2020.[162][163][164] One of the students added latex gloves and a medical mask to his attire in reference to the outbreak,[162][164] while another student stretched her eyes in a racist gesture.[162][163] The photograph was removed after online backlash.[162][163] The school released a statement, claiming that the school team and the last-grade students had no intention to be condescending or offensive.[163]

In Brussels, a 22-year-old man punched a 24-year-old Asian man and accused him of being "the cause" of coronavirus in Belgium.[165]


On 15 February 2020, during a Croatian Table Tennis Superleague match which was played in Dubrovnik between the local team Libertas Marinkolora and guest team STK Starr from Varaždin, a number of insulting comments were posted on the official Libertas Marinkolora Facebook page towards a Croatian player of Chinese origin, Tan Ruiwu of STK Starr which referenced the coronavirus. This included a comment by the manager of Libertas Marinkolor Marko Habijanec in which he instructed one of his players (who was facing Tan in the next match) to "Beat this virus." The comments were subsequently deleted.[166] Libertas Marinkolor eventually issued an apology and condemnation of the incident.[167]


Asians in Finland have reported instances of discrimination prompted by the novel coronavirus outbreak in China. Various people with backgrounds in China, Vietnam, and Japan told Yle that they feel to have been subjected to racist treatment since news broke about the virus.[168] On 23 February, Helsinki Times reported that at least one Chinese restaurant in Helsinki had seen a downturn in bookings since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. A Chinese supermarket reported a dramatic drop in people coming into the store but an uptick in online sales, with customers opting to have goods delivered to their homes.[169]


French newspaper Le Courrier Picard featured an Asian woman wearing a mask on its front page on 26 January 2020 with a headline "Yellow Alert".[170] The paper also titled an editorial "A New Yellow Peril".[171] The publication drew condemnation from French Asians who started the hashtag #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus (which translates to "I Am Not A Virus").[172] Other French newspapers called the COVID-19 as "Chinese Virus" at the beginning of the outbreak which could stigmatise people of Chinese descent.[173][174] Numerous reports indicate a significant increase in harassment and violent attacks toward people of certain Asian origins.[175][176] Some children of Asian descent were ostracised and mocked over their origins in middle schools near Paris.[177][178]

Non-Western restaurants, including Chinese, Thai, Cambodian, and Japanese have reported a decline in customers. The scale of the decline typically ranged from 30 to 50 percent.[179]

Many French-Vietnamese report also being subject to harassment since the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.[180][176]

South Korean media have reported an increased animosity toward South Korean nationals.[181][182]

Japan's public service broadcaster NHK, which provides a list of overseas safety risks for traveling, recently listed anti-Japanese discrimination as a safety risk when traveling to France and other European countries.[183] Some Japanese nationals have reported an increase in anti-Japanese incidents, such as being mocked on the street and refused taxi service, and least one Japanese restaurant has been vandalized.[184][185][186] A Japanese actress working for the French company Louis Vuitton received a number of coronavirus-related comments on the company's Instagram page, which the company later deleted.[187] A group of Japanese students on a study tour in Paris received abuse by locals.[4]

Asians in Paris have reported an increase in racism and harassment.[188][189]


Numerous racial incidences and discrimination against those of Asian descent in Germany have been reported by news media.[190][191]

The weekly magazine Der Spiegel has published a controversial cover which has been considered by some as blaming China for the outbreak and fueling xenophobia.[192][193][194]

The Chinese Embassy in Berlin has acknowledged a rise in hostile cases against its citizens since the outbreak.[195] On 1 February 2020, a 23-year old Chinese citizen in Berlin reportedly received racist insults and was subsequently beaten by two unknown assailants, in an incident classified by police as "xenophobic".[196]

A Chinese student from Chengdu living in Berlin was given two weeks notice to leave her sublet apartment by her landlord, German actress Gabrielle Scharnitzky.[197] Scharnitzky defended her actions, stating "I had to protect myself against a real possible danger of infection by a person returning from a virus-contaminated area, entering and leaving my home and thus endangering my health and the health of my visitors".[198] The student reportedly informed Scharnitzky in January of her intentions to visit China, though this trip never took place.[199]

On 5 February 2020, a Chinese woman in Berlin, who had not visited China in three months, was reportedly turned away by her gynecologist, claiming that the coronavirus may infect pregnant women in the clinic.[200] In the same month, a Chinese student in Essen with a sore throat was denied an appointment by a general practitioner over coronavirus fears, despite not having been to China since September 2019.[201] She was instead told to go the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with bronchitis.

In Munich, a German woman of Chinese descent was assaulted by a neighbor, who sprayed her with disinfectant, screamed "Corona" at her and threatened to cut her head off. The man is facing charges of assault and threat; the state protection department is investigating a possible racist motive for the crime.[202]

A restaurant run by a well-known chef announced a ban on people of Chinese descent.[203]

German football club RB Leipzig denied entry to a group of 20 Japanese fans over coronavirus fears.[204] In Nuremberg, locals threw raw eggs at homes owned by Japanese residents.[205] According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Japan), anti-Japanese discrimination has been rising in Germany.[52]

The embassy of South Korea in Germany warned its citizens of rising anti-Korean violence.[206]

According to an Ipsos MORI poll in early February, 28% of German respondents would consider avoiding people of Chinese origin in the future to protect themselves from the coronavirus.[207]

In Hamburg, a German family of Turkish descent had received a threatening letter that allegedly contains the coronavirus.[208]


Chinese-owned businesses, including those in the predominantly Asian Józsefváros Market in Budapest, have reported a significant drop in sales, which owners have attributed to the coronavirus. Some businesses have opted to signal to potential customers that they are from another Asian country.[209][210]


On 8 August 2020 two Chinese men Martin Hong and Arthur Ma were attacked in a physical and verbal racist assault whilst shopping in a supermarket in Cork Co. Cork. The assault happened after Martin and Arthur were racially abused by a group of teenagers who were shouting “Chinese virus”. Hong and Ma asked the teenagers to repeat what they said after removing their phones. To which the teenagers retaliated by violently punching the pair. An elderly woman raised the alarm by contacting Gardaí. Hong and Ma spent six hours receiving medical care after the pair were admitted to Cork University Hospital. Gardaí later issued a statement about the incident which was confirmed and they said they're following a "definite line of enquiry".[211]

On 14 August 2020 Gardaí Síochána are investigating a racist verbal and physical assault in Dublin Co. Dublin after a video, which was posted on two separate TikTok accounts of an Asian woman Xuedan (Shelley) Xiong being filmed, being pushed into the Royal Canal between Castleknock and Ashtown by a group of boys who raced towards her on bicycles, as if to push her into the canal after she confronted them for making racial slurs by shouting "Coronavirus"[212] towards her. The video was deleted along with the accounts, which were suspended. Xiong is now afraid to leave her home. Xiong was heard telling the group "not to racially discriminate, that's criminal" before some of the boys pushed her into the canal some of the boys were heard mocking her screams and laughing as they cycled off. Gardaí Síochána said that the boys are unlikely to be charged or cautioned.[213]


La Repubblica reported that the director of Rome's prestigious Santa Cecilia music conservatory, Roberto Giuliani, suspended lessons for all Asian students—Korean, Chinese, Japanese, with Koreans the largest group affected—due to the epidemic, though most of the students were second-generation immigrants.[214][215]

According to The Washington Post, people especially from South Korea and China experienced increased mockery and discrimination.[216]

It was posted on social media that a bar around the Trevi Fountain had a sign not allowing entrance to anyone from China because of "international safety measures". It was later removed by police.[217]

Dozens of Chinese stores were vandalized in the northern towns of Como, Brescia, and Varese. Many Chinese stores reported a decline in business.[218]

People of Chinese and Filipino descents reported assaults (some serious enough to require hospitalization), harassment, and being refused services. Some public officials asked students of Asian origin to stay home.[218]

On 24 February 2020, a Chinese man was barred from entering a gas station in Cassola in Vicenza, Veneto and was told "You have coronavirus, you cannot enter!" at which point somebody broke a bottle on his head causing severe injuries.[219] The same day, an elderly Filipino pensioner was attacked and punched in a supermarket in the town of Mariano Comense, in Como, Lombardy. Singer and TV personality Francesco Facchinetti was seen intervening and defending the victim.[220]

Veneto regional governor Luca Zaia apologized after claiming that the Chinese eat live mice.[221]

On 8 March 2020, a Japanese restaurant in Rivoli, in Torino, Piedmont was the target of an arson attack by a group of teens who taunted the owners, calling them carriers of the epidemic.[222]


Dutch public broadcasting news network NOS has reported that on many of its Facebook and Instagram posts about the coronavirus, there have been a great number of "racist, discriminating and anti-Chinese comments". Dutch residents of Asian descent report having been called out as carriers of the coronavirus during their commute, in the supermarket, in school, and on social media.[223]

On 6 February 2020, radio DJ Lex Gaarthuis presented his Carnaval song "Voorkomen is beter dan Chinezen" (a pun on the proverb Voorkomen is beter dan genezen – "prevention is better than cure" – with Chinezen referring to both Chinese people and eating Chinese food) on national radio station Radio 10 under his alter ego Toon, which includes the lyrics "we can't have the virus in our country, it is all caused by these stinking Chinese people" and "don't eat Chinese food." After many complaints were issued against Radio 10 and Gaarthuis, primarily by the Chinese community in the Netherlands, both the station and artist made formal apologies, with Gaarthuis saying the song was meant to be satirical but had overshot its mark.[224] Ironically enough the virus was spread significantly during the Carnaval period.[225][226]

On 8 February 2020, a group of Chinese students living in a student dormitory of Wageningen University discovered that their floor had been vandalised. Damages included a Chinese flag torn from a student's door and shredded and walls defaced with English language insults such as "Die, Chinese" and "Chinese Corona."[227] Dutch police investigated the incident, but no suspects have been identified.[228]

On 10 February 2020, a 65-year-old Dutch man of Chinese descent was kicked off his bicycle in Amsterdam by two young men on a scooter. One of the culprits filmed the incident and uploaded it to his Snapchat story. He later downplayed criticism saying "don't you worry guys, it was a Chinese man"[229] and only turned himself in to police after becoming the target of widespread Internet vigilantism.[230]

On a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Seoul on 11 February 2020, flight attendants put up a sign in Korean discouraging passengers from using a restroom on the plane allegedly reserved for the flight crew, apparently out of fear of the coronavirus.[231] A spokesman for the airline has since issued an apology, stating "we are deeply sorry that this was viewed as discrimination, which was absolutely not the intention of the crew" and that it is not company policy to reserve specific lavatories for flight crew.[232] Many Koreans and Dutch people of Korean descent have reported a spate of anti-Korean incidents, from vandalism of their homes to violent assaults and harassment, and more than 150 Korean expat respondents in an online survey indicated they had experienced a xenophobic incident.[233][206]

On the evening of 22 February 2020, a 24-year-old Dutch student of Chinese descent was assaulted by a group of students in her dormitory in Tilburg, suffering a concussion and knife wounds, after she asked them to stop singing Gaarthuis' Carnaval song.[234]

In late February 2020, the Japanese School of Amsterdam cautioned parents not to bring their children to playgrounds and other places frequented by local children, amidst a spate of violent bullying incidents targeting Japanese children.[233]

On 16 March 2020, a residence in Diemen was smeared with words reading "Kankerchinees corona" ("cancerous Chinese corona" in English), which was publicly denounced by Mayor Erik Boog.[235]


In Moscow and Yekaterinburg, Chinese nationals are targeted by quarantine enforcing campaigns, as well as police raids, which were condemned as racial profiling.[236]

In Blagoveshchensk, at least one hotel has barred Chinese nationals from booking rooms, and markets operated by people of Chinese origin have seen their sales plummeting.[237]

According to an Ipsos MORI poll, 37% of Russian respondents would consider avoiding people of Chinese origin, the highest of the eight countries surveyed.[81]


It was reported on 20 May 2020 that a Chinese student and his girlfriend were racially harassed and assaulted in Stockholm due to wearing masks. A man hit the couple in the face and head, which resulted in injuries for both victims as well as a pair of broken glasses and a concussion for the female victim. Both of their masks were torn.[238]

United Kingdom

On 12 February 2020, Sky News reported that some Chinese people in the United Kingdom said they were facing increasing levels of racist abuse.[239] It was recorded that hate crimes against Chinese people between January and March 2020 have tripled the amount of hate crimes in the past two years in the UK.[240]

Chinese businesses in the United Kingdom, including the busy Chinese takeaway segment and businesses in Chinatown, London recorded significantly reduced customers in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak compared to usual elevated sales related to Chinese New Year celebrations, due to fears of coronavirus spreading through food or unhygienic working practices.[241][242] In London, a student of the Royal Holloway University was verbally abused by train passengers at Clapham Junction station, while a similar incident was reported by passengers on the London Underground.[242][243]

On 30 January 2020, a postgraduate student walking alone while wearing a face mask on West Street in Sheffield city centre, towards the University of Sheffield, was verbally abused and nudged by three people.[244]

Tottenham Hotspur footballer Dele Alli posted a video on Snapchat where he wore a face mask and appeared to mock an Asian man seated near him in Dubai about the coronavirus outbreak. He later apologised and deleted the video.[245]

A 24-year old Thai tax consultant in London was violently assaulted and robbed by two teenagers yelling "coronavirus" at the man.[246]

In Solihull, a woman of Chinese origin was allegedly called "a dirty Chink" and told "Take your fucking coronavirus back home!" A woman of Indian origin who tried to intervene was beaten up and later hospitalised.[247]

On 2 March 2020, a Singaporean Chinese student studying at University College London was beaten up when walking past a group of young people who shouted "I don't want your coronavirus in my country" to him in Oxford Street, London. He suffered fractures on his face and bruises on his eye. The Metropolitan Police in London are investigating this assault.[248] Two teenagers have been arrested in relation to the incident.[249]

In Exeter, there had been 6 separate racially-motivated physical assaults against Asian people, including 3 assaults against Chinese teenagers reported in a 24-hour period.[250]

A Vietnamese art curator was dropped as an assistant for an exhibit of contemporary Vietnamese fine art at the Affordable Art Fair. Raquelle Azran, the dealer in charge of the exhibit, explained in an email that she could no longer participate because "Asians are being seen as carriers of the virus" and that the presence of a Vietnamese curator "would unfortunately create hesitation on the part of the audience to enter the exhibition space."[251]

An NHS nurse of Asian descent stated she was assaulted and racially abused by a couple at a train station during her commute for a nightshift at a hospital.[252]

North America


A national report, funded by the Government of Canada and conducted as a collaboration with the Chinese Canadian National Council – Toronto Chapter, Project 107, Vancouver Asian Film Festival and the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, revealed there were 600 documented anti-Asian incidents reported in the country since the start of the pandemic.[253] It revealed that East Asians suffered the most attacks at 83%, followed by Southeast Asians at 7%, South Asians at 2%, mixed-race or biracial Canadians at 1.5% and Indigenous Canadians at 1%.[253]

On 26 January 2020, Peter Akman, a reporter who was with CTV News, tweeted an image of his Asian barber in a mask and said, "Hopefully all I got today was a haircut."[254] He was fired after the tweet was reported.[255]

On 29 January 2020, Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada and head of the Public Health Agency of Canada, expressed her concern. Tam, who is originally from Hong Kong, tweeted that "I am concerned about the growing number of reports of racism and stigmatizing comments on social media directed to people of Chinese and Asian descent related to 2019-nCoV coronavirus."[256]

The Nation reported on 7 February 2020 that some people of Hong Kong and other Asian diaspora in Canada had been spreading xenophobic stories and rhetoric online against mainland Chinese people.[257]

Several incidents of violent assaults against women of Asian descent have been reported.[258]

According to an Angus Reid Institute/University of Alberta survey on 22 June 2020, 64% of Chinese-Canadian respondents reported some level of disrespect during COVID-19,[259] 50% of them had experienced verbal abuse, and 29% had experienced physical attacks. 64% of respondents also felt coverage from North American news outlets had led to negative views of ethnically Chinese people in Canada.[260][261]

Chinese-Canadian businesses in Vancouver have reported a drop in business ranging from 50 to 70 percent.[262]

On 13 March 2020, a white man in his 50s yelled racist remarks about COVID-19 towards a 92-year-old Asian man with dementia at a convenience store in Vancouver. The suspect also assaulted the elderly man, which caused the victim to fall and hit his head on the ground.[263]

On 11 May 2020, a Chilliwack School District trustee Barry Neufeld posted transphobic remarks about COVID-19 towards Theresa Tam on Facebook.[264]

Vancouver's Chinese Cultural Centre was a target of vandalism, particularly graffiti calling for the death of Chinese people.[265]

According to the Vancouver Police Department the number of anti-Asian hate crimes reported in the months March and April 2020 exceeded the total in 2019.[258] During the first nine months of 2020, the number of anti-Asian hate crimes saw an 878% increase compared to the same period in 2019, from 9 to 88.[266]

A survey of 1,600 adults conducted by ResearchCo and obtained by the Agence France-Presse revealed one in four Canadians of Asian descent (70% of whom were of Chinese descent) who lived in British Columbia knew someone within their household who had faced discrimination.[267] The survey also revealed 24 percent of Canadians of South Asian descent reported racist insults.[267] Canadians of Indigenous origin had also reported discrimination.[267]

In the Greater Toronto Area, Chinese restaurants have reported a drop in sales ranging from 30 to 80 percent.[268]

On 28 January 2020, 9,000 parents of a school district in the York Region, just north of Toronto signed a petition calling on the York Region District School Board to keep students whose family have visited China home from school for 17 days, and that schools keep track of these students' travels and inform other parents so they could decide whether to pull their kids out of class. The York Region School Board rejected the petition, stating that it could potentially stoke racism.[269][270]

In April 2020, Dipanjan Basu, a University of Waterloo engineering professor posted anti-Chinese messages on his personal Facebook account, for which he later apologized.[271]

In Montreal, vandals targeted Vietnamese Buddhist temples by smashing statues and religious artifacts.[272][273]

On 17 March 2020, two Korean men were stabbed in Montreal, prompting the Korean Consulate to issue a warning to those of Korean heritage in the city to be cautious and report any incidents to the consulate.[274]

In April 2020, there have been reports of Inuit people being harassed and mistaken as Asians in Montreal. They were spat on and told to "go back to China" or "home country."[275]

In late-June 2020, a large number of cases involving Hutterites — a communal, self-sufficient ethnoreligious group with a large population in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, began to emerge. While many colonies have been cooperative with action from provincial health officials to control these outbreaks, some have displayed resistance — which has led to the group as a whole becoming stigmatized by the general population and facing discrimination.[276]

After facing the threat of a human rights complaint by a community member,[277] Manitoba announced that it would no longer attribute COVID-19 cases to Hutterite colonies unless there is risk to the general public.[276] For similar reasons, the Hutterian Safety Council (HSC) has also criticized identification of cases within colonies by Saskatchewan where there is no risk to the public — even after it began to use the euphemism of "communal living setting" to refer to cases within colonies — considering it a form of "cultural profiling" as no other group had been singled out in this manner. The province's medical officer Saqib Shahab stated that it was "very important to recognize there will be different settings for transmission", and that the public needed to be aware of where new cases were located.[278][279]

United States

58% of Asian Americans and 45% of African Americans believe that racist views toward them had increased since the pandemic, according to a June 2020 Pew Research study.[280]

There were a few thousand incidences of xenophobia and racism against Asian Americans between 28 January and 24 February 2020, according to a tally compiled by Russell Jeung, professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University.[281] An online reporting forum called "Stop AAPI Hate" recorded "650 direct reports of discrimination against primarily Asian Americans" between 18 and 26 March 2020,[281] this later increased to 1,497 reports by 15 April 2020, and most targets were of Chinese (40%) and Korean (16%) descents.[282] According to a WHYY-FM report (21 April 2020), incidents of anti-Asian racism, including discrimination, racial slurs and violent attacks, especially towards Chinese Americans, were caused both by White Americans and African-Americans;[283] most cases remain unreported to the authorities.[283]

Media critique organisation FAIR has documented instances of anti-Asian racism on the street, and reports that many media outlets such as CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and Fox News capitalise on Sinophobia and "Orientalist tropes that the Chinese are inherently sneaky and untrustworthy, and are ruled by an incompetent, authoritarian government that is the 'sick man of Asia'".[284] An article on The Conversation has also noted anti-Chinese sentiments from similar media outlets on their coverage of Chinese wet markets.[285]

The University of California, Berkeley's University Health Services posted an infographic on common reactions to the novel coronavirus epidemic that said "Xenophobia: fears about interacting with those who might be from Asia and guilt about these feelings" is normal. The university was criticized for "normalizing racism".[286]

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang spoke of an uptick in anti-Asian racism surrounding the coronavirus.[287] Several lawmakers, including members of Congress, denounced xenophobia related to the coronavirus in a press conference. They said Asian-American businesses across the country—from grocery stores to nail salons and restaurants—had been forced into financial crises due to a reduction in customers.[288] Additionally, Asian-American businesses have reported coronavirus-related harassment and acts of vandalism.[289][290]

U.S. President Donald Trump frequently referred to SARS-CoV-2 as the "Chinese Virus" and the "China Virus" in an attempt to point to its origin, a term considered by some to be anti-Chinese and racist.[291][292] He later argued this was "not racist at all" after lawmakers including Elizabeth Warren raised objections about the statement.[293] Trump also stated on Twitter, on 23 March 2020, that the coronavirus was not Asian Americans’ fault and their community should be protected.[294] CNN commentators Chris Cuomo and Jim Acosta also criticized the use of the term "Wuhan Virus" and "Chinese Virus",[295][296] although other CNN anchors had used those terms in the past.[297][298] Trump also brushed off the alleged use of the derogatory term "Kung Flu" by a White House official to refer to COVID-19 when asked by a reporter during a media session on 18 March 2020.[299][300] Eventually he pulled back on the "Chinese Virus" name due to Asian communities facing increased number of racist taunts and incidents as the illness spread across the U.S.[301] however, at his Tulsa, Oklahoma rally on 20 June, Trump referred to the virus as "Kung Flu."[302]

In response to the growing anti-Chinese sentiment, several media outlets and individuals began calling to everyone's attention that it was not useful to blame Chinese people for the pandemic, and that there was a distinction between the people of China and the Chinese Communist Party, accused by some of covering up and mishandling the pandemic.[303][304] A petition to use the name CCP virus has been launched with the White House on 20 March 2020.

On 23 March 2020, the FBI's New York office issued an alert reporting that extremists are encouraging one another to intentionally spread the coronavirus to police officers and members of the Jewish community if they contracted it.[305][306] That same day, the FBI foiled a terrorist[307] plot by a white supremacist to use a car bomb to blow up a Missouri hospital overflowing with COVID-19 patients, with the man having referenced far-right conspiracy theories that the virus was "engineered by Jews" online before he was shot and killed in an altercation with FBI agents.[307][308] The next day, the Department of Homeland Security released a memo to law enforcement officials warning of the possibility of violent extremists taking advantage of the pandemic to commit terrorist attacks. The memo cites calls by far-right extremists to commit attacks on Asian-Americans and other targets, as well as spread the virus in diverse neighborhoods and places of worship.[305][309][310] On 28 March, the FBI warned again that white supremacist groups were plotting to "expose Jewish people to coronavirus" by having members use themselves as bio-weapons" to infect areas Jewish people are deemed likely to visit.[308][311]

The Anti-Defamation League[312] and Life After Hate[313] observed that in addition to the wave of anti-Asian xenophobia online, there was a white nationalist and white supremacist[312][314]-fueled wave of anti-Semitic and racist anti-Israeli agitation, including but not limited to claims that Jews and/or Israelis were spreading the virus, but also an online campaign to infect Jews with the virus as a means of murder.[312] The ADL was especially concerned with the prevalence of anti-Semitic messaging on Steam, Discord and TikTok combined with the increased internet usage by children after school closings.[314]

Restaurants in Chinatown in Boston have also lost customers due to fears of coronavirus.[315] The government of New York City cited a report which estimated a 40 percent sales drop for Chinese businesses in Flushing, Queens, while other reports suggested the drop ranged from 30 to 80 percent.[316][317]

Koreans in the U.S. hesitated to wear masks in public amid reports of hate crimes and racism towards Asians who wore masks.[318]

At White House press conference on 10 April 2020, Surgeon General Jerome Adams claimed that people of color were "socially predisposed" to coronavirus exposure.[319] He was also criticized for calling on minority communities to abstain from drugs and alcohol with condescending language: "Do it for your abuela. Do it for your granddaddy, do it for your Big Mama, do it for your pop-pop."[320] Even his defenders criticized his public statement for not holding root-cause argument front and center.[321]

Testifying before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on 23 June, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated that he believes that institutional racism is a contributing factor to the disproportionate effect that the virus has had on African-American and other minority communities.[322]

On 17 September, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution 243-164 condemning racism against Asian-Americans tied to the pandemic.[323]

A man in Page was arrested in April and accused of inciting terrorism. The man is accused of making a social media post that calls for the killing of Navajo people due to COVID-19. The Navajo Nation has been dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak.[324]

In March, Scottsdale city council member Guy Phillips made a private Facebook post saying COVID stands for "Chinese Originated Viral Infectious Disease", prompting criticism and allegations of racism.[325] Phillips later issued an apology in a letter that was sent to the Arizona Republic.[326]

Asian-American students at Arizona State University have also reported incidents of racism and xenophobia.[327]

In Los Angeles, a Thai-American woman on the Los Angeles subway captured footage of a man screaming racist comments and expletives about coronavirus.[217] On 13 February 2020, Los Angeles authorities spoke out against a number of bullying incidents and assaults against the Asian-American community, including a middle-schooler being beaten and hospitalized.[328] A 16-year-old boy in San Fernando Valley was physically attacked by bullies in his high school who accused him of having the coronavirus because he is Asian-American.[329] Robin Toma of the L.A. County Human Relations Commission stated, "Many may be quick to assume that just because someone is Asian or from China that somehow they are more likely to be carriers of the virus. We need to speak out against this when we see it. We need to speak up, not be bystanders, be upstanders."[329] Other forms of harassment in Los Angeles included fake World Health Organization (WHO) flyers advising people to avoid Asian-American restaurants.[330] In San Francisco, a Chinese woman crossing a street was spat upon by a man yelling, "Fuck China", and "run them all over" as a bus crossed in her direction.[331]

Chinatowns across the state have seen a significant drop in business since the beginning of the pandemic, in particular around the San Francisco Bay Area.[332]

Over 70,000 people signed a petition to expel two students from Bolsa Grande High School after they were seen in videos bullying Vietnamese-American students. Garden Grove Unified School District's public information officer responded by saying the students will face "disciplinary action in accordance with the California Education Code."[333]

On 20 March 2020, a man hurled a racial slur at Kyung Lah, a Los Angeles-based CNN senior correspondent, while she was working on a segment. She describes this incident with colleague, Jake Tapper, who then gave his condolences. Tapper expressed to the general public that "if you are stupid and racist enough to be holding random individuals of Asian descent responsible for a pandemic, then you should be self-quarantined from society anyway."[334][335]

In Santee, a man openly wore a Ku Klux Klan hood while shopping in a Vons supermarket ostensibly to meet face-mask requirements.[336] Less than a week later, a couple pushed a stroller through a Food 4 Less in Santee while openly wearing Nazi Swastikas on their masks.[337][338] The man declared on a video posted to BitChute that the action was "peacefully protesting all the crazy lockdown rules."[339]

On 12 May 2020, it was discovered that hateful graffiti was spray-painted with the words, "Fuck China" repeatedly over the concession building and concrete stairway at the Allied Garden Little League fields in San Diego, California.[340]

On 27 June 2020, a 19-year-old McDonald's worker in Oakland was assaulted for asking a customer to wear a mask. The man in the drive-thru used racial slurs, threatened to kill her then broke her arm. An OSHA complaint was filed.[341]

On 4 July 2020, racial slurs were hurled at a restaurant in Carmel Valley Village.[342]

In December 2020, the owner of Yang Chow restaurant in Los Angeles reported getting racist prank calls asking if they have dog or cat on the menu in thick Asian accents almost daily since the pandemic started.[343]

On 15 May, a man, ostensibly inspired by the events in Santee, wore a KKK hood with a swastika drawn on it into a grocery store in Dillon.[344]

On 3 April 2020, a Chinese restaurant received racist phone calls blaming the COVID-19 pandemic on people of Chinese descent and threatening to shoot the owners.[345][346]

In June 2020, flyers described as 'racist and xenophobic' by the University of Delaware were found on vehicles and apartments doors of Asian-American students.[347]

In mid-March 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida, a rapper named 1KJohnny posted an Instagram video of himself bullying an elderly Asian woman by chasing her with hand sanitizer while shouting, "Sanitize your ass!"[348][349]

A 60-year old Chinese-American man was attacked by two women while jogging in Naperville, Illinois. According to his daughter, they allegedly threw a log at him, accused him of having the virus, spat at him, and told him to "go back to China."[350][351]

Two Hmong men were rejected from two hotels in Indiana because hotel staff thought they might have the virus.[352]

A Korean American doctor born in Louisville, Kentucky was kicked out of a Marathon Petroleum gas station in Martinsville. The clerk told him he was not allowed to buy anything, or use the bathroom, and to never come back.[353]

On 19 March 2020 in Overland Park, Kansas, an Asian-American worker was told to move six feet away from her white co-workers at Taben Group. She was the only person in the office to distance herself from others due to safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. When the woman filed a complaint of discriminatory treatment, she was fired from the Taben Group.[354][355]

A police officer in Kaplan was fired for allegedly making comments on social media about it being "unfortunate" that more black people don't die from COVID-19.[356]

CNN reporter Amara Walker, who is Korean-American, described three racist incidents that happened to her at the New Orleans International Airport. According to Walker, a man at the airport said "Ni hao, ching chong" to her. She says that when she was at the terminal, a different man asked her if she spoke English and mocked Asian languages. When an airport officer came to the terminal, Walker says that the officer stated that asking someone if they speak English isn't racist.[357]

Healthcare workers have been victims and targets of racism during the COVID-19 pandemic. After a Chinese-American anesthesiology resident left work from Massachusetts General Hospital, a man followed her and yelled profanities and racial verbal abuse saying, "Why are you Chinese people killing everyone?" and "What is wrong with you? Why the fuck are you killing us?" Another anesthesiology resident who is of Chinese and Filipino descent was yelled at by a man on the subway, “Fuck China! Fuck the Chinese!"

An internal-medicine resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston said a frustrated patient at another hospital repeatedly told her to "go back to your country."[358]

In Lansing, children at the Reopen Michigan protest danced in blackface on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol building.[359]

In Woodbury, a threatening racist note was left on the home of an Asian-American couple with statements such as "We're watching you" as well as "take the Chinese virus back to China".[360][361]

In Moorhead, a man was arrested for coughing on two grocery store employees while blaming racial minorities for COVID-19.[362]

In Eureka, Missouri, a restaurant displayed a racist coronavirus-shaped piñata, which featured an Asian caricature wearing conical hat and Fu Manchu mustache.[363] These piñatas have been circulating in parts of Mexico and the U.S. since March.[364]

The Mayor stated that there are racial and ethnic disparities in Lincoln, Nebraska.[365] There has been also an increase of hateful and racist incidents toward Asian-Americans. This also includes microaggressions, outright racist acts, very aggressive behavior, a lot of staring and remarks to neighbors about staying away from people. One staff member of the Asian Community and Cultural center of Lincoln recalled that a random person came up to sneeze in her face and went away to laugh with their family.[366]

Governor Murphy acknowledged reports of bias incidents against Jewish Americans and Korean Americans in Bergen County, which has experienced the worst outbreak in New Jersey to date.[367]

On 4 April 2020, a group of teens in Edison, New Jersey surrounded a 55-year-old Asian woman and yelled racial slurs over the coronavirus. One of teenage girls then punched the woman in the back of the head.[368]

In August 2020, a man plead guilty to threatening Jews during the pandemic.[369]

Racist incidents have occurred in New Mexico.[370][371] In March 2020, an international student at University of New Mexico was targeted with a racist prank outside his dormitory room covered in plastic with the sign, "CAUTION - KEEP OUT - QUARANTINE." An Asian American advocacy group was also harassed and was told to "go back where you came from."[372] Vandals spray-painted "Trucha with the coronavirus" at the restaurant, Asian Noodle Bar.[373] It was reported on April that a Vietnamese community member was attacked at Costco in Albuquerque. An Asian-American woman said people harass and use racial slurs at her whenever she goes out and claimed another woman even tried to run her over with a car. She said that, "I’ve been told I don’t belong here, I’ve been told I should go back to China and die there and leave Americans alone."[374]

An unofficial [375] anti-xenophobia poster at a subway station in New York City amid the coronavirus pandemic
Anti-racism poster on the storefront window of the Mei Lai Wah restaurant in Manhattan's Chinatown neighborhood, pictured in October 2020

On 10 March 2020, a Korean woman in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, was confronted on the street by somebody yelling "Where is your corona mask, you Asian bitch?" before punching the woman, dislocating her jaw.[376] Later in the week, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, an Asian man walking with his 10-year-old son was harassed by a person yelling, "Where the fuck is your mask? You fucking Chinese" before being hit over the head.[377] Another incident occurred on 16 March where a woman in Midtown Manhattan was spat upon, and had her hair pulled out by a woman who blamed her for coronavirus.[378]

In the New York City Subway, a woman wearing a face mask was punched and kicked by a man who called her "diseased".[379] Numerous other incidences of harassment of Asians on the New York City Subway followed, including one in which a person was seen spraying an Asian man with an unknown substance.[380][381] On 19 March 2020, an Asian woman was robbed of her cellphone by a man who swung a punch at her and told her, "Go back to China", "You are dirty, get your temperature checked"; the victim was unharmed.[382] On 28 March 2020, a Chinese woman in the Bronx was harassed with racial slurs about the coronavirus by 4 teenage girls and was attacked with an umbrella on the bus. The victim required medical attention with 4 stitches on her head.[383][384]

In Brooklyn, New York, a social media post was sent from the office of New York State Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus urging citizens to avoid Chinese businesses. Frontus apologized for the message, blaming the incident on a part-time office assistant sharing a chain email; the staff worker was fired and the rest of the staff was ordered to complete cultural sensitivity training.[385][386] The apology by the Assemblymember triggered Brooklyn Community Board 13 member Ronald X. Stewart to post a xenophobic anti-Chinese rant, also targeted to Chinese-Americans, on social media expressing dismay that the Assemblymember had to make an apology. That community board member was given notice by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams that his reappointment to the community board would not be renewed.[385]

In March 2020, as New York became a global hotspot, prejudicial sentiment against New Yorkers began to be reported as several states put into place regulations banning, blocking or imposing quarantines on them.[387][388][389] New York state governor Andrew Cuomo proclaimed "We will not let New Yorkers be discriminated against" as he reprimanded Rhode Island for initiating xenophobic procedures targeting New Yorkers.[390]

In June 2020, a Korean-American store employee was physically attacked.[391]

In June 2020, several Asian-Americans were either verbally abused or physically assaulted by a man in an incident in Queens.[392]

On July 14, 2020, an 89-year-old Chinese-American woman was set on fire by two assailants in Bensonhurst, a neighborhood in Brooklyn. In response, rapper China Mac organized a march in the neighborhood, as well as in Los Angeles and San Francisco, known as "They Can't Burn Us All".[393][394]

Japanese jazz pianist Tadataka Unno was assaulted by a group of assailants on the New York City subway system on 27 September 2020. The perpetrators verbally abused him as they continued to beat him, and the attack resulted in a complex fracture in Tadataka's shoulder and arm that required surgery and led him to comment that he may not ever be able to play piano professionally again. Following the incident, Unno was "astonished" by the number of messages he got from other Japanese-descent people who reported similar experiences, suggesting a rise in anti-Japanese incidents.[395]

On December 17 2020, a group of attackers pummeled a woman and spewed anti-Asian statements because she wasn’t wearing a mask on a Manhattan train last week, cops said. The 32-year-old woman was riding an A train at the West 4th Street station around 1:45 p.m. Dec. 17, when three men and three women started arguing with her because she didn’t have a face covering, according to police. Then they started making comments about her race, authorities said. “She’s Chinese,” they said, according to cops. “She’s got the coronavirus.” The confrontation turned violent when the group punched the victim multiple times in the face, before taking off, police said. The victim suffered bruising and substantial pain, but refused medical attention, authorities said. During the confrontation, the attackers also said, “That’s a nice jacket. We should take it,” but nothing was stolen from the victim, according to cops. [396]

On December 28, 2020, Police arrested a man who allegedly punched a woman and made anti-Asian comments towards her on a Manhattan street Monday afternoon. Fred Sousa, 50, was taken into custody and faces charges of assault as a hate crime, police said. The woman was walking along West 14 Street near Hudson Street in Chelsea when she heard a man say “Go back to your own country, go back to China,” according to authorities. When she confronted the man, police said the suspect punched her in the head before fleeing the scene. Bystanders chased the man and held him down until police arrived, authorities said. [397]

It was reported in February that there was suspicion and mistreatment of Asian Americans and specifically Chinese Americans in Northeast Ohio. There has been a decrease of customers of Chinese owned/operated businesses.[398] In April, a Thai-American woman was yelled at with racists insults from a driver in a red pickup truck as they both drove through Lakewood, Ohio. The driver also said, "You're a virus and get out of America. And that's an order." Another woman reported that two young men on bikes spit on her and told her to go home and chanted "Corona, corona" in downtown Columbus.[399]

On 20 June 2020, in a speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma, President of the United States, Donald Trump used racist language when he referred to COVID-19 as "Kung Flu",[400] a phrase that White House staff Kellyanne Conway had previously described as "wrong", "highly offensive"[401][402] and "very hurtful".[403] On 22 June 2020, the White House defended Trump's use of the racist term.[402] Trump has a years-long history of using offensive terminology aimed at racial minorities.[402]

In a Philadelphia SEPTA subway station, an Asian couple was surrounded by a group and attacked.[404] Harassment and attacks on Asians have included a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer who was verbally harassed several times.[405]

While an Asian-American CNN reporter, Natasha Chen, was working on a Memorial Day weekend story in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a man racially harassed the reporter about her mask, told her to "get out of his country" with an expletive and that she was responsible for the pandemic.[406][407][408]

At a Sam's Club in Midland, Jose Gomez, a 19-year-old stabbed 2 adults and 2 children[409] including a Sam's Club employee,[410] who attempted to stop the attack. The targeted victims were identified as an Asian family, specifically a Burmese father[411] with a 2-year-old and 6-year-old. The FBI lists the case as a hate crime as the suspected indicated he stabbed the Asian family because he thought they were Chinese spreading the coronavirus.[412][413]

Two students from Angelo State University, Michael Luna and Shane Stumpf, placed several coronavirus posters on an international Korean student's dormitory door as a racist prank. When confronted, they fought and then Stumpf pulled out his gun on the Korean student. Police later found that Stumpf had a loaded Winchester 1300 12-gauge shotgun, 2 pocket knives along with a drawing of a KKK figure in front of a burning cross with the text, "I go for Jim Crow", and a Confederate flag in his room. They also found .22 cal pistol in his girlfriend's dorm room who was also present when he drew the gun.[414][415]

Chinatown in Houston faced a drop in customers after people falsely and maliciously spread rumors online of an outbreak of the coronavirus.[416]

In Seattle and elsewhere in Washington State, a rise in anti-Asian racism has been blamed on coronavirus.[417]

On 26 March 2020, windows were shattered at Jade Garden restaurant in Seattle's Chinatown-International District. Total damages was estimated to be around $1,500. The business was already down 80% at beginning of March, which forced the owner to temporarily lay off 33 employees. With this addition of damages, the owner said that they didn't have enough money for the repairs. It was reported that the damages weren't just a simple rock being thrown, but a deliberate attack where "someone took the time in the middle of the night to smash the windows in hard, very forcefully, five times."[418] In late March in Yakima, Washington, Minado Buffet had broken windows and the building was spray-painted with hate speech saying, "Take the corona back you chink." Damages would cost $1000 according to restaurant's owner.[418]

On 16 May, a man attacked and spat on an Asian couple in downtown Seattle, blaming them for the coronavirus pandemic.[419]

On 24 March 2020, a student from University of Wisconsin saw graffiti across street from the campus that was written in chalk, "It's from China #chinesevirus."[418] The university later released a statement that acknowledged that racism had increased towards students of East Asian and South Asian descent.[420]

On 12 May 2020, a 57-year-old white man was arrested at a grocery store in Stevens Point for harassing with racial slurs toward Hmong shoppers wearing masks.[421]

South America


On 26 February 2020, an incident involving a fight was reported in La Plata between a Chinese supermarket owner and an Argentine delivery man. The fight was triggered because the delivery man jokingly said "¿Qué hacés, coronavirus?" ("What's up, coronavirus?"), making a joke about Chinese people and the coronavirus. Both men ended up injured and the police later had to intervene.[422]


Local authorities quarantined three Japanese nationals despite them having no coronavirus-related symptoms.[4]


Brazil's Education Minister, Abraham Weintraub, tweeted an anti-Chinese slur on 4 April 2020. He insinuated that China was responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic and that it was part of its "plan for world domination". In the original Portuguese, his tweet substituted the letter "r" with capital "L"—"BLazil" instead of "Brazil," for example—in a style commonly used to mock a Chinese accent.[423]

On 16 April 2020, a judge ruled in favor of tribes in the Javari Valley and barred the evangelical Christian group New Tribes Mission of Brazil from entering the area. The group UNIVAJA, which unites some of these tribes, released a statement identifying themselves as "survivors of previous genocidal plagues" and accusing the missionaries of "physically expos[ing] us to a lethal virus." Two months earlier, President Bolsonaro had selected a former missionary from New Tribes to head the government agency that is responsible for protecting these tribes.[424]

Public efforts against xenophobia and racism during coronavirus

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned racism against Chinese Canadians while attending a Lunar New Year festival in Toronto on 29 January 2020.[425] Likewise, John Tory, the Mayor of Toronto, denounced xenophobia toward Chinese Canadians, amid reports of increasing stigma facing that community.[426][427]

On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization's Emergency Committee issued a statement advising all countries to be mindful of the "principles of Article 3 of the IHR (the International Health Regulations)", which the WHO says is a caution against "actions that promote stigma or discrimination", when conducting national response measures to the outbreak.[428]

In response to the heightened outbreak of the virus in Italy, which caused the Chinese community to shut down businesses due to racist attacks, President Sergio Mattarella made a surprise visit to a primary school in Rome on 6 February 2020, of which nearly half of pupils are Chinese in origin as a show of support and solidarity, saying "Friendship and peace are fundamental and you know it."[429][430]

An online petition entitled We zijn geen virussen! ("We are not viruses!" in English) was started in the Netherlands on 8 February 2020 in protest of racism against Dutch Chinese and others of Asian descent, which garnered over 13,600 signatures on its first day and was signed over 57,600 times at the end of the month.[431]

On 27 February 2020, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called for solidarity with people of ethnic Asian origin subject to such discrimination.[432]

On 14 March 2020, more than 200 civil rights groups in the United States demanded that the House of Representatives and Senate leadership publicly denounce the growing amount of anti-Asian racism related to the pandemic and take "tangible steps to counter the hysteria" around the coronavirus, offering the passage of a joint resolution denouncing the racism and xenophobia as one solution.[433]

The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) with Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) launched a website on 20 March 2020, encouraging the reporting of coronavirus-related harassment, discrimination, and bigotry.[434][331][435]

In the United States, The Anti-Defamation League, the FBI and former 2020 U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang have also pointed out that the virus has led to increased incidents of anti-semitism.[436][437]

New York Attorney General Letitia James launched a hotline for New Yorkers to report hate crimes and discrimination amid the coronavirus outbreak.[438]

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