LONDON – The number of hate crimes against the Chinese people in the United Kingdom over the first three months of this year during the coronavirus pandemic was almost three times that of the previous two years (2018, 2019), according to new data released by the UK police force.
The shocking figures obtained from 45 UK police forces and the British Transport Police (BTP) by Sky News through a freedom of information request (FOI) show that as many as 267 offenses – including assaults, harassment, robberies and criminal damage – were recorded between January and March 2020.
Most police forces disclosed data of hate crimes recorded against Chinese victims only, while some gave details of offenses committed against people of Southeast Asian origin as well. It’s a startling number of hate crimes leveled at the Chinese community, considering 375 offenses were committed throughout the whole of 2019 and 360 offenses carried out in 2018.
The true figure regarding the crimes is likely to be even higher than this data shows, as some forces in the UK – including Police Scotland, Greater Manchester Police, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland – did not disclose the number of offenses in their area. Anti-Chinese sentiment during the pandemic has not been limited to the streets of Britain, though, with British media also seemingly guilty of such reckless bias.
Telegraph writer Allison Pearson was widely criticized on social media in March after tweeting from her Chinese-made iPhone that once the COVID-19 outbreak crisis was over, owning any products ‘Made in China’ should be seen as “a badge of shame”.
Some media outlets and politicians in the United Kingdom have accused China of “trying to cover up” the disease during the early days of the outbreak and suggested the virus “may have been accidentally released” from a high-level virology lab in Wuhan, where the infection was first recorded.