Asian people targeted for assault as fears of coronavirus fuel racism
Coronavirus subway (AFP)

The rise of coronavirus has led to fear worldwide. But it has also led to flareups of racism, as people's terror of getting sick transmutes into a distrust of Chinese people and of Asians generally.


The virus originated in Wuhan, China, meaning that most of the original cases were among Chinese people. But in the wider world at large, Asian immigrants or people of Asian descent are not especially more likely to be carrying the disease than anyone else. That hasn't stopped people around the world for assuming they are, though — and in some cases, violently assaulting them over it.

A Singaporean student at University College London, Jonathan Mok, was accosted by a man who shouted "I don't want your coronavirus in my country," before punching him in the face, bruising his eye, and fracturing his face so badly that he may need reconstructive surgery.

In Amsterdam, two men on a scooter targeted Korean interpreter Jiye Seong-Yu as she rode past on a bike, shouting "Chinese!" and trying to punch her.

Meanwhile, last month in New York City, an Asian woman was assaulted on the subway for wearing a mask:

In many people, global crises bring out leadership and teamwork. Unfortunately, in others, they bring out an uglier side.