Canada’s new epidemic: coronavirus-induced racism

By Shawn Rayson Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/29 13:41:00

Photo: VCG

There is a deep social sickness spreading across Canada: coronavirus-induced racism.

While Canada has fought hard for decades to become an open and pluralistic society where all cultures can commingle, Trumpism has tainted our society in recent years. His mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis that has killed over 100,000 Americans on his watch is only exacerbating the matter.  

Following its American neighbors to the south, as well as other places, a wave of anti-Asian bigotry, aimed mainly at Chinese but affecting all Asians, has been unleashed with the COVID-19 crisis because of Trump - even on Canada's multicultural sidewalks and in parks from Toronto to Vancouver.

There is a particular rise in male violence against Asian women. There are continually reported cases of cursing, punching and spitting happening across the country against Asians and people standing up to defend them. Even people of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent are being targeted.

This build-up of anti-China and Asian hatred is also being facilitated by the current Canadian government, which has become an unwitting puppet of the White House. Ottawa should have stood Canadian ground and let Ms Meng go free based on Trump's comments that he would drop charges against her if China gave him a good trade deal. 

But Ottawa has allowed for Trumpist thinking about China to fester in Canada. Because of this simmering COVID-19 racism being espoused, I sadly envision more hate-filled hysteria continuing to mire the spirit of Canada. Even if Trump loses his re-election bid, many Republicans and Democrats in office will continue to harangue Beijing - on issues ranging from COVID-19 to Hong Kong affairs to the space race. The more they bash Chinese politics, the more citizens of Asian heritage in Canada will suffer every day. 

The fanning of paranoia against China and the US-initiated trade war have harmed Canada since Ms Meng was arrested on December 1, 2018 at Vancouver International Airport. The case could take years in Canada's Supreme Court. As such, I envisage it will further allow disturbed individuals who digest US extremist right-wing news the excuse to attack Asians, particularly Asian women.

October 13, 2020 marks 50 years since we established formal ties with the People's Republic of China. I have been doing my best to fight this rising hate and ignorance against China since Trump came into office. During my 16 years living in China during the glorious days of the late 1990s and 2000s leading up to and after the Beijing Olympics and Shanghai Expo, I did my best to forge friendships with Chinese people and the international community. I am now making it my life's mission to do so. I encourage all citizens of the world to join me in this endeavor. 

The author worked for the House of Commons in Ottawa, Canada, before moving to China where he spent 16 years as a successful entrepreneur.

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