If some people are stupid enough to believe that racist lie, then one might expect they would be at least ‘intelligent’ enough to avoid these supposedly ‘sick’ people instead of touching and attacking them. But no …
Like in the Middle Ages ‘black death’ plague epidemics were blamed on ‘witches’ …
The woman who coughed on the train from The Hague to Delft when a man stretched his legs and was then told that “your yellow monkeys have no idea of hygiene.”
The student with Asian roots who was called “corona” when passing the carnival crowd in Maastricht, after which the crowd burst into a collective laughter.
Just a few examples of what people with an Asian appearance say they get treated like in the Netherlands in recent weeks. They are the target of discriminatory comments, people move away a few rows when they are on the tram or train. In a few cases, there is also (physical) violence involved and victims report to the police.
“It’s getting worse,” says Jiye Seong-Yu (29), a Korean interpreter-translator who works for a human rights organization. On March 1, she was at the police station herself, to report what had happened to her in the evening on a bicycle in The Hague.
Two men on a scooter drove towards her, they called something she could not understand because she had earplugs. When she took them out, they called her “Chinese”. And not only that: while the men drove right past her, the co-driver clenched his left fist and pulled out. He just missed hitting Seong-Yu, she told the police. Through camera images from a supermarket, she hopes to discover the identity of the perpetrators.
That two stranger men scold her because of her origin; it sparked her curiosity. She had already seen on Facebook that other Asians in the Netherlands are the target of ridicule and scorn, as if they are personally responsible for the spread of the virus.
“If we want to stop this, we have to prove that it happens,” says Seong-Yu. So she set up a survey via Google Forms and brought it to the attention of four Facebook groups, including for Korean expats in the Netherlands and abroad.
Her survey yielded more than 150 responses, in addition to the 234 Facebook messages after she had told her what had happened to her on the street. Korean expats and students made themselves heard, but also people with Indonesian, Japanese, Vietnamese and Malaysian roots who were born and raised here. They were also called “corona”, “corona-Chinese” or “murderer”, as happened to a young woman in Rijswijk.
Seong-Yu finds the low point of her poll the story of a Korean woman from Tiel who was almost home with her groceries when a man walked up to her and spit on the wheels of her pram. “Chinese viruses must die,” he said, the woman said. Just as poignant, says Seong-Yu: the Korean woman in Eindhoven, who had suddenly been sprayed with a Nazi symbol on the wall next to the front door.
A few of the responses in the Jiye Song survey:
“My son of 8 is Malay-Chinese-Dutch. A blond Dutch girl in the indoor playground called him corona. My son (fortunately smart) said: if I have the coronavirus, then you are now also infected. The girl got her mother, my son pretended not to hear her. ”
“A group of men shouted “corona” at me. One of them said: “I’ll give you 50 euros, then you will go back to your own country.”
“This happened a few weeks ago. Someone passed me by, looked at me and said, “Murderer. Killer.” And walked on. I could only stand still speechlessly while trying to understand what had happened.”
Stage of words passed
Seong-Yu is concerned about the responses to her survey. “It is becoming more and more physical, I also hear in my own network. If people say ching chong or Chinatown to me, that’s rude. Although I can still shake it off. But if they spit on your pram or a swastika is sprayed next to your front door, that is a lot harder. ”
Julie Ng, daughter of a Chinese-Indian restaurant owner and maker of the documentary We are more than babi pangang, also says that people with an Asian appearance are more often the targets of aggression and violence. “In the past it was all about words, but that stage is over. Just look at other examples in Europe.”
In London, a student was hit by a group of men who told him they didn’t want a corona in their country. In the Italian town of Bassano del Grappa, a Chinese man was cut with a glass after he was first denied access to a gas station “because he has the coronavirus”. In Birmingham, a young woman was beaten unconscious by a man when she had taken it up for her girlfriend, who had to “piss off” with her “corona.”
The South Korean embassy in Germany warns fellow countrymen to be vigilant for racial violent incidents after a Chinese woman was beaten into hospital by two other women.
The South Korean embassy in the Netherlands does the same, when it was shown the results of Seong-Yu’s survey. “Because of covid-19, Koreans and other Asians in the Netherlands have had to deal with mockery, they are shunned in public places, refused by taxis, physically attacked and other things. Be aware that Korean citizens can be the target of incidents and be aware of your environment”, the embassy announced on March 5.
The Japanese School of Amsterdam informed parents at the end of February of an incident at an indoor play paradise. Japanese children are said to have been called “corona” by “five to six” other children, one of them got a bloody nose during the fight. The school warns parents in the letter not to visit with their children places where other children play and not to go outside with a mouth cap (“locals may be after you”). “We are not blind to what happens,” the school says when asked. The school does not want to respond to the letter.
In Tilburg, a 24-year-old woman reported when she was in a lift two weeks ago with five men singing a corona song. When she said something about it, she was attacked by them. Chinese students also called in the police in Wageningen when they saw texts such as “Die Chinese” and “Chinese corona” in the elevator of their flat.
The police cannot provide figures for corona-related incidents. Victims of coronary racism rarely make themselves heard at the discrimination reporting points. Yes, three thousand people reported last month when Radio 10 DJ Lex Gaarthuis had played a carnival-like corona song, with lyrics like ‘it’s all because of those stinky Chinese’ and ‘don’t eat Chinese food, then you have nothing to fear, because prevention is better than the Chinese’.
Sharing experiences, making clear that you are not alone, that can help, according to Julie Ng. She spoke last week in Almere on an evening organized by the Equal Treatment Office in Flevoland, with the theme “We are not a virus”.
Ng: “It was nice to be able to share experiences with each other. A lot of frustration emerged. A Sino-Dutch man said that his son had come home after everything under the sun had been shouted at him. He said: Dad, I’m afraid you’ll have to pick me up at the police later. I’m sick of it, there will be some blows.”
Seong-Yu believes in a peaceful approach. She has been asked as a speaker at the Anti-Asian Racism Panel of Leiden University for next week. She will make a website from the results of her survey. “So that we don’t have to feel isolated and we can make clear to non-Asian people how widespread this is.”
Britain: MINISTERS will not be made to undergo testing for coronavirus, the government said today, despite Tory Health Minister Nadine Dorries becoming the first MP to be diagnosed with the illness: here.