The wave of attacks on older Asians has sparked fear in some metropolitan areas of China, prompting authorities to appoint extra officers before Friday’s Lunar New Year and take other measures to tackle a problem that has worsened since the beginning of the year.
San Francisco is ordering more police officers to its Chinatown this week, for example, after older Asians were targeted by waves of robberies, burglaries and assaults. It is only after the three violent attacks on 31 January that officials in the area advise residents to be vigilant. One incident came to national news when security cameras captured a 91-year-old man who had not been provoked on the ground.
No one is being investigated as a hate crime, authorities said.
“These attacks have been videotaped, and I know that not only these seniors but also their family members live in fear when their grandparents go out to shop for food during the New Year,” said San Breed, Mayor of San Francisco.
London Breed, the mayor of San Francisco, visited the city’s Chinatown on Monday to address residents ’growing security concerns and condemn the violence.
“These attacks were captured on video, and I know that not only these seniors, but also their family members live in fear when their grandparents or parents go shopping for food during the New Year,” he said. – We can’t tolerate that. … We have to look at every elderly person in this city as if we were our own parents, our grandparents. ”
Carl Chan, a resident of Oakland’s Chinatown and president of the city’s chamber of commerce, said he had never seen such violence in his neighborhood.
“I’ve been around for so many years and I thought I saw the worst,” he said. – But we actually see worse than that.
Increased caution during lunar New Year events
On the day her gift shop was robbed, Kenneth Lam called for an increased police presence in the area, along with many other community members, with the same request. In a busy shopping time like Lunar New Year, Chan said the violence hurt businesses because the older residents told him they were “actually afraid to come out, walk their own streets.”
“Because of the increased crime,” he said, “many of our customers have decided to reject the Chinatown and buy elsewhere.
Another attack on January 31, recorded in surveillance video, became deadly after 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee was squeezed to the ground by a 19-year-old attacker. Ratanapakdee, a Thai-American, walked as the attacker ran up from behind, pushed him to the ground and walked away. Ratanapakdee died of his injuries a few days later.
To condemn solidarity and violence, many Asian Americans changed their profile picture to Ratanapakdee’s illustration on social media for 24 hours.
Although these events and the Auckland attacks were not investigated as hate crimes, Ratanapakdee’s son-in-law and daughter spoke to KPIX, CBS news agency, saying they believe racism is a factor in any case. His daughter, Monthanus Ratanapakdee, said he was targeted at his race during the pandemic.
“When people [see] me because I’m Asian, I’m being blamed for bringing Covid to this country, ”he said.
Chan also said he has seen people blame residents of the Chinatown for Covid-19 since the pandemic began. He also thinks that Asians are often targeted because of the stereotype that they keep a lot of cash at home and in their business.
Last week, more violence against Asians developed in major cities, with a 64-year-old woman being attacked and abducted in San Jose, California; a 70-year-old woman intruded and robbed in Oakland; and a 61-year-old man slashed in the face after a discussion in a New York subway.
Last week, actors Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu announced they would be offering a $ 25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the Oakland attacks, but not long after, police announced that an interested person was already in custody on related charges.
Some say an increased call from the police may not be the answer
According to John C. Yang, president and CEO of Asian Americans promoting justice, this violence is a clear manifestation of the anti-Asian rhetoric and hatred that has existed since the beginning of the pandemic. Yang said more than 3,000 hatees were reported by Asian Americans last year, according to AAJC data.
“And these are just self-reports,” he said. He blames the Trump administration for using a hateful and misleading rhetorical scapegoat among Chinese people when he spoke of Covid-19. He said anxiety is on the rise in Asian communities where this violence is happening.
“It’s not a question of fear,” he said. “You’re already dealing with the epidemic, but then you have the second virus to fight, the racism virus.”
But while some community leaders in the Oakland Chinatown are demanding more cops on the streets, Yang says excessive community policing can do more harm than good.
“Increased police presence doesn’t necessarily solve the problem,” he said. “We are concerned about over-criminalizing communities. … We could develop community-based solutions – help for victims, help for damaged businesses. “