Petition calling for tougher hate crime punishments launched after attack on Chinese student

An online petition calling for harsher punishments for hate crimes has been launched after a female Chinese student was targeted in a violent, unprovoked attack in the city centre recently.

By Rahmah Ghazali
Saturday, 8th May 2021, 3:18 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th May 2021, 3:18 pm

Simon Fu, who started the petition and addressed it to all Sheffield MPs, hopes the UK government can help to reduce racist hate crimes against the Chinese community by implementing custodial sentences to those found guilty.

On April 25, a 19-year-old woman had ventured into the city centre for the first time in a year due to Covid fears and lockdown rules when she was assaulted outside Boots on Fargate.

It is claimed that a woman demanded to know if she was Chinese, hit her in the face and pulled her to the ground by her hair.

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The 19-year-old female student was attacked outside Boots on Fargate on April 25, Sunday.

In a video of the incident, a glass bottle can be heard being smashed as passers-by intervened.

This was not the first time an individual of Chinese descent was subjected to verbal and physical abuse since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.

In January last year, a Chinese student was attacked in Sheffield for wearing a mask to protect herself and others from the deadly virus.

Simon added: "Numerous Chinese students have experienced and reported verbal and physical abuse off the back of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"There are currently over 10,000 Chinese students studying in Sheffield. In addition, there is a sizable Chinese community that reside here like myself, born and bred in the UK.

"The students alone have made a positive and valuable contribution towards the local economy. No human being deserves to be treated in this manner."

South Yorkshire Police has confirmed the incident on Sunday, April 25 is being treated as a ‘racially aggravated assault’.

A member of the public, a 26-year-old woman, attempted to intervene and the offender is reported to have thrown a glass bottle which smashed, causing the 26-year-old and 19-year-old to suffer minor injuries.

A second member of the public, a 25-year-old man, attempted to intervene and he is also reported to have been assaulted.

The police said a 20-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault occasioning actual bodily harm and has been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

To support the campaign and sign the petition, please go here.