Reader's letter: 'More concerted effort needs to be made to combat and redress present-day anti-Chinese racism'

In the first quarter of 2020, the advocacy group – End the Virus of Racism – identified a rise of 300 per cent in hate crimes towards Chinese people compared with the same period in 2018 and 2019.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 8:51 am
Director of Equalities and Human Rights UK Chrissy Meleady

The Home Office figures, at the same time, which did not break down hate crime by ethnicity, recorded an eight per cent increase. We in Equalities and Human Rights, from our own direct experience of dealing with racism in all its forms, knew that this latter figure was an under-reportage of the facts.

Readers may recall, that at the start of the Covid pandemic, I was obliged to condemn a spate of incidents of anti-Chinese racism that were taking place here in Sheffield. These incidents involved the targeting of some Chinese students and other sections of the diverse Chinese community too.

Sadly, of late, there have been a frequency of reports coming in of anti-Chinese racism increasingly rearing its ugly head again, this time through haters combining verbal and physical assaults on Chinese ethnic people.

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At that time, like now, I was also able to report from equalities and human rights how such abhorrent behaviour was coming from a minority in the city and how large swathes of the Sheffield populace were absolutely and vehemently condemning these abuses and expressing they were in full support of our Chinese community, valuing and welcoming their presence and contributions to Sheffield.

We also recognise that more concerted effort needs to be made to combat and redress this present-day anti-Chinese racism, not only here in Sheffield but throughout the UK. This has to involve recognising and addressing not only the current manifestation of this racism but also the historic roots of the problem too.

At the outbreak of the pandemic we called upon the state to challenge the scapegoating of Chinese people and other racist narratives that were arising and to take action to resource the police more, in order to prevent such racism and to help them flush out and prosecute those perpetrating these and potential future anti-Chinese racist atrocities too.

Increased support is still needed as is people coming forward to report this form of hate alongside all other forms of hate, whenever and wherever in the city hate arises, so that collectively we can all challenge it and monitor any patterns and trends, whilst helping those in need of anti-racist support and other anti-discriminatory support.

Hate crime reporting also allows for better planning and the implementation of appropriate fit-for-purpose interventions too.

Anti-Chinese racism and acts of violence and aggression of the sort being reported and experienced by members of our Chinese ethnic community, have no place in the city of Sheffield. These behaviours and the evident hate intent behind them is wholly condemned outright by every decent Sheffield person.

Our city embraces its diverse Chinese ethnic community as an intrinsic and valued part of our Sheffield family and British society as a whole.

Chrissy Meleady

CEO of Equalities and Human Rights UK