What Sheffield must do to combat racist hate crimes

Change is being demanded by those who live, work and study in Sheffield, following a ‘violent and aggressive’ racially-motivated attack on a 19-year-old Chinese student a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 11:49 am

The incident has shocked and upset people around the world, but it has also highlighted the scale of the problem to those who were perhaps unaware.

Over 1,500 people have signed a petition calling to “Stop racist hate crimes against Chinese and Asian people” in Sheffield and many have expressed that they want to see meaningful action taken by the Government, police, council, universities and media.

Qixin Wang said: “I am Chinese myself. I work with students, and I keep hearing of Chinese students suffering racism behaviours in the past five years, ranging from being called names such as “Chinese pig” to getting stopped and asked for money violently.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Jerry Cheung, MD of New Era Developments

“Some of my friends’ kids are verbally abused by people on the street because of their race. This hurts me most as they are just children, they were born in the UK and grown up here. They don’t understand why they got treated badly.

“As I have studied counselling, I learnt that hate crime and racism behaviour will not only hurt the person on the scene but also traumatise the children or young adults, which will affect them negatively in their later lives.

“So please stop hate crime and racism, as these behaviours ruin people’s lives.”

Others from the Chinese community have spoken about their own experiences of racism in the UK, with most agreeing that it had got worse since the pandemic began.

Carman Pang told how her daughter has ambitions to study at Sheffield University but she is “extremely concerned this type of attack will happen to her”.

Members from different communities have reiterated the idea that racism is nothing new but they agree that more needs to be done.

Some fear that Sheffield is losing its reputation as a “one of the friendliest cities” due to such incidents increasing.

Christopher Sheppard said: “I live in Sheffield and love living here, but I've witnessed too many racist remarks towards members of the local Chinese community, even before pandemic. It's not acceptable.”

Gavin Mak added: “I do not expect racism against the Chinese will ever go away, however, as a UK citizen for over 20 years, I do wish to see the Government try to do something about it.”

Kathryn Wills said: “These crimes need to be highlighted in the press as they are currently under reported. It is disgusting that innocent people are being attacked because they are Chinese. It is shameful that this happened in Sheffield. There needs to be more public awareness of such despicable crimes. The Chinese and Asian community should feel safe, not terrified to go outside. I stand with the Chinese and Asian community in demanding safe streets, better protection, harsher sentences for race hate crimes and a strong message from the Government and police that this will not be tolerated.”

Leanne Jones suggested that “We all need to work together”.

The Star is backing a campaign led by businessman Jerry Cheung, in a bid to combat racially aggravated hate crimes in the city.