Restaurants in London’s Chinatown fear “stigma” and discrimination due to the Covid-19 crisis will impede the area’s recovery.
During February there were 64 hate crimes reported to the Met Police targeting people of Oriental origin, twice what is usually recorded.
Children as young as 12 have reported experiencing racial hatred.
According to anti-racism charity the Monitoring Group, the rise is “led by ‘blame China narratives.'”
Suresh Grover, director of the Monitoring Group, said: “Since the Covid-19 emergency, our data show a troubling increase in race hate crimes against Chinese communities. ‘Incidents vary from verbal harassment to physical assault.’ In early March, a student from Singapore said he was assaulted on Oxford Street by a group in men who told him: ‘I don’t want your coronavirus in my country.’
Having welcomed high-profile guests including Prince Charles and Stephen Fry to his Dumplings’ Legend restaurant, restaurateur Geoff Leong said he just had all four of his car tyres cut, and his 12-year-old daughter was a victim of racial violence while in her local store.
“She felt s upset that she had been called out. She said she would never go back into the store because she lost the trust,” he said.
Mr Leong, who has been living in London since he was ten years old, said: “I began to feel very concerned about my health and safety.” The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic was attributed to a market in Wuhan, where wildlife was on sale. “This virus has nothing to do with the British-Chinese living in the UK,” TV chef Ching He Huang told BBC.
Ching He Huang, who has appeared on several TV shows, says she’s concerned about the difficulty restaurants in Chinatown under Ms Huang said she’d heard reports that people around Chinatown were facing “prejudice, violence, bigotry and negative comments.”
She added that Chinatown-which is in the West End of London-was still under pressure to survive on account of high rents.
“If anything we need more compassion, the Chinese community needs more help because that’s the only way we’ll get out of it.”