The Coronavirus pandemic has exposed the racist side of society in many countries. Incidents of people of Chinese descent and other Asian countries being attacked and asked to go back to their own country have multiplied since the pandemic began. Such cases have been on the rise in Italy, India, Australia, France and the U.S. On Friday, China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism warned its citizens not to travel to Australia amid increasing cases of racist attacks.
The statement comes after many such incidents emerged in the land down under. Video footage surfaced on social media in April where a woman screamed at Telstra (Australian telecom company) workers "Go back to China". In another video footage, it could be seen a person abusing an Asian background person for "carrying the disease." A Filipino family also received a hateful letter in Port Macquarie in the New South Wales, asking them to go back to their country with the disease.
"There has been an alarming increase recently in acts of racial discrimination and violence against Chinese and Asians in Australia, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," the ministry's statement said. "The Ministry of Culture and Tourism reminds Chinese tourists to enhance their safety awareness and do not travel to Australia."
Australia Rejects Claims
However, the government of Australia has rejected China's assertion of the incidents. Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said that there was no fact in claims that racial discrimination and violence on Asian people took place.
"We reject China's assertions in this statement which have no basis in fact. Our rejection of these claims, which have been falsely made by Chinese officials previously, is well known to them," he said in a statement. "Australia is the most successful multicultural and migrant society in the world. The Chinese Australian community is a significant and valued contributor to that success story," he added.
Erin Chew, the founder of the Asian Australian Alliance said although China had a political agenda in making the statement, the racial attacks were true. She said that according to their survey, 385 racist incidents took place in the last two months alone.
"It's as though they are only caring about racism due to the political agenda with other countries. But in many ways from the other side, I can see the reason they put out the warning because it is true," she told SBS News.
Three Chinese Murdered in Zambia
In another incident, three Chinese nationals were murdered and burned in Lusaka, Zambia, East Africa. The brutal incident took place on May 24, where three Zambian attackers, pretending to be customers, attacked a Chinese-owned textile warehouse, beating two men and a woman with iron bars to death. Later, they burned the bodies as per CCTV footage found by police and reported by CNN.
Zambian police although didn't directly link the murders of Cao Guifang, 52, the textile warehouse owner's wife, and two male employees, Bao Junbin, 58, and 33-year-old Fan Minjie to racism, it comes after a series of such anti-Chinese incidents in the Zambian capital.
Prior to the incident, Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa used derogatory terms for people of Chinese descent. In a video posted on his Facebook account, Sampa stoked racial divides, saying "black Zambians did not originate coronavirus. It originated in China."