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FLASH ALERT: HIGH RISK OF ANTI-ASIAN RACIST INCIDENTS WORLDWIDE

Updated: Mar 31

March 22, 2021, | CTG CRIME Team


Following the recent violent and racist incidents, CTG’s Crime Team is issuing a FLASH ALERT for Asian individuals and communities within the United States (U.S.) and on a global scale. This alert extends to all citizens of Asian descent who may be victims of physical and psychological violence, but also to non-Asian communities who are defending them against hate-spurned rhetoric.



Asian American citizens create a poster to try and prevent racism towards Asians in NYC[1]


On March 16th, 2021, three shooting incidents took place at three different massage parlors—Youngs Asian Massage Parlor, Gold Massage Spa, and AromaTherapy Spa—in Cherokee County and Atlanta, Georgia, where eight people, mainly women, were murdered.[2] This past weekend an elderly Asian man was punched in the face[3] and an Asian woman was hit in the face with a metal pipe[4] in unprovoked attacks in two different locations, one on a subway train in Lower Manhattan and one in Chinatown. Yesterday, on Sunday 21st, a woman was assaulted on her way to a protest against the recent spike in anti-Asian violence.[5] There have been over 3,800 attacks against Asian individuals in the last year alone[6], and this represents a 1900% increase in crimes against Asians just within the U.S.[7] However, it is paramount to consider that many attacks against Asians may not have been reported—meaning that this increase could be significantly higher than what has been purported.


While anti-Asian rhetoric and attacks have happened historically throughout the world, they have gotten exponentially more frequent since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Individuals with various racial backgrounds have been targeting Asians, which is an act supporting white supremacy and disparity among racial minority communities. Recent data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) has found that “hate crimes against Asian Americans are more likely than hate crimes against either African Americans or Hispanics to be committed by non-White offenders”.[8] This finding may be attributed to animosity toward the “model minority” from white supremacists and other minority groups with national, economic, and cultural insecurities. It is important to note here that this is not just a trend within the United States, but rather a global phenomenon. Many people do not recognize that anti-Asian racism exists domestically and internationally, let alone acknowledge that it is a prevalent issue. Attitudes of dismissal and disregard have contributed to the persistence of anti-Asian crimes and will continue to affect these communities unless law enforcement and public policy push for radical social change.[9]


The increase in attacks against Asians could also be directly correlated to former U.S. President Trump’s focus on the spread of racist rhetoric and xenophobia in regards to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States. Trump utilized polarizing language such as “The Chinese Virus”[10] and “The Kung Flu”[11] in his tweets and in several public statements, which has insinuated that Asians were at the root of ongoing issues affecting American citizens. Despite his use of blatantly prejudiced language, Trump has defended these references by stating that he does not perceive them to be racist—a statement that his followers have used as a means of justification for violence against Asian individuals.[12] In response to Trump’s actions, the United Nations has publicly stated that U.S. officials have failed to protect Asians from racially provoked attacks.[13] Asian citizens thus need to remain alert at all times and must practice hypervigilance to ensure that they are protecting and defending themselves within their communities. Victims of these crimes have belonged to various age groups and have been targeted throughout the country, even in towns with very low crime rates. Warnings should be issued by local and federal law enforcement in a collaboration with large media conglomerates, especially in commonly spoken Asian languages. Current U.S. President Joe Biden has addressed these recent attacks, but these crimes must be first identified as hate crimes by law enforcement and the U.S. government to demonstrate the true extent and frequency in which these violent acts are taking place.


Although it is crucial to warn Asian communities with law enforcement in tandem with the media, the depiction of media and news sources globally of Asians has increased the stigmatization from other ethnicities towards Asians, and it may be difficult to garner trust from these communities. In England, the images of people of East and South East Asian descent paired with articles about the coronavirus have “[reinforced] a false narrative around a broad and diverse community”, which is “part of a long history of damaging representation that helps fuel stereotypes with real-world consequences.”[14] Tying such false narratives of Asians with the pandemic has worsened polarization issues and has led to an increase in Asians being targeted in the U.S. and across the world.


Many of these anti-Asian attacks are not being classified as hate crimes by law enforcement officials, which is ultimately detrimental to the Asian community and other minorities facing discrimination. In fact, for an act of violence to be recognized as a hate crime, the aggressor has to convince the judge or jury that his/her crime is committed because of the hatred towards a specific group.[15] For this reason, many cases in which Asians were attacked have not ended up in the perpetrators being arrested and/or charged with committing hate crimes against Asian individuals.[16] The Crime Team believes that these attacks are HIGHLY LIKELY to increase and escalate because the anti-Asian bias is impressed too much in people's thoughts. It is therefore vital to stop any kind of discourse involving any correlation between Asians and the virus, especially in politics. The failure of law enforcement and government officials to hold perpetrators of anti-Asian crimes accountable is also extremely dangerous. This could lead to a trend of hate-charged attacks against Asians on the global scale as criminals begin to become aware that the chances of them being arrested and charged with a crime are low.


CONCLUSION


CTG assesses that the threat of targeted violence against Asian individuals and communities is HIGH. Based on this threat assessment, the Crime Team believes that the violence is HIGHLY PROBABLE to continue globally. CTG is asking all law enforcement to intervene immediately, whether it be on-site of the crime or with the proper prosecution of anti-Asian crime. Furthermore, CTG believes these attacks should be categorized as hate crimes, as they have specifically targeted individuals of Asian descent. CTG recommends citizens, communities, and representatives of Asian descent stay on HIGH alert. It is everyone’s responsibility to raise awareness about the seriousness of these events, as well as to report any indication of violence or threats. Lastly, to overcome negative rhetoric and to show that there is no correlation between the global proliferation of the virus and Asians, the Crime Team recommends everyone to check in on their Asian friends, relatives, colleagues, and neighbors, as well as to support Asian businesses. CTG, and in particular the Crime Team, will continue to monitor the situation and to warn the population and law enforcement about any possible escalations and new attacks.


[1]Anti Asian Racism poster NYC October 2020” by Kches16414, licensed under Public Domain

[2] 8 dead in Atlanta-area spa shootings, suspect arrested, NBC News, March 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/3-dead-shooting-georgia-massage-parlor-suspect-loose-n1261262

[3] 68-year-old man punched in head in unprovoked subway attack on 1 train, abc7NY, March 2021, https://abc7ny.com/nyc-subway-crime-man-assaulted-on-assault-attack/10438131/

[4] Asian American woman leaving rally with daughter had sign stolen, punched in face in Manhattan, ABC 7 NY, March 2021 https://abc7ny.com/asian-american-woman-attacked-asian-attack-rally-manhattan/10440211/

[5] NYPD: Woman Assaulted On Way To Protest Against Anti-Asian Violence, CBS New York, March 2021, https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2021/03/22/woman-assaulted-on-way-to-protest-against-anti-asian-violence/

[6] There were 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents, mostly against Asian women, in past year, NBC News, March 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/there-were-3-800-anti-asian-racist-incidents-mostly-against-n1261257

[7] Hate crimes against Asian-Americans are on the rise, MSNBC, February 2021, https://www.msnbc.com/hallie-jackson/watch/hate-crimes-against-asian-americans-are-on-the-rise-101361733578

[8] Hate Crimes against Asian Americans, NCBI, January 2021 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7790522/

[9] ‘This Isn't Just a Problem for North America.' The Atlanta Shooting Highlights the Painful Reality of Rising Anti-Asian Violence Around the World, Time, March 2021 https://time.com/5947862/anti-asian-attacks-rising-worldwide/

[10] Trump defends calling coronavirus ‘Chinese virus’ — ‘it’s not racist at all’, CNBC, March 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/18/coronavirus-criticism-trump-defends-saying-chinese-virus.html

[11] President Trump calls coronavirus 'kung flu', BBC, June 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-53173436

[12] Trump defends calling coronavirus ‘Chinese virus’ — ‘it’s not racist at all’, CNBC, March 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/18/coronavirus-criticism-trump-defends-saying-chinese-virus.html

[13] Trump is 'legitimizing' hate incidents against Asian Americans: U.N. experts, NBC News, October 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/u-n-experts-trump-legitimizing-hate-incidents-against-asian-americans-n1243791

[14] ‘This Isn't Just a Problem for North America.' The Atlanta Shooting Highlights the Painful Reality of Rising Anti-Asian Violence Around the World, Time, March 2021 https://time.com/5947862/anti-asian-attacks-rising-worldwide/

[15] What is a hate crime? The narrow legal definition makes it hard to charge and convict, The Conversation, March 2021, https://theconversation.com/what-is-a-hate-crime-the-narrow-legal-definition-makes-it-hard-to-charge-and-convict-157488

[16] Asian-Americans Are Being Attacked. Why Are Hate Crime Charges So Rare? The New York Times, March 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/18/nyregion/asian-hate-crimes.html

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