Spike in hate crime against Chinese people in West Midlands
Hate crimes against Chinese people have spiked in the West Midlands this year, according to new police figures.
West Midlands Police recorded 17 incidents of racially aggravated crimes against Chinese residents in the first three months of 2020.
In comparison, seven incidents were recorded in 2018 and two were recorded in 2019, a Freedom Of Information request revealed.
The sharp rise comes amid the coronavirus outbreak which is believed to have started in Wuhan, China, in December.
West Midlands's Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: "This initial spike of incidents of hate crime against the Chinese community was deeply worrying.
"My message to those who hold this absurd view that Chinese people living in the UK are in anyway responsible for Covid-19 is very clear. Any hate crime or abuse will not be tolerated and the police will take swift action against those committing these acts.
"Chinese people make a huge contribution to our community and our economy and our officers will continue to do all they can to ensure the safety and welfare of all Chinese people living in our region.
"We have a zero tolerance approach to hate crime in the West Midlands."
A breakdown of the stats show that between, January and March this year, there were:
- Eleven incidents of racially aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress against Chinese people
- One incident of racially aggravated assault and malicious wounding
- Three incidents of racially aggravated common assault
- Two incidents of racially aggravated fear or provocation of violence.
Ten of the incidents happened in March - which is the same month Covid-19 was declared a pandemic [March 11] and the UK was put on lockdown [March 23].
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Stop Hate UK, a leading hate crime charity, believes attacks on Chinese people in the UK is linked to "anti-Chinese rhetoric emanating from America".
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticised China in press conferences over coronavirus.
Speaking in late April, Mr Trump said the US was conducting "serious investigations" into the country's handling of the Covid-19 outbreak. He added: "We believe it could have been stopped at the source. We believe it could have been stopped quickly and it wouldn't have spread all over the world."
Stop Hate UK's director of London Services, Mike Ainsworth, said: "The increase in South East Asian hate crime is of real concern nationally.
"Especially in the light of a number of nurses and police officers becoming victims of these offences.
"Traditionally this is a group where we receive few complaints of racist abuse.
"We are concerned that the number of cases reported to the police are only the tip of an iceberg of abuse.
"There is evidence - in the words used by the perpetrators of these offences - that they have been influenced by anti-Chinese rhetoric emanating from America."
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of hate crime, or know someone who has, should report the incident to police.
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