Hate Crimes Against Asians Spawn in California in 2020 | California


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Hate crimes against Asians in California more than doubled in 2020, part of an overall 31% increase in hate crimes, according to two new reports from the California attorney general.

The rise in anti-Asian crimes has been fueled by rhetoric, including that of Donald Trump, accusing Asian communities of the spread of Covid-19 in the United States, according to reports.

“For too many people, 2020 was not just a deadly virus, it was an epidemic of hate,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “The facts here are clear: there has been an upsurge in anti-Asian violence correlated with the comments of the leaders who sought to divide us when we were most vulnerable. “

While reports highlighted the astonishing increase in often overlooked violence against Asians, hate crimes against blacks in California also rose 87% and was the largest number of events counted in the report – 456 of the 1,330 hate crimes reported. in 2020. The number of anti-Asian crimes increased from 43 in 2019 to 89 in 2020, a total increase of 107%.

Hate crimes against transgender people in the state also fell from 29 in 2019 to 54 in 2020, according to reports, while the number of crimes based on religious biases has declined.

Overall, the most frequently reported type of anti-Asian hate crime was violent crime, with 72 reports in 2020, up from 32 in 2019. Common assault and bullying were the most common charges. Property crimes against Asians, a category including arson, burglary, destruction, damage and vandalism, increased from 11 to 17.

New data quantifies growing reports of attacks on Asian Americans, including, in the Bay Area in recent months, an assault that has left a 76-year-old Asian American grandmother with two black eyes, the death of a 75-year-old man after a burglary in Oakland, and the recent “unprovoked” stabbing a 94-year-old woman in San Francisco.

Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, praised Bonta’s office for also publishing updated brochures in 25 languages ​​advising victims how to report hate crimes and seek help.

Chan, who was attacked from behind and thrown to the ground in April, said the brochures would help increase the incentive to report such incidents.

Chinatown has seen a decrease in traffic amid anti-Asian rhetoric, said Oakland City Council member Sheng Thao. “People are afraid to walk in the streets. “

Oakland Chinatown has seen a decrease in traffic. Photography: Jeff Chiu / AP

After the 2020 data was released, California Governor Gavin Newsom said he was proposing an investment of $ 100 million to support survivors and an additional $ 200 million in community responses to violence.

“We must stand up against hatred,” he said in a statement. “To our neighbors who have been exposed to these unspeakable acts, know that we support you and that we will use the tools at our disposal to increase security. “

The second of the two reports highlighted California’s long history of prejudice against the Asian population, starting with the Gold Rush of the 1800s, when Chinese residents were blamed for high unemployment, and extending until the forced placement of Japanese in “resettlement centers” during World War II.

“Much of the anti-Asian sentiment and racism fostered throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has its basis in anti-Asian stereotypes that are reminiscent of past state-sanctioned discrimination,” the report says.

But the attorney general’s office noted that hate crime reports only counted events reported to police, and those events are often underreported. They also do not include hateful “incidents”, such as racist taunts or leaflets that are not considered criminal.

After reports of hate crimes against Asians began to mount last March when the pandemic hit, the Stop AAPI Hate group began tracking a wide range of incidents targeting Asians. They counted 6,600 incidents, ranging from gangs mocking people and business owners refusing to serve Asians to dozens of violent attacks and thefts targeting the elderly. So far, they have recounted 2,641 incidents in California since the start of the pandemic.

“We don’t think the focus on hate crimes is enough to tackle the racism we see,” said Russell Jeung, professor of Asian studies at San Francisco State University, who co-founded the group. “Trump’s use of the term ‘Chinese virus’ really stigmatized us. We get coughed and spit on at a very high rate. I don’t remember anyone spitting on anyone in 2019. ”

Jeung said a recent investigation by the group found Asians are more afraid of racist violence than of the coronavirus.

“We go through a lot of trauma and fear for our elders,” Jeung said.

The Associated Press contributed reporting

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