The incident is the latest in a wave of anti-Asian attacks that have played out across North America over the last year, as some have sought to blame the Asian community for the COVID-19 pandemic. Some politicians, most notably former U.S. President Donald Trump, helped fuel that sentiment by referring to it as the “China Virus” and the “Kung Flu.”
A 65-year-old woman was punched and kicked in the head while a suspect made anti-Asian statements toward her.
Anti-Asian hate crime spiked by nearly 150 percent in America’s 16 largest cities last year, even as overall cases fell by seven percent, according to an analysis of police data by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
Visible minorities in Canada have also seen a perceived surge in harassment or attacks based on race since the pandemic began, according to a report from Statistics Canada last July. Perceived causes of harassment have tripled against minorities overall, with Chinese people facing the greatest surge, according to the data.
Calls to “stop Asian hate” circulated widely on social media this month after eight people, including six Asian women, were killed in a string of spa shootings in Georgia on March 17. That incident happened on the same day that an elderly Asian woman was beaten on the street in San Francisco in an unrelated, unprovoked assault.
“We have to change our hearts,” said U.S. President Joe Biden after a meeting on Anti-Asian hate on March 19. “Hate can have no safe harbor in America.”