Asian hate in UK 'bubbling under the surface' long before pandemic

24 April 2021, 18:49 | Updated: 24 April 2021, 18:54

Asian hate in UK 'bubbling under the surface' long before pandemic
Asian hate in UK 'bubbling under the surface' long before pandemic. Picture: PA

By Seán Hickey

The first female MP of Chinese descent insists that the pandemic is not the instigator of Asian hate, but has made it more prominent.

Sarah Owen is Chair of East and South East Asians for Labour. She is also the first female MP of Chinese descent. She spoke to Natasha Devon amid a surge in hate crimes against the Asian community during the coronavirus crisis.

"The idea that East Asian, South East Asian hate has come about in the pandemic is misleading," she insisted.

"It's always been there, it's always been bubbling under the surface."

Ms Owen admits that "we really see [Asian hate] come to the forefront" during the pandemic, adding that "people have been subjected to increased attacks," but this is by no means a new phenomenon.

The Labour MP placed the blame for the rise at the foot of some prominent figures: "Rhetoric from politicians, who should know better frankly, fuel this hatred and division," she said.

Natasha wondered whether Ms Owen was "placing the blame for this squarely on Donald Trump," citing his rhetoric during the pandemic blaming Chinese people for the spread of Covid-19.

"Donald trump shares some of that blame, but he is certainly not alone," the Labour MP noted. She went on to explain that some of the media are to blame for the rise in Asian hate too.

Through coverage in the media, coronavirus "was given a cultural and ethnic identity," which led to the rise in Asian hate in the past year.

She explained that the Asian community "grouped together to fight this racism" in the past year and will continue to rise against it.