President Joe Biden on Thursday condemned a spate of “vicious hate crimes” against Asian Americans in the country, which he labelled as un-American, in his first prime-time address since assuming office.
"At this very moment, so many of them, our fellow Americans, are on the frontlines of this pandemic trying to save lives," the president said referring to Asian-American frontline workers. "And still, still they are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America,” he said.
“It’s wrong, it’s un-American and it must stop," he said.
Asian Americans in the US have faced increasing threats of violence in the last one year, with senior citizens, women and other vulnerable segments more prone to it. In January, 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee from Thailand was violently pushed during his morning walk, sustaining serious injuries which resulted in his death.
Last month, 27-year-old US Air Force veteran Denny Kim, was reportedly attacked by two men in LA’s Koreatown neighbourhood. The attackers, who left him with a black eye, allegedly yelled "all f****ng Asians gotta die," as they ran off.
A recent report by the United Nations found a huge spike in physical and verbal assaults, vandalism and robberies against the community. “Racially motivated violence and other incidents against Asian Americans have reached an alarming level across the United States since the outbreak of Covid-19," the UN report said.
The NYPD reported that hate crimes motivated by anti-Asian sentiment jumped 1,900% in New York City in 2020. However, rights groups have been saying that the numbers are much larger.
Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting database created at the beginning of the pandemic to register incidents of racial violence received 2,808 reports of such incidents between 19 March and 31 December, 2020.
Mr Biden’s comments are in stark contrast with that of his predecessor, Donald Trump, who repeatedly fuelled hate against Asian Americans during the pandemic.
Mr Trump referring to the coronavirus as a Chinese virus was also highly criticised as it encouraged anti-Chinese sentiments across the nation, however, he continued to make similar comments towards the end of his tenure as well.
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