March 19, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
A number of local leaders have condemned U.S. President Donald Trump and some media pundits–such as Tucker Carlson– for labeling the coronavirus the “China virus.”
They argue that the use of the term is racist and inflaming discriminatory attacks against New York’s Asian population.
Trump has repeatedly used the phrase when referring to the virus and claims that he is using the term because China tried to blame the virus on the US.
“It’s not racist at all, no, not at all. It comes from China, that’s why. I want to be accurate,” Trump said when pressed by reporters yesterday.
However, several New York City politicians don’t buy his argument and claim its divisive.
Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee – the first borough president of Asian descent in the City of New York – said that the use of the term is extremely problematic.
“It emboldens the discrimination, harassment and targeting of many Americans. Calling it a ‘Chinese virus’ instead of the accurate term ‘COVID-19’ inflames racism, empowers xenophobia, and resurrects ‘yellow peril’ perceptions that endanger Americans, including American citizens like myself,” she added.
Council Member Peter Koo appealed for politicians and the media to go by the WHO’s official name for coronavirus disease – “COVID-19.”
“Not only does trying to normalize the term ‘Chinese coronavirus’ recklessly go against their official definition of the virus, but it inflames racial tensions,” Koo said.
“This is not a virus that affects one country or one group of people. Coronavirus is worldwide. We must fight it as one,” he added.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also condemned Trump’s use of the term, saying on Twitter Monday that it fuels bigotry.
If you’re looking for someone to pin this crisis on, try the guy who made up a phony Google website or promised testing kits that he STILL hasn’t delivered.
Our Asian-American communities — people YOU serve — are already suffering. They don’t need you fueling more bigotry. https://t.co/jjcO7treC2
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 17, 2020
There has been an uptick in the number of attacks on Asians this month.
For instance, on March 12, an alleged bigot assaulted a man who was with his 10-year-old son in an apparent hate crime on Queens Boulevard.
“You f–king Chinese,” he reportedly shouted to the man. “Where’s your f–king mask” he said.
On March 11, a 59-year-old Asian man was kicked in the back — which knocked him to the ground– by a teenager in Manhattan. The suspect allegedly told him to go back to his country and mentioned the coronavirus.
The virus, now rapidly spreading across the world, was first identified in the city of Wuhan, China in December 2019, a city with a population greater than New York City. There are now 2,469 cases in New York City, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this morning.
The virus was recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11.