Fallowfield Student Attacked with Coronavirus related Racial Abuse

By Alexandria Slater

A Manchester Metropolitan student was the target of Coronavirus hate crime on the 143 bus, on Wilmslow road, Fallowfield. A male witness was physically attacked for defending her.

On March 17th a group of five, young, teenage boys hurled racist insults at student, Lauren Chan. Lauren was on the way back from the university library with two of her friends when she received the malicious abuse.

“They were mocking me and saying ‘ni hao’ and ‘you started corona, you have the corona.’ I was more angry than upset.” said Lauren.

The group of boys continued to verbally attack Lauren until a passenger on the bus intervened. Ste Harris, from Fallowfield, witnessed what happened and stepped in to defend Lauren. The group physically attacked Ste and he was left with “massive bruises on his face.”

Ste posted on Facebook: “Well I just got beat up for defending a Chinese woman from a load of racist little s****. Gave as good as I got. Face is kind of f***** up though.”

Lauren added, “No one else said anything for me apart from the man who got beat up, I think more should be done to stop racism, but it happens everywhere and it’s so embedded in society.”

From January, when coronavirus cases in the UK started to increase, racial attacks against Chinese people drastically escalated. Compared to January to March of 2018 and 2019 hate crimes have almost tripled.

Lauren shared her experience on the Fallowfield Student’s Facebook page and received support from fellow members of the group. Over a thousand people reacted to her post and many people commented expressing their disgust for the racism that is still present in today’s society.

Many comments showed appreciation for Ste’s actions. One member commented: “I’d personally love to buy this man a pint/ coffee/ whatever treat he wants!”

Another member, Mandy Gao, commented: “Are you f****** kidding me? I had a similar incident on the 142 last month, how the f*** are there still c**** like this in the world?”

Fallowfield is home to international students around the world and despite cities like Manchester who are keen to embrace cultural diversity, the level of ignorance from some members of the public is dishonourable.

“I’ve received racial abuse back at home (Middlesbrough) in school a few times, but that’s expected as it’s a place full of small minded people because it’s not very diverse.” said Lauren.

Another commenter on the post stated: “I hate people just looking for an excuse to be racist.”

President Donald Trump continuously refers to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus.” On March 18th, at the daily US press conference, a reporter questions Trump on why he uses this, arguably, xenophobic phrase.

“No no, it’s not racist at all, it (Coronavirus) comes from China” was President Trump’s justification.

The usage of this phrase, deriving from a powerful world leader, undoubtedly influences individuals to believe it is acceptable to express inflammatory hatred towards the Chinese race.

Stop Hate UK, a leading organisation that works against discrimination and hate crime, have stated that they have received an abnormally large amount of calls from people who have experienced similar abuse to Lauren.

The organisation released a statement: “Remember — disease does not discriminate; the coronavirus outbreak is not about ethnicity, and such associations are neither helpful nor acceptable.”

“We are committed to providing anyone experiencing a hate incident with a confidential… reporting service, and this remains the case with… incidents that develop as a result of the coronavirus.”

You can contact Stop Hate UK by email at talk@stophateuk.org or visit their website www.stophateuk.org.

Originally published at http://fallowfieldmedia.wordpress.com on May 10, 2020.