Fears of new viruses trigger anti-Chinese sentiment worldwide

SEOUL: A new scary virus from China has spread all over the world. So has the growing anti-Chinese sentiment, calling for a total travel ban and indignities for the Chinese and other Asians.

Restaurants in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Vietnam have refused to accept Chinese customers. The Indonesians marched near a hotel and asked the Chinese guests to leave. French and Australian newspapers face criticism for racist headlines. Chinese and other Asians in Europe, the U.S , Asia and the Pacific complain of racism.

Two dozen countries outside China reported cases of the new one, which killed more than 300 people and made thousands of others sick in China. Many countries have sent planes to the Chinese city of Wuhan to evacuate their citizens.

The arrival as a powerful Beijing reinforces its global influence, and the rise of China has caused trade, political and diplomatic disputes with many countries.

But with the growing fear of the mysterious disease, an anti-Chinese and, in some cases, more acute anti-Asian reaction has occurred.

Here is a glimpse of AP journalists from around the world.

The websites of South Korea have been flooded with comments asking the government to block or expel Chinese and racist comments on the eating habits and hygiene of the Chinese. A popular seafood restaurant in Seoul frequented by Chinese tourists posted a sign that said there is no entry for Chinese before closing it on Wednesday after an online reaction.

Around 600,000 South Koreans have signed an online petition filed with the presidential Blue House calling for a temporary ban on Chinese visitors. Some conservative opposition lawmakers publicly endorse these steps, and some 30 people demonstrated near the Blue House on Wednesday to demand that the government immediately ban Chinese tourists.

Unconditional xenophobia against the Chinese is intensifying in South Korea, the newspaper JoongAng Ilbo of mass circulation said in an editorial on Thursday. Infectious diseases are a matter of science, not a problem that can be solved by emotional outpouring.

After it was learned that someone attending Arizona State University has the virus, Ari Deng, who is an American Chinese, said he sat at a study table on the Tempe, Arizona campus, near five other students.

Deng, who was the only Asian, said the other students began to whisper. They got really tense and quickly gathered their things and simply left at the same time.

In a recent business class, a non-Asian student said 'Don't be racist, but there are many international students living in my apartment complex. I try to keep my distance but I think it's a good precaution for all of us to wash our hands, 'said Deng.

It hurts, but I don't let it take up space in my mind or weigh in my conscience, he said.

Meanwhile, the University of California The Berkeley Health Services Center on Thursday removed an Instagram post that said fears about the interaction with those who might be from Asia and the blame for these feelings were a normal reaction to the situation.

No matter how much time we spend in this country, sometimes we are almost immediately seen as foreigners, said Gregg Orton, national director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans. It is a very frustrating reality for many of us. The virus has deepened anti-Chinese sentiment in Hong Kong, where months of street protests against Beijing's influence have shaken the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

Last week, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam suspended high-speed rail and ferry services to the mainland and reduced flights between Hong Kong and Chinese cities.

Tenno Ramen, a Japanese noodle restaurant in Hong Kong, refuses to serve customers from the mainland.

“We want to live longer. We want to safeguard local customers. Please forgive us, ”said the restaurant on Facebook.

A French teacher recently started a conversation on Twitter under #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus (I am not a virus) that has generated numerous accounts of discrimination, from mocked children in the schoolyard to subway passengers who move away from people who look Asian.

France has a significant and growing Asian community, and Chinese visitors are a pillar of the French tourism industry, but the old prejudices are deep. A regional newspaper in northern France published a front page notice about a Yellow Alert and then apologized amid national criticism.

“It is a virus that comes from a region of China. It could have come from North Africa, Europe or anywhere, ”said Soc Lam, legal advisor to Chinese community groups in Paris.

People should not consider that just because we are Asian, we are more likely to spread the virus.

A Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, published a cartoon that replaced the yellow stars of the Chinese flag with representations of the virus. The Chinese embassy in Copenhagen called the cartoon an insult to China and demanded that the newspaper apologize.

The German magazine Der Spiegel published a headline that said it was made in China along with a photo of a person with protective equipment.

On Friday, a café near the Trevi Fountain in Rome, a popular tourist site, posted a notice in its window saying that all people who come from China do not have access to this place, according to the Italian news agency ANSA. When AP journalists went to see him, the publication was no longer in the window.