Anti-Asian Sentiment During Pandemic Leads to Cancellation of Student Visas, Rise in Hate Crimes

Stop AAPI Hate found a connection between the GOP’s hateful rhetoric against China and recent plans to cancel Chinese students’ visas, according to a press release from the group.

The group was founded by the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON)Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University in order to respond to the growing number of reports of hate crimes against Asian people. Their reporting center tracks incidents of anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander hate violence, adult harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying in California and throughout the country, according to their website.

In late May, President Donald Trump announced he would be canceling the visas of thousands of Chinese graduate students and researchers in the United States. This is in addition to spreading conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic and China and spouting racist and bigoted rhetoric during his press conferences.

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According to the White House, canceling the student visas is in response to recent events between China and Hong Kong. But the New York Times reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the visa plans with Trump before China passed the new national security law intended to enable crackdowns against protestors in Hong Kong.

In response to the thousands of acts of hate and violence against Asian-Americans since the beginning of the pandemic, Manjusha Kulkarni​, executive director of Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, ​Cynthia Choi​, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action and ​Russell Jeung, Ph.D., chair and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, issued the following statement:

“There is a disturbing pattern emerging between the racist and xenophobic rhetoric used by Trump regarding COVID-19 and the new efforts to impose limits on Chinese students. We have seen time and again how dangerous it is when leaders scapegoat for political gain and spread racist and xenophobic language. If we do not demand government accountability now for the rising wave of discrimination against Asian Americans, it will become deeply entrenched and cause unimaginable harm and suffering.”

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