Legislation that has been introduced to combat the recent rise of anti-Asian hate crimes in the US has been trending on social media. The “COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act” was drafted by Democrats but received bipartisan support when it was passed in the Senate on April 22. It will now go to the House of Representatives which is controlled by the Democratic Party. On passing, it will be the first law in the US Congress to focus on anti-Asian crimes.
In March, a survey by Stop AAPI Hate revealed that Asian Americans had reported almost 3,800 hate-related attacks during COVID-19, a figure which is expected to be significantly undervalued.
The legislation will see the US Department of Justice set up a special agency focussed on hastening the review of hate crimes targeted at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. As well as establishing an online system for documenting hate crimes in multiple languages, it will also improve training for local law enforcement agencies and carry out public awareness campaigns.
The hashtag ‘#the US Senate passed a bill to combat anti-Asian hate crimes’ (#美参院通过反亚裔仇恨犯罪法案#) gained 24.48 million views on Weibo. Many Chinese netizens expressed scepticism about whether the bill would change the current situation, citing ineffective government enforcement.
“The law may be effective in the short term but it won’t lead to a big change.”
“It’s a good start in combating anti-Asian hate crimes. I await its progress.”Comments from netizens
The issue has been widely discussed on Chinese social media this year following the surge in racist attacks directed at ESEA communities in the US and Europe. Almost all news stories about attacks on the Chinese diaspora have been trending on Weibo. Many netizens urged Asians across the world to unite, speak up and raise awareness.
If you want to learn how you can help in combatting anti-Asian hate, member-led organization Every Asian Voice, was launched recently to unify and amplify ESEA voices in the UK, and advocate for positive change.