This Canadian City Is The Anti-Asian Hate Crime Capital of North America

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “This Canadian City Is The Anti-Asian Hate Crime Capital of North America” – below is their description.

    It’s said to be the most Asian city outside Asia. Where a quarter of residents speak a Chinese language and the char siu rivals what’s served in Hong Kong barbecue shops. Where a Sikh gurdwara, a Tibetan monastery, and a Chinese evangelical church coexist in harmony along a 3-kilometer stretch of road dubbed the Highway to Heaven. The kind of place that should be immune to a rise in pandemic-fueled racism.

    Vancouver has been anything but.

    Last year, more anti-Asian hate crimes were reported to police in Vancouver, a city of 700,000 people, than in the top 10 most populous U.S. cities combined. With almost 1 out of every 2 residents of Asian descent in British Columbia experiencing a hate incident in the past year, the region is confronting an undercurrent of racism that runs as long and deep as the historical links stretching across the Pacific.

    Covid-19 was the trigger. But the resentment had been building for decades. Few cities have been so visibly transformed by Asian immigration—and money—as Vancouver, a struggling industrial backwater that morphed into a glittering cosmopolis of luxury condos and designer boutiques. The disproportionate rash of incidents has raised an unsettling question: Maybe Vancouver isn’t the bastion of progressive multiculturalism it thinks it is.

    “Covid has just revealed what’s always been there,” says Trixie Ling, 38, a Taiwan-born immigrant who runs a nonprofit called Flavours of Hope that assists refugee women. She was accosted in May 2020 by a man who spewed a stream of racist and sexist insults before spitting in her face. “There is so much anti-Asian racism in our past that carries through.”

    The backlash against the broader Asian community started almost as soon as the virus began spreading beyond China in early 2020, with Vancouver seemingly poised to become an epicenter. The city had more direct flights with mainland China than any other in the Americas or Europe. A local businessman flying home from Wuhan became British Columbia’s Case 1 on Jan. 26, among the first detected outside Asia at the time.

    Months later, it would become clear that route wasn’t, in fact, the principal cause of the virus’s spread in the area: Epidemiological studies showed that the primary source of infections was strains from Europe, eastern Canada, and Washington state.

    But in the early weeks of the pandemic, simply looking Asian and wearing a mask in Vancouver triggered verbal assaults—“Virus spreaders,” “Go back to China,” “Stop stealing masks from front-line workers.” The attacks quickly escalated: One 92-year-old was hurled out of a convenience store to the sidewalk; a woman was punched in the head at a downtown bus stop in broad daylight. Vandals repeatedly defaced statues and buildings in Chinatown with racist graffiti.

    In 2020, Vancouver police documented 98 anti-Asian hate crimes, an eightfold increase from the prior year. That was triple the number recorded in New York, which logged the most of any U.S. city, according to police data collected by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino.

    Of course, most incidents go unreported. An April 9 survey by Vancouver-based pollster Insights West revealed that 43% of British Columbia residents of Asian descent say they experienced a racist incident in the past year, ranging from racial slurs to property damage to physical assault. And almost half say they believe the racism will get worse. Another report in September found that Canada per capita had a higher incidence of anti-Asian racism than the U.S., with British Columbia topping the list.

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    In This Story: Canada

    Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. It extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles), making it the world’s second-largest country by total area.

    Its southern and western border with the United States, stretching 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world’s longest bi-national land border. Canada’s capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

    Various Indigenous peoples inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years before European colonization. The Canada Act 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British Parliament. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with a monarch and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the Cabinet and head of government.

    As a highly developed country, Canada has the seventeenth-highest nominal per-capita income globally as well as the thirteenth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index. Its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks.

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    Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (HKSAR), is a metropolitan area and special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China on the eastern Pearl River Delta of the South China Sea. With over 7.5 million residents of various nationalities in a 1,104-square-kilometre (426 sq mi) territory, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world.

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