(Image: Unsplash/Markus Spiske)

Have racial attacks increased in Australia since coronavirus started? The short answer is yes. 

A survey carried out by the Asian Australian Alliance found the number of racial attacks reported in Australia has been steadily increasing. In the first two weeks of April, 178 racial incidents were reported.

An ongoing survey by the Asian Australian Alliance reported 12 racial incidents a day during April, with women more likely to be targeted (62%). 

According to the survey, 86.5% of the reported racial incidents were carried out by strangers. The percentage of racist incidents that occurred in public and spaces include:

  • 38% occurred on a public street or sidewalk
  • 35% occurred in at businesses, including supermarkets, grocery stores, general stores and shopping centres
  • 15% occurred on public transport

The majority of surveyed incidents occurred in person (86%), but reported incidents have also occurred online and in other spaces, such as on Facebook (47%), Twitter (14%) and Instagram (16%). Almost 10% of incidents that weren’t in person took the form of an abusive phone call. Of those surveyed, only 88% reported the racial attacks to the police.

There has also been reports of racial attacks in Melbourne CBD, Sydney and Geelong. As it stands, there is no public database that showcases the true extent of such attacks in Australia.

On June 6, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a travel warning to its citizens regarding the increased number of racist attacks on “Chinese and Asian people”, while on June 8, China’s education authority issued a warning to Chinese students of rising racial discrimination in Australia.

Data from the Australian Human Rights Commission shows hundreds of Asians complained of racial discrimination in Australia in the first quarter of 2020. This accounts for 25% of complaints, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. 

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