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Anti-Asian racist attacks spike in Vancouver, B.C.

Queenie Choo
Courtesy of Queenie Choo
Queenie Choo

The year-end report released by the Vancouver Police Department says there were 12 hate crimes against people of Asian descent in 2019. In 2020, that number jumped to 98 – an increase of 717 percent.

Queenie Choo is the CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S., a nonprofit that helps new immigrants to Canada. She points to rhetoric from high-profile politicians, including former U.S. President Donald Trump referring to COVID-19 as the "China virus," as a reason for the stark increase in incidents targeting Asians.

Choo suspects the actual number of hate crimes is probably a lot higher.

"I feel that this probably is the tip of the iceberg as well," she said. "These are the reported incidents. There might be also unreported incidents that account to even more than a 700 percent increase."  

In one high-profile case from last year, a 92-year-old man of Asian descent, suffering from Alzheimer’s, was pushed out of a convenience store and to the ground on Vancouver’s eastside. 

Choo says there needs to be better research and understanding exploring the historical and contemporary racism in Canada.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan is promising new legislation to help fight hate crimes.

Choo also says there needs to be further focus on all types of systemic racism in Canadian government and society, securing adequate funding for anti-racism initiatives and the creation of safe communities through crisis and counseling helplines.