Beijing/Wuhan, February 2: China on Sunday resorted to more drastic measures like isolating coronavirus patients to designated areas and restricting the movement of residents in regions hit by the rapid spreading virus that has killed 305 people and infected over 14,000 others.
The Philippines on Sunday reported the first death outside China from the deadly virus that has spread to 25 countries, including India, taking the total toll to 305.
And as the scary new virus from China spread around the world, so has anti-Chinese sentiment, with calls for a full travel ban on Chinese visitors and indignities for Chinese and other Asians.
Restaurants in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Vietnam have refused to accept Chinese customers. Indonesians marched near a hotel and called on Chinese guests there to leave. French and Australian newspapers face criticism for racist headlines. Chinese and other Asians in Europe, the United States, Asia and the Pacific complain of racism.
Two dozen countries outside of China have reported cases of the new coronavirus, which has killed more than 300 people and sickened thousands of others in China. Many countries have sent planes to the Chinese city of Wuhan to evacuate their nationals.
The anti-China sentiments come as a powerful Beijing bolsters its global influence, and China’s rise has caused trade, political and diplomatic disputes with many countries. But with rising fear of the mysterious disease has come a more acute anti-Chinese and, in some cases, anti-Asian backlash.
South Korean websites have been flooded with comments calling on the government to block or expel Chinese and racist remarks about Chinese eating habits and hygiene. A popular Seoul seafood restaurant frequented by Chinese tourists posted a sign saying “No entry for Chinese” before taking it down after an online backlash.
More than 650,000 South Koreans have signed an online petition filed with the presidential Blue House calling for a temporary ban on Chinese visitors.
“Unconditional xenophobia against the Chinese is intensifying” in South Korea, the mass-circulation Joong Ang Ilbo newspaper said in an editorial Thursday. “Infectious diseases are a matter of science, not an issue that can be resolved through an emotional outpouring.”
The virus has deepened anti-Chinese sentiment in Hong Kong, where months of street protests against Beijing’s influence have roiled the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
Last week, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended ferry and high-speed train services to the mainland and reduced flights between Hong Kong and Chinese cities.
A French teacher started a Twitter conversation recently under #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus (I am not a virus) that has drawn numerous accounts of discrimination, from children taunted in the schoolyard to subway passengers moving away from people who appear Asian.
France has a significant and growing Asian community, and Chinese visitors are a pillar of the French tourism industry, but old prejudices run deep. A regional newspaper in northern France carried a front-page headline warning of a “Yellow Alert,” and later apologized amid national criticism.
A Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten, published a cartoon that replaced the yellow stars of the Chinese flag with representations of the virus.
The German Der Spiegel magazine ran a headline that said “made in China” along with a photo of an individual in protective gear.
More than 51,000 signatures have appeared on an online petition demanding apologies from Australia’s two biggest-circulation newspapers over their headlines.
The petition condemned Melbourne’s Herald Sun headline Wednesday that read, “Chinese virus pandamonium,” a misspelling that plays on China’s native pandas, and Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph headline on the same day that read, “China kids stay home.”
Many Japanese have taken to social media to call for a travel ban for Chinese visitors amid worries they’ll come to Japan for virus-related treatments. One tweet said, “Please ban Chinese tourists immediately,” while another said, “I’m so worried that my child may catch the virus.”
A candy store in Hakone, a hot springs town west of Tokyo, recently made headlines after it posted a note saying, “Chinese people’s entry into the store is prohibited.” On Wednesday, Menya Hareruya, a popular ramen chain in Sapporo on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, posted a sign saying “No entry for Chinese tourists.”
Last weekend, several hundred residents in the Indonesian tourist city of Bukittinggi marched to the Novotel Hotel, where some 170 Chinese tourists were staying, to protest their entrance into Indonesia.
They blocked roads near the hotel to prevent the Chinese, who’d arrived a day earlier, from getting out of the hotel. Local authorities decided to send the visitors back to China later in the day.
More than 400,000 Malaysians have signed an online petition calling for a ban on Chinese travelers and urging the government to “save our family and our children.”
A hotel in Danang, Vietnam, a popular beach destination, has been refusing to accept Chinese tourists.