Community groups supporting Chinese and other East Asian communities in the UK are being trained to support victims of Covid-related racial attacks, after a Chinese lecturer was assaulted last week.
Peng Wang, 37, was brutally attacked by four men while he was jogging near his home in Southampton last Tuesday. He sustained facial injuries and an injury to his elbow in the attack, which took place at around 4.15pm on Vosper Road, Southampton.
The men drove past Mr Wang in a car and shouted abuse at him. When the University of Southampton lecturer shouted back to defend himself, they stopped the car and assaulted him.
Police arrested a 23-year-old man from Southampton on suspicion of racially aggravated assault. He was released from custody but remains under investigation.
Mr Wang, who is from Tianjin but has lived in Southampton for six years, told the South China Morning Post: “Some crazy guys shouted at me from their car on the other side of the road. They said ‘Chinese virus’, get out [of] this country, f*** you.”
He said racism against East and South East Asians (ESEA) has become worse “since Brexit and then the pandemic”, adding that when he first arrived in the UK, he had “no worry” about going jogging even at night.
In a separate interview with ITV News, Mr Wang said: “Hatred crimes are increasing in the two years after Brexit and after the pandemic.
“So we as Eastern Asian people I would say we are currently in a dangerous position in the UK. If things get worse, maybe I’ll leave in the soonest time we can.”
The rise in racial attacks and violent hate crime against people of Chinese ethnicity and appearance was especially apparent at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, but is continuing.
Police data indicated a 300 per cent increase in hate crime reports from British Chinese, East and South East Asians in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2018 and 2019.
There are also concerns that an influx of Hong Kong residents coming into the UK under a new visa scheme will not have enough support when they move into their new homes.
The new visa allows holders of a British National (Overseas) (BNO) passport and their immediate dependents to settle in the UK after China imposed a new security law.
Charities such as Protection Approaches, which works to end identity-based violence, have launched initiatives alongside Chinese and ESEA community organisations to respond to the rise in hate crimes and provide resources for support.
Together with the Chinese Welfare Trust and Newham Chinese Association, Protection Approaches launched an “emergency project” in December to “deliver a comprehensive training programme to staff and volunteers”.
The project, called Confronting Covid-Related Hate, will “support victims of hate crime and abuse”, as well as help build relationships across community groups, local authorities, police and frontline service providers.
Lisa Yeung-Donaldson, of the Chinese Welfare Trust, wrote in the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) Hate Crime Newsletter in February: “With the support of an independent Review Group, longer-term sustainable strategies will be explored, including the formation of a national hub-like network of local hate crime reporting or support centres.”