Anti-Chinese racism is Canada’s ‘shadow pandemic,’ say researchers

Disturbing that so many appear not to be able to distinguish between the Chinese regime, with all its abuses, and Chinese Canadians:

Many Chinese Canadians fear that Asian children will be bullied when they return to school due to racial tension arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A survey of more than 500 Canadians of Chinese ethnicity by the Angus Reid Institute and the University of Alberta has found that anti-Chinese racism is rife in our society, what the researchers call a “shadow pandemic.”

That parents are afraid to send their children to school is “heartbreaking,” said ARI executive director Shachi Kurl. “Racism is the secondary virus that has had an outbreak since the pandemic was declared.

“We have this notion of Canada as an endlessly accepting, embracing country because we are multicultural,” she said. “It’s not the case and it’s never been the case.”

“The data show that these micro-aggressions are frequent and plentiful,” said Kurl. “People say they are being treated as though they are somehow carriers of COVID-19.”

More than 60 per cent of those surveyed said they have adjusted their daily routines because of the threat of racial backlash and about half fear that Asian children will be bullied if they return to school.

Vancouver-born Gloria Leung says her daughter of mixed race has been jeered by other children for her Chinese ancestry just steps from their home.

“We have informed our daughter’s teacher without naming any names and her teacher has shared that information with school staff so they can increase awareness of racism and bullying,” she said.

Her daughter’s harassers are from just two families in an otherwise diverse and welcoming neighbourhood, but the seven-year-old has felt anxious and stressed since the incident.
“We understand that everyone is struggling and hurting in this pandemic,” Leung said. “Our hope in sharing these lived and uncomfortable experiences is not to shame people, but to provide insight into systemic racism and shed light on how we can learn from these experiences.”

The survey also found that just 13 per cent of respondents feel that people in Canada view them as fully Canadian “all the time.”

“There’s a notion that because our schools are diverse and our workplaces are diverse that racism isn’t a thing anymore,” said Kurl. “It’s one thing to hear about this anecdotally, but it’s important to ask these questions to see just how widespread this is.”

About 30 per cent of the respondents say they have been exposed to anti-Chinese sentiment in the news, on social media or through graffiti.“Just this weekend (U.S. President Donald) Trump used a pejorative term for the virus, calling it the ‘kung flu,” noted Tung Chan, a former Vancouver city councillor and former chair of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

“The parents learn from the media, the children learn from the parents and you have this fear that extends into schools,” he said.

Chan was particularly discouraged to learn that 60 per cent of people surveyed changed their daily routine to avoid negative interactions and “unpleasant encounters.”

“I have always chosen my words carefully when talking about racism, because I don’t want to make people feel insecure,” said Chan. “But looking at these numbers I think that I was too mild in my remarks. This is far worse than I thought in terms of people fearing for their personal safety.”While it is important to hold the government of China to account for its belligerence and human rights abuses, news media need to distinguish between the actions of the People’s Republic of China, the Communist party of China, and the Chinese people.

“The term Chinese is too all-encompassing and it reflects the actions of the Chinese government back on the people in our community,” said Chan.

“I am proud of my Chinese heritage and I won’t walk away from that, but if you ask me who I am I always say I am Canadian,” he said.

The survey was conducted online between June 15 and 18 among a randomized representative sample of 516 adults who identify as ethnically Chinese. The margin of error is +/- 4.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Source: Anti-Chinese racism is Canada’s ‘shadow pandemic,’ say researchers

Tung Chan: Recent increase in hate crimes toward Asian-Canadians is a shock and a shame

One of the better opinion pieces on anti-Asian-Canadian hate crimes:

Canada is a multicultural society. The majority of us are welcoming and accepting of new Canadians, no matter where they are from or what race they are. This positive attribute of Canadian society is universally appreciated by new arrivals and admired by people around the world. This is why the recent increase in hate crimes toward Asian-Canadians is a shock to all of us.

Some of my Chinese-Canadian friends are taking extra precautions when they are out in public, looking over their shoulders when they are walking alone on empty streets. Many Chinese-Canadian organizations are banding together to fight the rise in racism.

It is no wonder then that a national survey conducted for the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice found that as many as one in five respondents do not think it is safe to sit on the bus next to an Asian or Chinese person who isn’t wearing a face mask.

The same poll, conducted in the week of April 24 with a sample size of 1,130 adults randomly drawn from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, also found that nearly 13 per cent, or one in eight respondents, were aware of incidents of racial bias in their neighbourhoods since COVID-19.

One member of Parliament, Derek Sloan, took advantage of this latent hostility and questioned the loyalty of our chief medical officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, who, like me, is an immigrant from Hong Kong. To the political base where his dogwhistle was directed, a Chinese person is a Chinese person — chief medical officer or not, naturalized Canadian or not.

A television outlet went further with a story that painted a picture of the Chinese diaspora, including Canadian citizens, obeying orders from the People’s Republic of China and secretly buying up personal protection equipment and shipping it back to China.

The unfortunate perception left with viewers is that Chinese-Canadians cannot be trusted because they may be members of a fifth column, ready and willing to follow the People’s Republic of China’s orders against the interest of Canada.

The point is that the actions of a few should never be generalized to a group. Yes, there is an increase of assaults on Asian-Canadians, but the actions of those few should not generate fear of all.

Yes, some Asian-Canadians sent care packages to China to protect loved ones prior to COVID-19 reaching Canada. But it was also done in hopes of preventing the virus from spreading and reaching Canada.

Everyone is afraid of COVID-19, of losing family, of being without an income, of what tomorrow will bring. But we know the fabric of Canada is sewn with kindness and compassion.

Our civic leaders and elected politicians need to continue speaking up to condemn those who physically attack to cause bodily harm or those who verbally attack to create doubt about the loyalty of Chinese-Canadians. The perpetrators of these malicious acts must be made to understand that their actions and their words are not acceptable in our society.

For the sake of our country, let’s focus our energy on fighting the virus, not each other.

Source: Tung Chan: Recent increase in hate crimes toward Asian-Canadians is a shock and a shame

Tung Chan: Dialogue with Chinese consul at reception can promote Canada’s case

Valid argument. The test, however, will be how many municipal politicians will raise their concerns and how forcefully or not they do so. And dialogue requires a willingness on the Chinese side, not very much in evidence these days:

I read with amazement about the debate over whether municipal politicians should attend the reception to be hosted by the Consulate of the People’s Republic of China at the 2019 Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention, to be held Sept. 23-27 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

The central arguments against attending can be summed up in two points.

The first is that as a result of China acting in a hostile way toward our country, we should not have any contacts with its officials. The second is that if our politicians attend the reception, they will end up under the influence of the Chinese officials.

There is no doubt that China is acting in a heavy-handed way toward Canada. But this is precisely the time that more dialogue between our two countries is needed. Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping at the recent G20 meeting in Japan. The reception at the upcoming UBCM will give our municipal politicians the opportunity to talk to Chinese officials.   

As to the second point about being afraid that our municipal politicians would be influenced, as a former Vancouver city councillor and former president of the Non-Partisan Association, I have full confidence that our elected mayors and councillors would not be so easily influenced by a cocktail or two. To suggest otherwise is an insult to their intelligence and integrity.

If we truly believe that our politicians can so easily become “under the general influence” of the cocktail host and then “all of a sudden, decisions aren’t taken on the basis of the public good, but on the basis of” the preoccupations of the cocktail party’s host (to paraphrase a statement by Richard Fadden, former head of CSIS), then we should, on principle, also ban commercial sponsorship at all gatherings of our politicians. Otherwise they will all be making decisions on the basis of those commercial enterprises and not on the basis of the public good. 

The fact is influence can go both ways. Why is it that those who suggest boycotting the reception have so little confidence in themselves or other politicians who want to participate of their own power of influence?  Why won’t they consider using the interaction to impress, to the extent possible, to the hosts of the reception in question that Canada is acting the way we are because we are a country that believes in the rule of law?

The points of view of the Chinese consular officials may not be changed but at least there would be constructive dialogue and our local politicians would reinforce the message of our prime minister and the foreign affairs minister. 

I believe, with the best interest of our country in heart, we need to open up more channels of dialogue between Canada and China.

Common sense tells us that problems can only be solved through dialogue, not through avoiding contact. It is time for our local politicians to join in the effort to tell China via the Chinese consuls face-to-face the feelings of the people they represent about the actions of the Chinese government. Our local politicians cannot leave that job to our prime minister and the minister of foreign affairs alone.

Tung Chan is a former Vancouver city councillor and former president of the Non-Partisan Association.

Source: Tung Chan: Dialogue with Chinese consul at reception can promote Canada’s case

Adopting a Chinese Name Helps Win at the Polls – NCM

For those interested in language and branding, Tung Chan’s column on choosing a Chinese name, whether for politicians or companies, is well worth reading:

The third method, beautified phonetic translation, is the most commonly used method. This is a modified approach of the pure phonetic translation method. The starting point of this method is the phonetic pronunciation of the name followed by choosing culturally meaningful homonyms. The official Chinese name for the aforementioned LaPointe, 賴普德, was arrived at by such a method. The three Chinese characters are pronounced in Cantonese as Lai Po Dug and approximate LaPointe.

The word 賴 is a common Chinese surname; 普 means general, universal or popular, while 德 means virtue or moral. Thus, 賴普德 is far better than the pure phonetic name 拉波特 used by one of the local Chinese language newspapers. Another such example is the Chinese name for the Toronto Dominion Bank. It dropped the pure phonetic name of 道美寅 in favour of the beautified phonetic name of 道明. Both of the Chinese names were based on the word “dominion”. 道美寅 has no consequential meaning while 道明 means a “bright pathway”.

The Chinese name for Coca-Cola, 可口可樂, is another wonderful example. The four Chinese characters are pronounced in Mandarin as Kē Kou Kē Lè and can roughly be translated as, “pleases your mouth, makes you happy.”

The fourth method, trans-creation, is by far the most powerful, but less used one. This method is used almost exclusively for commercial entities and rarely used by individuals. The starting point of this method of name generation is to crystallize the essence of the resulting image one wants to project onto the consumer. The second step is to pick a name that best reflects that essence, but doesn’t necessarily bear any relationship to the actual English name. Thus the HK and Shanghai Bank becomes 匯豐銀行 (plentiful remittance bank), the Bank of Nova Scotia becomes 豐業銀行 (plentiful business bank) and Manulife Financial becomes 宏利財務 (grand profit financial). The Chinese names of all three examples cited above resonate with people who understand Chinese and is by far the most effective way to brand a product unless you are working with a pan cultural name like “Apple” 萍果.

Good luck in picking a powerful Chinese name this election.

Adopting a Chinese Name Helps Win at the Polls – New Canadian Media – NCM.

Douglas Todd: We must stand on guard for Canada

Douglas Todd captures the ongoing debate on new Canadians and Canadian values.

I tend to favour Tung Chan’s more pragmatic approach but with a bit more teeth with respect to public and private institutions in terms of setting accommodation limits when they conflict with fundamental equality rights:

Rohani, a businessman who has sat on RCMP diversity committees, and Dosanjh, a lawyer whose biography will be released on Aug. 5, want prospective immigrants to Canada to be taught the essentials of liberal democracy and equality.

“Speaking as an immigrant, if we choose Canada as the best place to come and live, then why aren’t we following its values?” Dosanjh says. “If we want to recreate the society we left behind, why don’t we just stay there? It’s incumbent upon us newcomers to embrace the whole of society, not just its dollars.”

Tung Chan, former head of the government-financed immigrant services society, SUCCESS, is a friend of Rohani’s. But he’s more sanguine about the religion-rooted hazards facing liberal democracy.

Chan would prefer not to highlight the difficulties associated with what he claims in Canada is only the “one per cent who are mal-adapted” and don’t embrace free choice and equality.

Although Chan agrees with Rohani and Dosanjh that new immigrants and all Canadians should be taught about the country’s laws, Constitution, and Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Chan takes a hands-off approach beyond that.

“After the teaching is done,” Chan says, “whether they choose to accept or reject our value system is entirely up to them as long as they do not break the law.”

Dosanjh strongly disagrees, maintaining Canadians shouldn’t be so shy about upholding democratic principles. “Society is not just governed by laws. We have our values, our ethics, our integrity. It’s not a written law, for example, that we should allow people to marry whoever they want to marry.”

Douglas Todd: We must stand on guard for Canada.