During the outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic, quite a number of people have looked down on and discriminated against Asians. In many countries, it has escalated to racist attacks and hate crimes. According to a Pew Research Center report, about 31 percent of Asian Americans in the U.S. said they have been subjected to discrimination since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Countless violent crimes and disappearances from the Fil-Chi community have also been reported. These include murder, robberies, and horrific cases like an Asian woman being dragged by her a car in Chinatown in Oakland, California, and in New York, a 61-year-old Filipino man’s face was slashed so deeply that he can’t talk.
But each day, more and more Chinese celebrities stand up against Asian racism, spreading awareness and helping create a safer space for Asians around the world.
Here are some Chinese celebrities that have condemned the racist statements and attacks towards Asians:
English-Chinese actress Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians) has taken a stand against racism and hate crimes in the U.S. via Twitter, saying, “Hate crimes against Asian Americans have skyrocketed but too often these attacks are ignored & underreported. This is not limited to the US; in the UK attacks against East & Southeast Asians have increased 300% during the pandemic. Please share & raise awareness #EnoughIsEnough.”
As for Hollywood, although she is impressed with the changes in regards to race, Chan can’t help but wish that race didn’t need to be discussed. In an interview with ELLE, she shared, “I do get moments where I think, ‘Oh gosh, I wish we didn’t have to talk about race anymore.’ In the same way I wish we didn’t have to talk about why it’s unusual to have a female lead. Why is that still the exception? Why is it still so unusual to have half of the human race being centered in these stories? It seems ridiculous that we’re still flagging that up as a talking point.”
Chinese actress Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse), with German, Irish, and English ancestry, took to Instagram to say, “Over the past few days I’ve found myself at a loss for words at the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes. The racist, verbal and physical assaults have left my community fearful to step outside.
“These hate crimes have spiked since Covid and continue to increase even though we ask for help, even though we ask our fellow Americans to be outraged for us, even though we ask for more mainstream media coverage.”
“To simply exist as a minority in the country is seen as a protest to some. We need help amplifying the outage. We need help to feel safe in our country. We need help to be safe in our country,” she added, signing, “With Love, Olivia Munn / Proud Asian American.”
Canadian-Chinese actress Olivia Cheng knew that racism was getting out of hand upon witnessing a man drive up to an elderly Chinese woman and rolled down his window to throw trash at her and yell, “This is your fault!” Enraged, she strongly encouraged celebrities of Asian descent to use their platforms and speak up.
Cheng has also been suffering internally as the recent wave of attacks against Asians brought back painful memories of her childhood growing up in Canada where she faced biased attacks.
“I don’t think we can pretend that this isn’t happening,” Cheng stated in an interview with The Associated Press. “These are the conversations you need to be having with your kids in your house. You need to, even if you’re not Chinese. You should be explaining that this is terrible, that racism is coming out of this pandemic. So, have that talk with your kid, have that talk with your friends. If one of your friends says, ‘Yo, this ‘Chinese Virus’ is crazy.’ Say, ‘No. Actually, man, it’s called COVID-19. It’s not the ‘Chinese Virus.’’ Just check them.”
With everything that has happened, Cheng still tries to remain positive, saying, “There’s no relenting. We’ll keep moving forward. And hopefully one day, people are going to say, ‘You know what? I not only accept the differences, but I also accept the fact that we’re very much alike.’”
Chinese-American basketball player Jeremy Lin didn’t hesitate in holding back his response to former President Donald Trump’s tweet that referred to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.”
Previously, Trump tweeted, “The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!”
Lin commented via Twitter: “I wish you would powerfully support the vulnerable people that will suffer due to our mismanagement of this virus, including those that will be affected by the racism you’re empowering. And I don’t wanna hear about no German measles/Spanish flu bc everyday Asian-Americans inc ppl I know are threatened and physically attacked. I don’t give a crap about the history of names rn. What I do know is this subtle anti-Chinese message only empowers more hate towards Asians.”
“I’m not good with the old school Asian model minority stigma where we won’t speak up or stand up for ourselves,” he added. “In times like now, we truly, truly need to stay united. Let’s fight this virus TOGETHER!! Wash your hands, practice social distancing, take this seriously, stay safe.”
Malaysian-Chinese comedian and actor Ronny Chieng, voiced his opinion against Sen. John Cornyn who claimed that Chinese culture is to blame for several viruses because it’s a “culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that.”
In response, Chieng tweeted, “Hey @JohnCornyn ‘This is Chinese culture and every disease comes from there.’ is factually false and worse is a clear rallying call for idiots to go after people who look Asian. There are Asian kids out here just trying to live, you reckless moron.”
Chinese-Taiwanese journalist Lisa Ling made a guest appearance on The View to voice her reaction to former President Trump calling the COVID-19 the “Chinese virus.”
“I was pretty astounded when he started calling the coronavirus the ‘Chinese virus,'” Ling shared. “It’s been months since this crisis began, and to me, it just seemed like a way to deflect attention to the fact that they were not taking it seriously for months and months. It seemed like he was deflecting blame.”
Ling shared that she has a many loved ones that have experienced racism, which was only worsened due to the former president’s remarks.
“I have friends’ kids who’ve been taunted,” Ling shared. “I have friends who have talked about being harassed in places. If you just Google stories about Asians being harassed since the [former] president started calling it the Chinese virus, there are countless stories. In fact, the national crisis text hotline has had a sizable increase of Asians reporting that they are feeling depressed because they have been bullied and they somehow feel as though they are somehow responsible for this crisis because the [former] president has characterized it as the Chinese virus.”
Chinese-Korean actress Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians) expressed her sadness during the pandemic, seeing numerous violent acts towards Asians in the U.S. alone. Recently, she expressed her views against racism via her Instagram stories, sharing a call to action against anti-Asian violence.
“During the first couple of weeks [of the pandemic] I was yelled, ‘Covid!’ I was yelled, ‘Chink.’ Obviously, that is founded in ignorance and stupidity, driven by misplaced hatred,” she shared during the Massachusetts Conferences for Women. “For me, I don’t think there is room for any of that. I hope we can gain some form of understanding as people because we have a lot of problems right now.”
“This is [an] unrealistic hope but my hope as a nation, as people, even as a generation, is that we start to think outside of ourselves a little bit and also look into ourselves,” she said. “I hope we figure out what matters. I hope part of us becomes unselfish. I hope we give up something for the greater good at this time. And I hope when we come out of this, we can pick up the pieces and carry on.”
Looking for more Chinese celebrity news? Check out our article on stars you didn’t know were Chinese here.