People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Leaders of the Chinese-Canadian community say the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across Vancouver and North America suggests the population has not been accepted as a part of the wider society.

The comments came Thursday during a roundtable discussion on anti-Asian hate crimes hosted by the Vancouver Police Board.

Carol Lee, chair of the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation, said people of Asian heritage are excluded from areas of power in the city.

“The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America, even if we have been here for generations,” she said. “Anti-Asian racism has always been here.”

Lee said COVID-19 may have played a role in the rise of racist incidents, but added the tension has been around longer than the pandemic.

Vancouver police reported a 717 per cent rise in anti-Asian hate crime in 2020 compared with 2019. The majority of incidents occurred last May.

The city has recorded 15 such incidents since the start of this year.

Deputy chief Howard Chow said he wants to reassure the larger Asian community that police are prioritizing investigating the incidents.

He also urged citizens to intervene when they see racist incidents occurring.

“Sometimes we as police leaders are reluctant to say this but intervene,” he said. “If you think it’s safe to do so, if you’re comfortable with it, intervene.”

Police in B.C. do not have the ability to recommend hate crimes charges under the Criminal Code. It is a sentencing provision that is applied by the courts if a person is convicted of a Criminal Code offence.

Supt. Howard Tran said the rise in hate crimes has led to his elderly parents being scared to leave their home.

“They’re less concerned about contracting COVID when they walk about than being assaulted,” Tran said. “It’s heartbreaking that my parents can’t go out and walk without the fear of being assaulted.”

He said 13 of the 98 cases reported last year have resulted in criminal charges being forwarded to the Crown.

Some of those who spoke during the panel discussion shared their belief that the number of hate crimes is much higher than figures show, with many incidents going unreported.

Others spoke of their frustration that despite growing awareness, no discernible action has been taken.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he would work to ensure the incidents are treated with the utmost priority moving forward.

Queenie Choo, CEO of United Chinese Community Enrichment Services Society, said there needs to be a long-term, sustainable funding approach for anti-racism initiatives.

Choo, who was also one of the panellists on the police department’s roundtable discussion Thursday, said recent international media reports dubbing Vancouver as the capital of anti-Asian hate crime in North America is “appalling.”

“We need to go further and look at tangible outcomes so we can see a change in our community,” she said in an interview.

More transparency is needed on how hate crimes are prosecuted as well as how many people are being sentenced for those crimes, Choo added.

Without those measurements, it’s hard to gauge whether anti-hate crime initiatives are a success, she said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Hate crimesracismVancouver

Just Posted

Workers had a busy time today repairing a broken main water line. (District of Houston photo)
Water service being restored

Main line on 13th had broken

Flags at the District of Houston administrative building were lowered last week following the news that the remains of as many as 215 children were found buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The flags were raised back up yesterday. (Houston Today photo)
Flags lowered in memory

Flags at the District of Houston administrative building were lowered last week… Continue reading

Bruce Tang- Unsplash photo
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

“Older adults in our communities continue to find themselves in vulnerable situations… Continue reading

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Most Read