Top line

A tweet from former President Donald Trump calling Covid-19 a “Chinese virus” has been linked to a surge in anti-Asian content on Twitter, new research has shown, amid demand in the US for urgent action to deal with it Problems Growing As the pandemic rises, the levels of hate crime and violence against Asian Americans rise, and many blame the harmful rhetoric used by politicians.

Trump regularly referred to the coronavirus as the Chinese virus (Photo by Chip Somodevilla / Getty) … [+] Images)

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Key factors

According to a new study by the University of California in San Francisco, a tweet from then President Trump in March 2020, in which Covid-19 was referred to as “the Chinese virus”, caused anti-Asian hashtags on the platform to rise “steeply” .

In the days before and after Trump’s tweet, the researchers examined 700,000 tweets with more than 1.2 million anti-Asian hashtags that the researchers said were a predictor of hate crimes and hate group formation.

Trump’s tweet of March 16, which has since been removed from the platform, read: “The United States will give strong support to industries such as airlines and others particularly hard hit by the Chinese virus. We will be stronger than ever! “

For users who used the hashtag #chinesevirus, half did so alongside anti-Asian hashtags, compared to around 20% of those who used # covid19 to advertise the disease.

Yulin Hswen, lead author of the study, said the use of racial terms to describe a disease “can maintain the stigma” and that the rise in anti-Asian terms on Twitter after Trump’s tweet was an “indicator of the growth of anti-Asians” could be. Asian mood. ”

Key background

Trump’s rhetoric regarding the coronavirus was re-examined this week after a series of shootings by a white gunman in Atlanta, Georgia, in which six of the eight victims were Asian women. Police officers’ suggestion that the shootings may not have been racially motivated has been widely denounced, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Trump’s repeated description of the coronavirus as “Chinese virus” and “kung flu” helped Create an environment where hate crimes against Asians Americans have increased.

Big number

3,795. This is the number of anti-Asian hate incidents reported across the country between March 2020 and February 2021. This comes from a report by the non-profit coalition Stop AAPI Hate. The number of hate crimes in 2020 rose nearly 150% from 2019, making the surge in violence a nationwide problem that was a major concern even before Tuesday’s shooting.

further reading

Asian-American Legislators Call Out Racist Language: “I’m Not A Virus” (NYT)

Officials call for vigilance against anti-Asian violence amid skepticism that Atlanta suspect’s subject will be shot (Forbes)

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