BTS 'grief and anger' over Asian American hate crimes

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Korean boyband BTS say they feel "grief and anger" over hate crimes against Asian people in the US.

A statement from the group - published in Korean and English - refers to discriminatory experiences that made them feel "powerless".

Over the weekend rallies took place in 60 American cities in response to deadly mass shootings in Asian-owned spas in Atlanta.

Four of the eight victims were of Korean descent.

The recent spike in the deliberate targeting of Asian parts of the population is thought to come from people blaming China for the coronavirus pandemic.

'The right to respected'

"We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason," says the BTS statement.

"Our own experiences are inconsequential compared to the events that have occurred over the past few weeks.

"But these experiences were enough to make us feel powerless and chip away at our self-esteem."

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US President Joe Biden has spoken about "vicious hate crimes against Asian-Americans who have been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated."

Last year the United Nations published a report describing "an alarming level" of racially motivated violence against Asian Americans.

BTS say they "stand against racial discrimination" and say everyone has "the right to be respected".

More than 2,800 reports of hate incidents directed at Asian Americans were logged by the advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate in 2020.

It set up an online self-reporting tool at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

Other high profile celebrities have spoken about their experiences facing racial discrimination.

Killing Eve actress Sandra Oh gave a speech at a rally describing the "fear" and "anger" amongst Asian-Americans.

"This is the first time we are even able to voice our fear and our anger, and I really am so grateful for everyone willing to listen," she said before encouraging the crowd to chant: "I am proud to be Asian. I belong here."

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