British Chinese children talk about racism and the impact on their lives

Last updated at 05:45
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‘I feel scared’: Chinese children in the UK

British Chinese children have told Newsround that racism during the coronavirus pandemic has got worse, leaving many scared to go outside.

"Scared to get racist comments and potentially get hurt," says 13-year-old Nicky who explained that he has a "fear" of how people might behave just because he's Chinese.

"I'm definitely more scared than before. Since this coronavirus started I've definitely had more criticism and more racist comments."

We are all responsible for ensuring children and young people feel confident in society, and are not the victims of racism and hate crime.

Spokesperson, End The Virus of Racism
A year of racism

In February 2020, Newsround spoke to British Chinese children before the UK went into the first national lockdown. The children explained that they had been bullied and called names.

It followed the first reports of coronavirus, which had started in Wuhan, China. At the time, 12-year-old Kacy said she had been called "contagious" and that it had made her feel "really upset."

Since then, the campaign group End The Virus of Racism has said that Britain's East and Southeast Asian communities saw a 300-percent increase in racist abuse and hate crime.

Newsround spoke to Kacy again this year. She says that people need to stand up "against that hate," but added that she feels "annoyed" and "frustrated" to be talking about racism against the Chinese community again, a year later.

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'They called me contagious once' In February 2020, before the lockdown, Newsround spoke to British Chinese children about their experiences

Ten-year-old Hayden says that "since the virus started in the UK the racist comments have gotten worse, because I've experienced them more and more times.

"When I was out running with my mum, there was these teenagers in a car swearing at us, because we are Chinese."

Hayden thinks people have said nasty things because they are looking for someone to blame for the pandemic and the lockdowns.

"If there wasn't the coronavirus, I don't think they would have said anything," he said.

"I think that they think it's ok to say these things, because they are just scared."

"When I went back to school people said more offensive things"
Nine-year-old Deyue drew a picture showing a girl telling her she has Covid-19 because she's Chinese.Deyue
Nine-year-old Deyue drew a picture to show what people had said to her

Meanwhile, nine-year-old Deyue says that when schools reopened in March it was a difficult time.

"When I went back to school people said more offensive things about Asians, like they ate bats and dogs and are mean to Muslims."

Her brother, Deyang added that one boy kept saying that he ate bats, until it made him cry.

"I just find that really offensive and racist," he said.

Holding a picture, drawn to show the comments she has heard, Deyue added that the experiences of her and her brother had left her asking "why did they do that?".

"I really don't like them saying mean things to Asian people," she said.

"Scared that similar things could happen to me"
Camera operator films a child.Jenny Wong

Ten-year-old Clara is worried about her own safety after events in other parts of the world, including the US where Asians have been violently attacked.

"On social media I see videos promoting racism and racist attacks against Asian people, which makes me feel quite uncomfortable and scared that similar things could happen to me."

She explained that comments from Donald Trump, the former US president, describing the coronavirus as the "China virus" had made some people think it was acceptable to say nasty things to Chinese people.

It's something that concerns Nicky too.

"Our race and our culture is classed as a minority group and I feel like it's easier to discriminate on us.

"I feel like more people will take the opportunity to make racist comments and attack people."

The Government and the police are working together to bring offenders to justice, support victims and end prejudice.

Spokesperson, UK Government

Nicky says that he hopes things will get better as the situation with coronavirus improves, but added he would like to see harsher punishments for people who have committed racist hate crimes.

"I feel like the government needs to bring more awareness of the problem and the police definitely need to do more, better."

In response, the Home Office, the government department responsible for policing said they are working with communities who have been affected by racism during the pandemic and a spokesperson said: "All forms of hate crime are completely unacceptable. The Government and the police are working together to bring offenders to justice , support victims and end prejudice."

'Tolerance for different cultures'
A digital drawing of children with words representing British values.Clara
Ten-year-old Clara created this digital artwork and says people need to 'remember British values'

"I'm excited to see what the government does" says 15-year-old Michael, who also wants more awareness of the issues faced by Asians during the pandemic.

"Famous people and influencers can speak out, which was seen during Black Lives Matter which I was really pleased about, but not much light has been shed on other ethnic minorities," he said.

For Clara, she feels like British values of "tolerance" and "respect" have been forgotten and says "we don't talk about these values enough in our daily lives."

Meanwhile Nicky had this message for those who have said racist things to Chinese people: "Even if to you it feels like a joke, to the person you're directing it to, they're feeling something very different.

"They're feeling harm and they're feeling that fear of not wanting to go out because of attacks against their own race."

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174 comments
  • I hate this virus!

    Sometimes i just want burst into tears😞😭
    Message from Newsround

    We're sorry to hear that you are going through a difficult time. It could really help to talk to someone about how you are feeling. You can confide in any trusted adult such as a parent, relative or teacher, but if there is no one you feel you can speak to, you can call Childline on 0800 11 11 Calls are free, confidential and will not show up on any bill. You can also visit the Childline website at childline.org.uk, and there is a free Childline app you can download called For Me.

    Do try to speak to someone as soon as possible. You might be surprised to find out how much better you feel when you share your feelings.

    Newsround