A Singaporean university student was walking down a London street when he heard someone shout, “I don’t want your coronavirus in my country.” When the student turned, he said four men attacked him, giving him a bloody nose and a broken bone near his right eye.
A similar story played out in Madrid, where a Chinese-American expat was so violently beaten that he woke up two days later in the hospital. He told police that all he remembers was hearing someone say “something about the coronavirus” before everything went black.
Incidents like these occurred a few months after the novel coronavirus—the virus that causes COVID-19—was first reported in a market in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. As infection rates once again rise around the world, spurred by new, more contagious “super strains,” these attacks aren’t going away. From the United States to the United Kingdom, people who look Chinese are being targeted for racially motivated assaults, fueled by fear of a virus that knows no race, country of origin, political affiliation, or economic status.