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Asian Americans 'screaming out for help' as abuse surges: congressional hearing

PoliticsMar 19, 2021 06:11AM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. Deadly shootings at three spas in Georgia 2/2

By Makini Brice

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers, professors and actor Daniel Dae Kim said the Asian-American community was reeling from a year of heightened anti-Asian attacks in a congressional hearing held just days after the killing of six Asian women in Georgia.

Thursday's hearing, which was scheduled before the attack, aimed to examine a spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans, which rose by 149% in 2020 in 16 major cities compared with 2019, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

"Our community is bleeding, we are in pain and for the last year we've been screaming out for help," Democratic Representative Grace Meng told the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Experts have linked the surge to the COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in China, after some Americans, including Republican former President Donald Trump, started calling the coronavirus the "China virus," "the China plague" and even "kung flu."

A 21-year-old white man has been charged with killing eight people, six of them Asian women, at three spas in the Atlanta area on Tuesday. Police are investigating motives and have not ruled out the possibility that the attacks were provoked, at least in part, by anti-immigrant or anti-Asian sentiments.

The spike in anti-Asian American incidents in the past year included people being slashed with a box cutter, lit on fire and verbal harassment, said Steve Cohen, the subcommittee's Democratic chair.

"All the pandemic did was exacerbate latent anti-Asian prejudices that have a long, long and ugly history in America," said Cohen.

Kim, best known for starring in the television series "Lost" and "Hawaii Five-0," called on lawmakers to pass legislation to fund groups that provide counseling to victims of hate crimes and improve data collection for hate crime reporting.

"What happens right now and over the course of the coming months will send a message for generations to come as to whether we matter, as to whether the country we call home chooses to erase us or include us," said Kim.

In the closely divided House, the hearing quickly lapsed into partisan politics.

In a sprawling opening speech, Republican lawmaker Chip Roy said the subject matter was important, but then moved on to attacking China's treatment of its Uighur community and handling of the coronavirus.

He added he hoped the hearing would address how affirmative action policies by U.S. universities hurt Asian Americans.

Repeatedly, Democratic lawmakers referred to Roy's comments in their own statements.

"Your president and your party and your colleagues can talk about issues with any other country that you want, but you don't have to do it by putting a bull's eye on the back of Asian Americans across this country, on our grandparents, on our kids," said Meng.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said U.S. President Joe Biden, who will be meeting with Asian-American leaders on Friday in Atlanta, was determined to be "part of the solution, not part of the problem."

Asian Americans 'screaming out for help' as abuse surges: congressional hearing
 

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Comments (13)
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy Mar 19, 2021 8:36AM ET
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I like how they don't show the name of the massage parlor where shootings took place. "Young Asians Massage"!
Apfel Wein
Apfel Wein Mar 19, 2021 7:01AM ET
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Trump admin was seeking justice for Asian American who are discriminated by Ivy League schools.  Biden administration dropped the lawsuit shortly after taking office, without comment.  Who has your back Asians?  Forbes:  Biden DOJ Drops Lawsuit Claiming Yale Discriminates Against White And Asian Students
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Mar 19, 2021 7:01AM ET
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"Lawsuit Claiming Yale Discriminates Against White And Asian Students"  -- really, you think Trump did it to help asians instead of white students?  if you believe that, I have a friend who is a nigerian prince and he wants to talk to you about some great investment opportunities....
Dawei Liu
Dawei Liu Mar 18, 2021 5:35PM ET
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Exactly how Jews were treated before...
Apfel Wein
Apfel Wein Mar 18, 2021 5:35PM ET
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they are the wealthiest group in America.  Only 2-4% of the population, they are at least 600% overrepresented at Yale, Harvard at 18-20% undergrads (check faculty too).  They are over represented in banking, wall st., media, Hollywood.  they are doing fine, as are Asians in America - both very successful and deserving too (smart, hard work).  Don't  let the *** media divide black, white, asian middle class. this fight is between globalist elite and working folks.
Kate Davis
Kate Davis Mar 18, 2021 5:27PM ET
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The fact is the more the CCP being aggressive and bully on the earth, the more angers towards to Chinese. It's ultimately CCP's fault.
Alice Mae Jones
Alice Mae Jones Mar 18, 2021 5:27PM ET
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But it’s NOT these people’s fault!
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Mar 18, 2021 5:27PM ET
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latest MAGA logic:  guns don't *******people, people *******people, or rather only chinese communist party kills chinese  people or asian americans
Simon Meszaros
Simon Meszaros Mar 18, 2021 3:38PM ET
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could even be chinese agenda
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Mar 18, 2021 3:38PM ET
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blaming the victims much?
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey Mar 18, 2021 3:25PM ET
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Yip, media try to devide more people. Anything from Reuters = rubbish
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Mar 18, 2021 3:25PM ET
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I see, so it's the media's fault
Apfel Wein
Apfel Wein Mar 18, 2021 3:25PM ET
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Tre Hsi  Seung-Hui Cho
Juan San
Juan San Mar 18, 2021 1:10PM ET
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Shouldnt the democrats be investigating racist and sexist hiring practices at these "massage parlors"? Why are only asian women being hired there? Are they racist against hiring other races and genders?
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Mar 18, 2021 1:10PM ET
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well, are you still angry because they couldn't offer you a male massage service when you went there looking for a happy ending?
Adrian White
Adrian White Mar 18, 2021 1:10PM ET
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Juan, it's not "the Democrats" job to "investigate" hiring practices of a few massage parlors. Get real. Stop trying to make this political. A very serious crime was committed and you want to complain about hiring practices? It has nothing to do with any political party.
Juan San
Juan San Mar 18, 2021 1:09PM ET
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There is ZERO evidence this was racially motivated. Fake news doing like they did with Covington, Smollett, that NASCAR driver with the garage rope. Democrats love sensationalizing race and manipulating data. There was a rise in hate crimes against asians in major cities? There was a rise in ALL violent crimes against ALL RACES in democrat cities across the country last year while BLM was going crazy, l including what democrat define as ha.te crimes (i.e. crimes that involve two different races). Does the news want to mention the rise in black against asian hate crimes contributing to this? Not a single fact the news or police has presented about this case show racial motivation. Not even all of the victims were asian.
Mart Bab
Rubberduck1973 Mar 18, 2021 1:09PM ET
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A 21 year old man killed 6 women  In your mind that was just for fun?
De Will
WhatMatters Mar 18, 2021 1:09PM ET
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Mart Bab  The original poster correctly points out that despite ZERO evidence of racial motivation in this case, the mind reading news media falsely assumes otherwise.
Apfel Wein
Apfel Wein Mar 18, 2021 1:09PM ET
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Paul Reuters had a fake name to go with the fake news.  real name was Israael Beer Josaphat.   I had to add an "a" to the first name otherwise Investing.com deletes post.
Juan San
Juan San Mar 18, 2021 1:09PM ET
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*by including. To be clear, Asians suffer from some of the lowest victimization rates of any demographic group in the country (according to DOJ statistics). The reason the percent increased 140% in 2020 is because violent crimes against all racial groups went up significantly in democrat cities in 2020. There was such a small absolute number of crimes against asians that 140% increase is only a small absolute number compared to the increase in numbers of violent crimes against other races.
Juan San
Juan San Mar 18, 2021 12:58PM ET
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There is ZERO evidence this was racially motivated. Fake news doing like they did with Covington, Smollett, that NASCAR driver with the garage rope. Democrats love sensationalizing race and manipulating data. There was a rise in hate crimes against asians in major cities? There was a rise in ALL violent crimes against ALL RACES in democrat cities across the country last year while BLM was going crazy, l including what democrat define as ha.te crimes (i.e. crimes that involve two different races). Does the news want to mention the rise in black against asian hate crimes contributing to this? Not a single fact the news or police has presented about this case show racial motivation. Not even all of the victims were asian.
Juan San
Juan San Mar 18, 2021 12:52PM ET
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There is ZERO evidence this was racially motivated. Fake news doing like they did with Covington, Smollett, that NASCAR driver with the garage rope. Democrats love sensationalizing race and manipulating data. There was a rise in hate crimes against asians in major cities? There was a rise in ALL violent crimes against ALL RACES in democrat cities across the country last year while BLM was going crazy, l including what democrat define as ha.te crimes (i.e. crimes that involve two different races). Does the news want to mention the rise in black against asian hate crimes contributing to this? Not a single fact the news or police has presented about this case show racial motivation. Not even all of the victims were asian.
Juan San
Juan San Mar 18, 2021 12:46PM ET
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Shouldnt the democrats be investigating racist hiring practices at these "massage parlors"? Why are only asian people being hired there? Are they racist against hiring other races?
Juan San
Juan San Mar 18, 2021 12:45PM ET
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There is ZERO evidence this was racially motivated. Democrats love sensationalizing race and manipulating data. There was a rise in hate crimes against asians in major cities? There was a rise in ALL violent crimes in democrat cities across the country, including what democrat define as ha.te crimes (i.e. crimes that involve two different races). Not a single fact the news has or police have suggest this. Not even all of the victims were asian.
Juan San
Juan San Mar 18, 2021 12:44PM ET
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Democrats love sensationalizing race and manipulating data. There was a rise in hate crimes against asians in major cities? There was a rise in ALL violent crimes in democrat cities across the country, including what democrat define as hate crimes (i.e. crimes that involve two different races). There is ZERO evidence that this guy was racially motivated. Not a single fact the news has or police have suggest this. Not even all of the victims were asian.
 
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