Reports of Anti-Asian Assaults, Harassment and Hate Crimes Rise as Coronavirus Spreads

  • May 19, 2020
anti asian hate crime

Photo credit: Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

Amid the growing threat of the coronavirus, there are surging reports of xenophobic and racist incidents targeting members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in the U.S.

Since January 2020, there have been a significant number of reports of AAPI individuals being threatened and harassed on the street. These incidents include being told to “Go back to China,” being blamed for “bringing the virus” to the United States, being referred to with racial slurs, spat on, or physically assaulted. Statements by public officials referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus,” “Kung Flu” or “Wu Flu” may be exacerbating the scapegoating and targeting of the AAPI community. Meanwhile, extremists continue to spread antisemitic and xenophobic conspiracies about COVID-19, blaming Jews and China for creating, spreading and profiting off the virus.

The following is a representative list of coronavirus-related anti-Asian incidents reported in the media or by the victims. The description of the victims is based on media reporting. Please note: This is not a comprehensive list; for more detailed information or to report an incident, refer to resources established by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) or Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA).

May 

  • May 17 – Contra Costa, CA: A farm stand displayed a racist sign that read "Fresh bat soup" and "Thank you China." (Source: Reported to ADL) 

  • May 15 – New York, NY: An Asian woman was verbally harassed by fellow subway passenger for not wearing her mask "properly." The passenger yelled at the victim, "You fucking Chinese don't speak English! Go back to China!" She also slapped the victim's phone away. (Source: NY Daily News

  • May 12 – Stevens Point, WI: A man was arrested after using racial slurs against Asian customers in a grocery store. According to police “the customers were called names and harassed for wearing masks because of their race.” (Source: WSAW

  • May 14 – San Luis Obispo, CA: The Cal Poly Chinese Student Association's Zoom meeting was disrupted by unknown participants who drew swastikas and filled the chat box with xenophobic comments blaming the pandemic on people of Chinese descent. (Source: KSBY

  • May 5 – St. Louis, MO: A restaurant displayed a pinata in the shape of the coronavirus with a racist depiction of an Asian face on it. (Source: Riverfront Times

  • May 17 – Contra Costa, CA: A farm stand displayed a racist sign that read "Fresh bat soup" and "Thank you China." (Source: Reported to ADL) 
  • May 3 – Pasadena, CA: Police arrested a man who threw a drink at several Asian American people while yelling racial slurs at them. (Source: Pasadena Now

  • May 3 – New York, NY: An Asian man was attacked on the subway by a stranger who shouted at him, "You're infected China boy, you need to get off the train." The assailant then grabbed the victim and attempted to pull him out of his seat. (Source: NY Daily News

  • May 1 – Hoboken, NJ: Spray-painted anti-Asian graffiti was reported on the sidewalk outside an apartment building. (Source: Patch

April

  • April 26 – Queens, NY: An Asian woman in Rego Park was harassed by a man who yelled expletives and told her, "You're the one who brought the virus here.” After the woman attempted to record him on her cellphone, he slapped her phone away. (Source: Patch

  • April 25 – Pasadena, CA: An Asian man was walking with a friend when a motorist drove past and yelled at them, “Fucking Asians, motherfuckers. You brought this disease here.” Source: NextShark 

  • April 25 – Chesapeake, VA: A Chinese restaurant owner was harassed by an individual who entered the restaurant and threw water on her and her husband. The owner of the restaurant also reported that someone painted “Go back to China" on her car. (Source: The Virginian-Pilot

  • April 22 – San Jose, CA: Five Asian-Owned businesses were vandalized in nearby neighborhoods of San Jose. (Source: East Bay Times

  • April 20 – Orange County, CA:  During a second-grade class held on Zoom, one student told the class he does not like "China or Chinese people because they started this quarantine." (Source: Facebook

  • April 19 – San Francisco, CA: An Asian American woman was harassed while walking her dogs. She was told to "Go back to whatever fucking country you came from" and that "nasty people should stay in fucking Asia." (Source: Facebook

  • April 18 – Atlanta, GA: A plaque of Winnie the Pooh using chopsticks to eat a bat and the words “Wuhan Plague” was found outside a coffee shop. The plaque was also reportedly posted at other locations around East Atlanta on April 13 and April 16. (Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • April 17 – Philadelphia, PA: (Date approximate) An Asian-owned restaurant was vandalized with spray-painted graffiti that included the racial slur “Chink.” Source: WHYY 
  • April 17 – Albuquerque, NM: A Chinese American man reported that while at a supermarket another customer singled him out and told him to “stay away.” (Source: Reported to ADL) 
  • April 16 – Brooklyn, NY: An Asian woman was walking on the street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood when two men harassed her with remarks about Chinese people and called her a “Fucking freak.” (Source: Reported to ADL) 
  • April 15 – Newton, MA: A high school advance placement Chinese class held on Zoom was disrupted by individuals who targeted the students and teachers using racial slurs and loud mock-Chinese, and posting “vile, hate-filled images.” (Source: Boston Globe
  • April 12 – Seattle, WA: Patriot Front, an alt right group, posted propaganda around Seattle’s International District targeting Asian American/Pacific Islander businesses. (Source: ADL identified) 
  • April 10 – New York, NY: A Korean restaurant was defaced with graffiti that read, “Stop eating dogs.” (Source: NY Eater)
  • April 10 – New York, NY: A Zoom session hosted by an Asian American organization was disrupted by unknown individuals who wrote racist and anti-Asian slurs in the chat function. (Source: Reported to ADL) 
  • April 8 – Houston, TX: A woman verbally harassed employees of a Vietnamese restaurant, telling them, “Get out of our country.” (Source: ABC-13
  • April 7 – Amherst, MA: (Date approximate) In a letter to the Amherst College community, the president of the college reported that two Asian students at Amherst College had reportedly been the victims of verbal harassment in the town of Amherst. (Source: Amherst College
  • April 5 – San Marcos, CA: An Asian woman was verbally harassed in a Costco parking lot of by an unidentified male who blamed the woman and Chinese people for the virus. (Source: FOX 16)
  • April 4 – Edison, NJ: A group of juveniles surrounded an Asian woman and attacked her with racial slurs before punching her in the back of the head. (Source: NJ Advance Media
  • April 3 – Seymour, CT: A Chinese food restaurant received racist and threatening phone calls from callers who blamed the owners, who are Chinese, for the COVID-19 pandemic. The callers also threatened to shoot the owners. (Source: Valley New Haven Independent)
  • April 2 – Cherry Hill, NJ: A Vietnamese American man was walking his dog when he was verbally harassed by a stranger who yelled that he “caused the coronavirus and needed to get the fuck out of here.” Source: WHYY 

  • April 1 – Pittsburgh, PA: (Date approximate) An Asian American woman was at a grocery store when she was told by another shopper to shop with her own kind and that she "should be rounded up with the virus and shipped back to China." (Source: Pittsburgh's Action News 4

March

  • March 31 – Philadelphia, PA: Several Asian American homes received a letter that referenced eating bats and pangolin and encouraged the recipients to burn themselves alive. Source: WHYY 

  • March 31 – Webster Groves, MO: American Identity Movement, an alt right group, distributed propaganda that read promoted their group and featured a Corona beer bottle with the coronavirus germ and read: "Immigration kills," and "Made in China." (Source: ADL identified) 

  • March 30 – Yakima, WA: An Asian buffet restaurant was vandalized with graffiti that included an ethnic slur and a message that read, “Take the corona back.” (Source: YakTriNews)
  • March 29 – Bronx, NY: Three teenage girls harassed and used an umbrella to attack an Asian woman, saying, “You caused coronavirus, bitch.” (Source: New York Post)
  • March 28 – Evanston, IL: “Chinese virus” was found spray-painted on a jetty on the Northwestern University campus. (Source: Reported to ADL)
  • March 28 – New York, NY: An Asian woman walking her dogs was verbally harassed by two people who called her “the virus.” (Source: NextShark)
  • March 27 – San Angelo, TX: A Korean student at Angelo State University returned to his dorm room to find that someone had placed posters about COVID-19 on his door. (Source: San Angelo Live
  • March 27 – Martinsville, IN: A man of Korean descent was denied entry into a gas station and told to “never come back.” The gas station attendants reportedly told police that "anyone of Chinese descent was not allowed in the store.” (Source: WISH-TV
  • March 27 – Cerritos, CA: A Korean American woman was verbally harassed in the parking lot of a Walmart by a man who called her a “bitch asshole” and threatened to hit her. (Source: Reported to ADL)
  • March 27 – Evanston, IL: Someone spray-painted the words “Make China Pay” inside a bus shelter. (Source: Reported to ADL)
  • March 27 – Asheville, NC: A cooking class held on Zoom by an Asian American chef was disrupted by an unknown person who yelled anti-Asian and homophobic epithets. (Source: Citizen-Times
  • March 26 – Seattle, WA: A Chinese restaurant in the Chinatown-International District of Seattle was vandalized. (Source: NBC News
  • March 25 – South Bend, IN: A student at the University of Notre Dame posted racist, anti-Asian, anti-Chinese comments on their Facebook page. The student also wrote “Go home” on the Facebook page of an international student from China. (Source: The Observer)
  • March 25 – Woodbury, MN: A woman returned home to find this flier posted on her door: “We’re watching you fucking chinks take the [C]hinese virus back to [C]hina. We don’t want you hear [sic] infecting us with your diseases!!!!!!!” (Source: Facebook)
  • March 24 – Brooklyn, NY:  In a subway station, someone spat on an Asian man and yelled, “You fucking Chinese, spreading the coronavirus. You people got the virus.” Source: NY Daily News
  • March 24 – Columbia, MD: An Asian-American family was walking on a neighborhood trail when they were verbally harassed by neighbors who shouted at them, "Coronavirus, coronavirus! Asian pig!" (Source: Baltimore Sun
  • March 24 – Madison, WI: Anti-Chinese messages referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus” were found written in chalk on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. (Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
  • March 24 – San Francisco, CA: A man yelled at a Filipino-American man, using an anti-Asian derogatory term. (Source: Twitter)
  • March 23 – Des Moines, IA: An Asian American woman was waiting in line at a bakery when a white couple said, “Oh gosh, not here” and “fled” to another line when they saw she was Asian. (Source: Des Moines Register
  • March 21 – Huntington Beach, CA: A flier that read, “You guys are Chinese Viruses” and “Get out of our country” was posted on a family’s front door and left on their car. (Source: Reported to ADL) 
  • March 21 – Naperville, IL: A Chinese American man was jogging when he was attacked by two women who accused him of having the virus and told him to “go back to China.” They also threw a log at him and spat on him. (Source: WBEZ Chicago
  • March 20 – Los Angeles, CA: CNN journalist Kyung Lah was preparing for a broadcast when a man approached her and used a racial slur. (Source: CNN)
  • March 19 – Brooklyn, NY: Oswald Jones, 60, targeted a 26-year-old Asian woman, allegedly yelling "Go back to China" and "You are dirty, get your temperature checked," before attempting to punch her and steal her cellphone. Source: (NY Daily News)
  • March 17 – New York, NY: Jiayang Fan, a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, reported being verbally harassed outside her apartment building by a passerby who repeatedly yelled "Fucking Chinese" at her, and called her a "Chinese bitch.” (Source: Twitter)
  • March 17 – Albuquerque, NM: A local Asian restaurant was vandalized with a spray-painted message that read "Trucha with the corona virus." “Trucha” is slang in Spanish for “beware” or “watch out.”(Source: KOB 4)
  • March 16 – Daly City, CA: An Asian man coughed while shopping at Target and was verbally harassed by other shoppers. (Source: NextShark)
  • March 16 – Vestal, NY: A student at Binghamton University discovered that someone had submitted a racist response to a public Google form she had posted for an event. The submission included anti-Asian terms and referred to the coronavirus. (Source: Pipe Dream)
  • March 16 – New York, NY: An Asian woman was physically assaulted by a woman who accused her of spreading the coronavirus. The alleged perpetrator was arrested and charged with a hate crime. (Source: New York Post)
  • March 16 – Fresno, CA: An Asian American woman was harassed while buying diapers. She was told to "move out of the way" and then referred to using a racial slur. (Source: The Fresno Bee
  • March 15 – Los Angeles, CA: A Filipino-American woman was harassed by a woman on the street who said, “Please don’t give me the virus.” (Source: Twitter)
  • March 15 – New York, NY: A man approached an Asian woman on the subway and said, "You're Chinese, why did you bring Corona to America?"  (Source: Facebook)
  • March 15 – Louisville, CO: Union Jack Liquor changed the message on their marquee to read “Firestone $14.88 Thanks China.” "14/88" combines two popular white supremacist numeric hate symbols. (Source: Colorado Hometown Weekly)
  • March 15 – Davie, FL: An Asian woman who works as a musician received harassing and racist text messages saying that she would not be hired anymore until she surrenders her "Chinese passport and renounce your Chinese citizenship.” (Source: NextShark)
  • March 14 – Midland, TX: A Burmese man and his two children, ages six and two, were attacked and stabbed at a Sam’s Club by a 19-year-old man. The alleged assailant admitted to targeting the family because he believed the family was Chinese and infecting people with coronavirus. The assailant was charged with three counts of attempted capital murder and one count aggravated assault. (Source: The Daily Beast)
  • March 13 – Pasadena, CA: A movie poster for Mulan was defaced with graffiti that depicted a mask over the titular character’s face and the message “Toxic made in Wuhan.” (Source: NBC News
  • March 13 - Miami, FL: (Date approximate) Video shows an elderly Asian woman being chased with a bottle of Purell and a man yelling, "Come here! You need some hand sanitizer. Sanitize your ass!" (Source: NextShark)
  • March 12 – New York, NY: An Asian man was in a restroom at Penn Station when he was verbally harassed by a man who called him a “Chinese fuck” and said, “I hope you die by the coronavirus.” The perpetrator also spat on the victim. (Source: Patch)
  • March 12 - Queens, NY: Police arrested Raoul Ramos and charged him with aggravated harassment as a hate crime after he allegedly harassed and pushed a 47-year-old Asian man who was walking with his 10-year-old son in the Forest Hills neighborhood. Ramos approached the pair and started screaming, "Where the [expletive] is your mask?" He also referred to them as "You fucking Chinese.” (Source: New York Post)
  • March 12 - Albuquerque, NM: (Date approximate) At the University of New Mexico, an international student from China returned to his dorm room in Lobo Village to discover plastic covering his door and a sign that read, "Caution, Keep Out, Quarantine.” (Albuquerque, NM). Source: KOB 4
  • March 12 - Albuquerque, NM: (Date approximate) Kay Bounkeua, Executive Director of NM Asian Family Center, told local news that while walking into her office building someone on the street yelled at her to “go back” to where she came from. (Source: KOB 4)
  • March 12 - Milwaukee, WI: Komeng Yang recounted in a Facebook post that people on the bus avoided him and kept their distance "because of the fear of the virus." After he sneezed because of pollen from a passenger’s flowers, someone allegedly said, "Kick him off the bus." (Source: Facebook)
  • March 11 - Seattle, WA: A student at the University of Washington told reporters that he had been harassed the previous week while commuting on the light rail to school. According to Kim, another passenger yelled at him about Chinese people bringing diseases to the United States. (Source: Crosscut)
  • March 11 - Washington DC: A Cambodian-American man was at a 7-Eleven when a fellow customer called him a "chink" multiple times. (Source: NextShark)
  • March 10 - Charlottesville, VA: The Mainland Student Network at the University of Virginia reported that two Chinese international students were attacked by assailant(s) who threw raw eggs at them from a moving vehicle. (Source: Facebook)
  • March 10 - New York, NY: NYPD arrested a 13-year-old boy and charged him with assault and aggravated harassment as hate crimes after he approached a 59-year-old Asian man from behind and made anti-Asian statements. The boy allegedly told the victim to “go back to his country” and mentioned the coronavirus. He also kicked the victim. (Source: CBS-NY)
  • March 10 - New York, NY: An international student from Korea was assaulted while entering a building on West 34th Street. The suspect asked her, "Where's your (expletive) mask?" She then proceeded to grab the victim by the hair and punch her in the face. The woman allegedly also told the victim, "You've got coronavirus, you Asian (expletive)." NYPD is investigating the assault as a possible bias crime. (Source: ABC-NY)
  • March 10 - New York, NY: Ed Park wrote in The New Yorker magazine that "a young black man" told him "Get the fuck away from me." Park asked the man, "Are you talking to me?" and the man responded: "Yes, you, fucking Chinese motherfucker, don't fucking get me sick." Park is Korean. (Source: The New Yorker)
  • March 9 - San Francisco, CA: A woman told reporters that while walking to the gym she was harassed by a man who shouted expletives about China at her and encouraged a passing bus to "run them over." The man then spat at her. (Source: New York Times)
  • March 9 - Fresno, CA: An Asian man's car was vandalized with the message "Fuck, Asions [sic] and Coronyvirus [sic].” (Source: ABC 30)
  • March 7 - Syracuse, NY: At Syracuse University, a flier with information about preventing the spread of the coronavirus was vandalized with racist language targeting Chinese people. (Source: The Daily Orange)
  • March 7 - New York, NY: A 13-year-old boy spat at a 59-year-old Asian man and allegedly saying Chinese people have COVID-19. The same boy attacked the same man again on March 10 in a similar incident. (Source: CBS-NY)
  • March 6 – Cumberland County, PA: A passerby on campus harassed and hurled racist insults at an Asian-American student at a local college. (Source: Reported to ADL)
  • March 6 - Garden City, CA: Two students at Bolsa Grande High School filmed themselves verbally harassing and mocking Vietnamese-American classmates, yelling "coronavirus" at them during an International Week assembly. (Source: OC Register)
  • March 4 - Brooklyn, NY: Video shows a man on the subway arguing with a fellow passenger, who is Asian, and then spraying Febreze air freshener on the Asian passenger. (Source: ABC-NY)
  • March 1 - New York, NY: An Asian man was standing on the street smoking a cigarette when someone threw a bucket of water on him, resulting in a physical altercation. Source: NextShark
  • Early March – Los Angeles, CA: A woman reported that a man followed her while she was jogging, and shouted that because she is Chinese, she was to blame for bringing the virus to the United States. (Source: Los Angeles Times)
  • Early March – Orange County, CA: It was reported in an op-ed that in early March, an Asian-American fourth grade student’s classmates accused him of having coronavirus. (Source: Los Angeles Times)

February

  • February 27 - Philadelphia, PA: A young man and woman were physically assaulted by a group of juveniles at a SEPTA station in what appears to be a racially motivated anti-Asian attack. (Source: NextShark)
  • February 22 - San Francisco, CA: An elderly Asian man was physically assaulted while collecting recyclables near a housing project. The incident was filmed and shared widely on social media. In the video, one person can be heard saying, "I hate Asians." Dwayne Grayson was arrested on suspicion of robbery, elder abuse and committing a hate crime, as well as a probation violation for an earlier robbery. (Source: San Francisco Chronicle)
  • February 13 - Los Angeles, CA: In the San Fernando Valley, a 16-year-old student, who is of Asian descent, was physically assaulted by classmates due to coronavirus fears. (Source: CBS-Los Angeles)
  • February 12 - Plymouth, IN: Kao Lor and Lee Lor, both of Hmong descent, were traveling through Indiana and tried to get a room at a Super 8 Motel. The Super 8 employee asked Lor if he was Chinese. When Lor asked why he needed to know the employee responded, "Because of the coronavirus going around. And anyone from China, I am told, has to be picked up and quarantined for two weeks.” (Source: WBND)
  • February 5 - Los Angeles, CA: An eighth-grade Asian-American student at Walter Reed Middle School was sent to the nurse's office after he started coughing from choking on water. After the nurse sent him back to class the other students teased him that he had coronavirus. (Source: FOX-Los Angeles)
  • February 2 - New York, NY: An Asian woman was attacked in the subway station for wearing a mask. One witness said she heard a man call the woman, who appeared Asian, a "diseased bitch.” (Source: CNN)
  • February 1 - Los Angeles, CA: An Asian woman was subjected to an anti-Asian xenophobic rant about the coronavirus from another passenger while taking the Metro. The man stated that "Every disease has ever come from China, homie. Everything comes from China because they're fucking disgusting." (Source: Twitter)
  • Early February – Pasadena, CA: Chinese-American actor Tzi Ma reported that in early February a man yelled at him, "You should be quarantined.”  (Source: Good Morning America)

January

  • January 26 – Bellevue, WA: A man’s son, whose mother is Asian, was told to “get away” from a food sample table at a Costco because “he may be from China” (Bellevue, WA). Source: Twitter
  • January – Jersey City, NJ: The NJ Patch reported that in January, a man approached an Asian woman on the street and told her to "Go back to China” and referred to her with an anti-Asian slur. He also spat in her direction. (Source: Patch)