People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Leaders of the Chinese-Canadian community say the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across Vancouver and North America suggests the population has not been accepted as a part of the wider society.

The comments came Thursday during a roundtable discussion on anti-Asian hate crimes hosted by the Vancouver Police Board.

Carol Lee, chair of the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation, said people of Asian heritage are excluded from areas of power in the city.

“The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America, even if we have been here for generations,” she said. “Anti-Asian racism has always been here.”

Lee said COVID-19 may have played a role in the rise of racist incidents, but added the tension has been around longer than the pandemic.

Vancouver police reported a 717 per cent rise in anti-Asian hate crime in 2020 compared with 2019. The majority of incidents occurred last May.

The city has recorded 15 such incidents since the start of this year.

Deputy chief Howard Chow said he wants to reassure the larger Asian community that police are prioritizing investigating the incidents.

He also urged citizens to intervene when they see racist incidents occurring.

“Sometimes we as police leaders are reluctant to say this but intervene,” he said. “If you think it’s safe to do so, if you’re comfortable with it, intervene.”

Police in B.C. do not have the ability to recommend hate crimes charges under the Criminal Code. It is a sentencing provision that is applied by the courts if a person is convicted of a Criminal Code offence.

Supt. Howard Tran said the rise in hate crimes has led to his elderly parents being scared to leave their home.

“They’re less concerned about contracting COVID when they walk about than being assaulted,” Tran said. “It’s heartbreaking that my parents can’t go out and walk without the fear of being assaulted.”

He said 13 of the 98 cases reported last year have resulted in criminal charges being forwarded to the Crown.

Some of those who spoke during the panel discussion shared their belief that the number of hate crimes is much higher than figures show, with many incidents going unreported.

Others spoke of their frustration that despite growing awareness, no discernible action has been taken.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he would work to ensure the incidents are treated with the utmost priority moving forward.

Queenie Choo, CEO of United Chinese Community Enrichment Services Society, said there needs to be a long-term, sustainable funding approach for anti-racism initiatives.

Choo, who was also one of the panellists on the police department’s roundtable discussion Thursday, said recent international media reports dubbing Vancouver as the capital of anti-Asian hate crime in North America is “appalling.”

“We need to go further and look at tangible outcomes so we can see a change in our community,” she said in an interview.

More transparency is needed on how hate crimes are prosecuted as well as how many people are being sentenced for those crimes, Choo added.

Without those measurements, it’s hard to gauge whether anti-hate crime initiatives are a success, she said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Hate crimesracismVancouver

Just Posted

Waneta Manor is located on Laburnum Drive in Trail. Photo: Sheri Regnier
Senior dies as Trail tenants continue wait for broken elevator to be fixed

The elevator in Waneta Manor has been out of commission since February

Work has begun on the $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp. File photo
Work begins on Slocan Valley fibre-optic line

The $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line runs from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Jade Osecki leading a Fridays for Future climate march in Nelson in 2020. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Grade 12 student Jade Osecki wins Suzy Hamilton Award

Carolyn Schramm was also honoured in this year’s environmental award for West Kootenay women

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

A 50-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle Tuesday, June 15, crashing through a West Vancouver school fence that surrounds playing children. (West Vancouver Police)
Driver ticketed for speeding near B.C. school crashes into playground fence days later

‘It’s an absolute miracle that nobody was injured,’ says Const. Kevin Goodmurphy

Dr. Réka Gustafson, who is British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer, speaks during a news conference in Vancouver on April 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. public health officials prepare to manage COVID-19 differently in the future

Flu-like? Health officials anticipate shift from pandemic to communicable disease control strategies

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Camper the dog was found Wednesday night by someone walking their own dog along Hollywood Crescent. She had gone missing after a violent attack on June 11. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Camper the dog found safe after fleeing violent van attack in Victoria

Young dog was missing for almost a week after incident

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

Most Read