NGO calls for action as racist attacks against Asians on the rise in Australia

Image by Patty Jansen from Pixabay

KUCHING, July 10: Sabah Sarawak Rights Australia New Zealand (SSRANZ) has called on the Australian federal and state governments to act against the rise in racist attacks on Asians.

In an open letter to Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison, SSRANZ president Robert Pei urged Australian federal and state governments to take positive action to tackle the rise in racism and related physical attacks on Asian Australians.

Referring to a news report in the South China Morning Post dated July 7, 2020, Pei claimed that since 2020, there have been 380 reported unprovoked (rise in) attacks on Asians in Australia with the highest number of incidents in New South Wales.

He said the report of increased attacks was also confirmed by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

“This development is also seen as part of a similar wave of anti-Asian attacks in the Western countries related to the Covid-19 blaming and trade war against China,” said Pei in the open letter.

Pei, who is a practising lawyer in Melbourne, also quoted the recent survey of the Asian Australian Alliance, an Australian NGO against racism to substantiate his observations.

Citing the most recent unprovoked attack caught on video where an unidentified white man hit an Asian delivery man in Chinatown Adelaide, Pei said the appalling assault had resulted in outrage among the Chinese community in Australia.

Pei believed that there were many more attacks not reported and condemned such acts as “totally unacceptable and should not be tolerated”.

“It is indisputable and regrettable that the Australian Federal government’s ‘Five Eyes’ political campaign against China is having an extremely negative effect of arousing deep rooted racism among some Australians. This has directly led to the rise in deliberately planned or random attacks on Asians in Australia regardless of whether they are Chinese of not,” said Pei.

He said the Australian Federal Government must show a good example as a world citizen by taking positive action such as conducting long-term media educational campaigns against racism and promote inter-communal understanding and friendship and to relentlessly seek out and charge attackers under federal laws against racism.

“It would be useful to look at revising school history text books which may be based on colonial perceptions of race superiority influencing the thinking of young people.”

He believed that the federal government was able to set aside a budget to fund such campaigns, citing that it had so far diverted $270 billion into military spending “for the prevention of war” at a time when resources were needed to help Australians in difficult times and build the economy on secure foundations.

Pei said that many Asians had migrated to Australia following the renunciation of the White Australia policy in 1973 by the Whitlam Government.

He observed that many Asian migrants were also “refugees” from official race, religion, political and economic discrimination in their home countries and that the rise in Asian emigration had apparently been based on the perception of Australia as a democracy which promoted racial equality and as such, a safe and welcoming place for non-white people to live.

“However, in the last few years, western fears of a rising economically powerful China has led to the revival of the irrational racism of the past which was not laid to rest with the end of the official exclusion of Asian migrants policy.

“In conclusion, I call on the Australian Government to focus on promoting better inter-community relations and also peaceful international relations rather than harming Australian interests by ramping up fears of imaginary wars,” said Pei.—DayakDaily