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San Antonio passes resolution declaring the term ‘Chinese virus’ hate speech

The term Chinese virus has been labelled hate speech by San Antonio’s city council.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg, who put forward the now-passed resolution, blamed the use of the terms Chinese virus and Kung Fu virus for a rise in hate speech during the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Texas city will now ask its citizens to ‘report any such antisemitic, discriminatory or racist incidents to the proper authorities for investigation’, according to San Antonio’s WOAI-TV.

US senator Ted Cruz blasted the decision as ‘nuts’. He added that the council were acting like ‘a lefty college faculty lounge’.

In a tweet on Thursday he wrote: ‘This is NUTS. SA City Council behaving like a lefty college faculty lounge, triggered by Chick-fil-A & the words “Wuhan virus”.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg, who put forward the now-passed resolution, blamed the use of the terms Chinese virus and Kung Fu virus for a rise in hate speech during the course of the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured, San Antonio city council in session

‘If they want to investigate someone, start with NYT & CNN who both repeatedly (and rightly) referred to it as ‘the Chinese coronavirus.’  

It comes after US president Donald Trump sparked criticism by referring to Covid-19 as the Chinese virus. Trump responded to complaints by saying he just meant the term geographically and would stop if it bothered Asian-Americans.

‘It’s not racist at all,’ Trump said during one press conference after a reporter asked why he kept using the term. He added: ‘It comes from China, that’s why.’ 

Explaining the decision, Mayor Nirenberg revealed ‘there has been a rise in hate speech throughout the course of this pandemic’.

He said: ‘Our efforts must meet the indiscriminate nature of COVID-19 with empathy and compassion for all our neighbors.’  

City councilors voted 11-0 in favor of the resolution.

One Chinese restaurant, the Golden Star in the city’s downtown area, has been hit particularly badly by racist abuse, according to Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales.

US senator Ted Cruz (pictured on January 23) has slammed the city council's decision to stop use of the term, adding that the council were acting like 'a lefty college faculty lounge'

US senator Ted Cruz (pictured on January 23) has slammed the city council’s decision to stop use of the term, adding that the council were acting like ‘a lefty college faculty lounge’

She said: ‘It’s been in operation for almost 90 years. They have been the victims of hate speech and hate crimes, with vandalism and that sort of thing on their property.’ 

Asian-Americans have reported 650 racist attacks over the course of a week in March, according to online reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate.

‘The data from our reporting center – both the numbers and the self-reported narratives – clearly reveal that Asian Americans are being racially profiled as threatening, disease-carriers,’ said Russell Jeung, Ph.D., chair and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University.

‘Not only are Chinese Americans blamed and mistreated, but Asian Americans of other ethnic backgrounds are also.’

Senator Cruz called the decision to label the term Chinese virus as 'nuts' as he blasted the San Antonio city council

Senator Cruz called the decision to label the term Chinese virus as ‘nuts’ as he blasted the San Antonio city council 

Anyone in the city who faces racism or hate speech is encouraged to 'report any incidents to the proper authorities for investigation'

Anyone in the city who faces racism or hate speech is encouraged to ‘report any incidents to the proper authorities for investigation’

As of Wednesday there were 33,912 positive coronavirus cases in Texas and 925 people in the state had died of the disease

As of Wednesday there were 33,912 positive coronavirus cases in Texas and 925 people in the state had died of the disease

Reports range from attackers spitting and coughing over their victims, to being refused rides in Ubers or Lyfts and being told to leave shops.

As of Wednesday there were 33,912 positive coronavirus cases in Texas and 925 people in the state had died of the disease. 

It comes after Texas Governor Greg Abbott was recorded admitting that reopening Texas amid the coronavirus pandemic will lead to more infections.

Abbott announced in a media briefing last week that the state would ‘strategically’ allow businesses such as malls, movie theaters and restaurants to run at 25 per cent capacity and said ‘it’s only logical to see there would be an increase in the number of people that test positive’.

But in a Friday call with lawmakers Abbott directly linked the reopening to the spread of COVID-19, while stating that his goal was not to eliminate the disease but only get the number of reported cases reduced.

‘How do we know reopening businesses won’t result in faster spread of more cases of COVID-19?’ Abbott is heard asking in the audio obtained by The Daily Beast. 

‘Listen, the fact of the matter is pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that whenever you have a reopening—whether you want to call it a reopening of businesses or of just a reopening of society—in the aftermath of something like this, it actually will lead to an increase and spread. It’s almost ipso facto.’

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced his plan to reopen the state's economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, Tuesday, May 5

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced his plan to reopen the state’s economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, Tuesday, May 5

Malls reopened Tuesday with increased health and safety measures in place. Texas' stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic expired and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott eased restrictions on many businesses

Malls reopened Tuesday with increased health and safety measures in place. Texas’ stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic expired and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott eased restrictions on many businesses

The authenticity of the conversation, first reported by The Quorum Report, with members of the state legislature and Congress was confirmed by the governor’s spokesperson.

In the recording Abbott goes on to admit that he is not aiming to eradicate the virus in the state and knows that allowing people to gather again will cause the infection rate to spike.

‘The more that you have people out there, the greater the possibility is for transmission,’ Abbott continued. ‘The goal never has been to get transmission down to zero and never can be to keep transmission down to zero.’

He added: ‘There’s always going to be, with a rapidly transmittable disease like this, there will always be a level of transmission. And even when you have an immunization come out, there will be a transmission rate for COVID-19.’

Texas shutdown March 20 and from Friday Abbott will allow beauty salons to reopen. Next Friday gyms can reopen.

Despite earlier stating that the actual infection rate is likely to increase, Abbott stated that his priority was to see a decrease in the number of people who test positive.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is briefed backstage before entering a press conference announcing Abbott's plan to reopen the state's economy amid the coronavirus pandemic

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is briefed backstage before entering a press conference announcing Abbott’s plan to reopen the state’s economy amid the coronavirus pandemic

Beachgoers enjoy a day of sunshine at Galveston Beach on May 2, in Galveston, Texas after beaches opened on May 1

Beachgoers enjoy a day of sunshine at Galveston Beach on May 2, in Galveston, Texas after beaches opened on May 1

Protesters called for an end to the lockdown outside the Texas State Capital building on April 18 in Austin

Protesters called for an end to the lockdown outside the Texas State Capital building on April 18 in Austin

‘The goal is to reopen using strategies that are proven strategies that can continue to contain the spread of COVID-19,’ Abbott explained. ‘These are strategies that have been proven effective in the state of Texas for the past month and a half.

‘This may come up in answer to a future question, but the main thing that we look for—and this is the primary number that I’ve seen doctors and epidemiologists use—is that what we want to see is a reduction in the percentage of people who test positive.

‘If we can continue to achieve that, that means that we have COVID-19 under the control that we need. And that’s what we’re looking to achieve.’ 

Abbott has focused on having a thousand more people recovered than active cases. In a media briefing Tuesday he said the trend in more recoveries than active cases was going for the fourth day in a row.

Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia said in a statement: ‘Republicans are not here to protect you or your family. Governor Abbott finally admitted that prematurely opening Texas is going to lead to more cases and more deaths. Republicans are putting our families’ lives at risk so their billionaire donors can get richer. What Texas Republicans say in public yet again doesn’t match what they say in private.

Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia

Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia

‘It is absolutely shameful Governor Abbott won’t face the press, take the tough questions, and admit the deadly risks of his decisions. He knew people would die after reopening Texas and now he needs to own it.’

Progress Texas responded in a statement: ‘Gov. Abbott is trying to normalize an increase in cases to make people think the illnesses and deaths are not surprising. He wants to say this isn’t news. Really? 

‘There is no bigger news than a government leader confessing to us that there will be an increase in illnesses and deaths from his actions. Texans are concerned for their families, neighbors, and communities, yet Gov. Abbott plows ahead while following orders from Donald Trump.’

A representative for Abbott said the governor has maintained his stance from the audio since the beginning, adding that ‘as we begin to open up, we will see flare ups, whether we open now or three months from now’. 

The spokesperson, John Wittman added: ‘The key is ensuring we are able to contain that spread, which is where contact tracing comes into play.’

However in past interviews Abbott had claimed the increase in infection rate would be because of increased testing.

In one interview Abbott said that ‘when you begin to reopen, there can be spikes or increases in those who test positive for COVID-19’. ‘This is nothing to be worried about,’ he said. ‘In part, because we will be doing far more testing in the future than we have in the past and that alone will identify more people testing positive.’

In Texas Wednesday morning there were 33,912 coronavirus cases and 925 deaths.

Dallas and Harris–Houston counties were worst affected with more than 4,000 cases and Harris-non-Houston county had more than 3,000 cases.

It was closely followed by Tarrant, Bexar, Fort Bend and El Paso counties which all had more than one or two thousand cases.

The reopenings come after protests from people claiming the lockdowns are a violation of their rights.

Covid-19 has unleashed a ‘tsunami of hate’ with a surge in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and attacks on Muslims, UN chief warns 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday the coronavirus pandemic keeps unleashing ‘a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering’ and appealed for ‘an all-out effort to end hate speech globally.’

Guterres said ‘anti-foreigner sentiment has surged online and in the streets, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have spread, and COVID-19-related anti-Muslim attacks have occurred.’

The UN chief said migrants and refugees ‘have been vilified as a source of the virus – and then denied access to medical treatment.’

Antonio Guterres, chief of the UN, has urged world leaders to 'immunize our societies against the virus of hate' which he believes is worsening amid coronavirus

Antonio Guterres, chief of the UN, has urged world leaders to ‘immunize our societies against the virus of hate’ which he believes is worsening amid coronavirus

‘With older persons among the most vulnerable, contemptible memes have emerged suggesting they are also the most expendable,’ he said. ‘And journalists, whistleblowers, health professionals, aid workers and human rights defenders are being targeted simply for doing their jobs.’

Guterres called on political leaders to show solidarity with all people, on educational institutions to focus on ‘digital literacy’ at a time when ‘extremists are seeking to prey on captive and potentially despairing audiences.’

He called on the media, especially social media, to ‘remove racist, misogynist and other harmful content,’ on civil society to strengthen their outreach to vulnerable people, and on religious figures to serve as ‘models of mutual respect.’

‘And I ask everyone, everywhere, to stand up against hate, treat each other with dignity and take every opportunity to spread kindness,’ Guterres said.

The secretary-general stressed that COVID-19 ‘does not care who we are, where we live, what we believe or about any other distinction.’

Guterres warned that minorities including Muslim migrants and Jewish people are being scapegoated over coronavirus with hate incidents increasing (file image, a woman and her child at a migrant camp in Greece)

Guterres warned that minorities including Muslim migrants and Jewish people are being scapegoated over coronavirus with hate incidents increasing (file image, a woman and her child at a migrant camp in Greece)

His global appeal to address and counter COVID-19-related hate speech follows his April 23 message calling the coronarivus pandemic ‘a human crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis.’

Guterres said then that the pandemic has seen ‘disproportionate effects on certain communities, the rise of hate speech, the targeting of vulnerable groups, and the risks of heavy-handed security responses undermining the health response.’

With ‘rising ethno-nationalism, populism, authoritarianism and a push back against human rights in some countries, the crisis can provide a pretext to adopt repressive measures for purposes unrelated to the pandemic,’ he warned.

In February, Guterres issued a call to action to countries, businesses and people to help renew and revive human rights across the globe, laying out a seven-point plan amid concerns about climate change, conflict and repression. 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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