Date: January 30, 2020
By: Stanley Widianto, Khanh VU
JAKARTA/HANOI (Reuters) – The coronavirus outbreak has stoked a wave of anti-China sentiment around the globe, from shops barring entry to Chinese tourists, online vitriol mocking the country’s exotic meat trade and surprise health checks on foreign workers.
The virus, which originated in China, has spread to more than a dozen countries, many of them in Southeast Asia which has sensitive relations with China amid concerns about Beijing’s vast infrastructure spending and political clout in the region and sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea.
Authorities and schools in Toronto, Canada, were moved to warn against discrimination towards Chinese Canadians, while in Europe there was anecdotal evidence of Chinese residents facing prejudice in the street, and hostile newspaper headlines.
“Orientalist assumptions plus political distrust plus health concerns are a pretty powerful combination,” said Charlotte Setijadi, and anthropologist who teaches at Singapore Management University.
Chinese authorities have said the virus emerged from a market selling illegally traded wildlife, giving rise to widespread social media mocking of China’s demand for exotic delicacies and ingredients for traditional medicine. [FULL STORY]