Flat White

Who are the real corona racists?

17 April 2020

5:00 AM

17 April 2020

5:00 AM

The threat of coronavirus has Australian officials inventing new and contradictory authoritarian laws daily — and they’re backed by the police power to enforce them, in a manner similar to life under the Chinese Communist Party. One standout difference to the CCP though, is dealing with racism: China flames the roaring fire, while Australia focuses on finding the pilot light.

CCP propaganda: what they allow (and don’t allow) on social media, has spread fear among citizens that foreigners are bringing the disease from overseas, which has flamed racial bias.

In China vendors have now reopened and expats are experiencing obvious and systemic racism in this authoritarian country. While our police now use number plate technology, expats in China, like Chinese citizens, have already obtained unique Orwellian-style smartphone codes. These display red, yellow or green: contaminated, unknown or not contaminated, respectively. People are issued with a status and location known to police, determining whether or not they are allowed in public spaces. But despite having the green code, expats have filmed officials preventing them from shopping for items such as face masks, while Chinese nationals shop freely. One such film shows a riot-shield-clad guard summoned by an official to maintain order when an expat is waved on from entering a mall and is calmly trying to reason with the official while nationals file through the checkpoint. Officials and vendors openly explain: it’s because they are foreigners:

  • A sign in a Chinese gym reads “Because of overseas epidemic, foreign friends will be not abled [sic] to exercise…”

  • One expat filmed her Chinese husband and daughter dining from the restaurant patio as she ate from a metal bowl across the glassed perimeter.
  • One large restaurant in Shenyang proudly displays a huge banner that translates “We warmly congratulate the spread of the virus in America and hope the plague lasts forever in Japan.”
  • While racism in China is strong, it’s not curtailed or admonished in any way. In contrast, examples in Australian media depicting systemic Australian racism are common, nihilistic and lack scrutiny.


The Australian Human Rights Commission told the ABC they’re seeing the highest monthly number of racial discrimination reports this financial year, with roughly one in four related to COVID-19. This means six COVID-19-related reports per month — in a country of nearly 25 million people – suffering due to a virus that escaped Wuhan, China. More Australians have died from this virus, than reports logged.

The ABC goes on to report on an incident where a Chinese international student claimed a man walked past her and shouted “Coronavirus!” She reported this to AHRC. That student was at a tram stop with strangers and assumed he shouted at her because, we’re told, she was the only one wearing a mask.

There are many who would argue that Australians are all deeply and even unconsciously racist. Perhaps a more accurate picture can be painted via comparison with other nations. As a society we seem to be more interested in creating incidents, where they may not even exist, than accurately assessing the degree to which we have a problem.

Some of our recent anger comes from hindsight. Chinese profiteers abroad – ‘gaijou’ (think baby formula syndicates) fleeced our shelves of essential products and sold them for profit. These are products we now need; products that expats in China cannot access. One gaijou in America celebrated her success by stating “not leaving one facemask for the Americans” back in late January.

While the CCP incites racism, our society takes reasonable frustrations and exaggerates them. While vendors in China prohibit foreigners, we take care of them in quarantine; usher them safely home; and find creative ways to allow them to continue their studies abroad. Why? Because we’re not racist to the core and there would be justified societal outrage if we did any differently.

Sanctioning the halt of Australia’s economy has been a drastic response. Having to borrow many billions of dollars because the CCP and World Health Organization participated in cover up is unforgivable. Seeing the business you’ve built up from the ground, crumble in weeks, is mortifying. Heavy fines for vague laws, to people who’ve just become unemployed, is cruel. Telling us that we can’t go gold panning or eat a simple kebab is authoritarian. Edging ever closer to the CCP, even if for a short time, is chilling.

Perceiving racism in Australia and not in China, shows a lack of wisdom on a global level.

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