Preventing and Tackling Anti-Chinese and Anti-East Asian Racism
We are proud that since the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen our staff and students come together to support each other and keep each other safe.
Since January 2020, there has been a significant national increase in incidents of racially motivated hate towards Chinese, East-Asian, and South-East Asian people. This has not been the case at King’s.
As a world-leading university dedicated to education, research and service excellence, addressing issues racial inequality and racism are central to the University’s vision. .
Staff and students at King’s help to foster safe, respectful, and supportive campuses and online spaces to build an inclusive community for all. Our mission is to ensure that our students receive the highest quality education and that they, and our staff, are supported to thrive while serving society and making the world a better place.
One way to continue to build inclusive spaces and prevent incidents of racism, including microaggressions and indirect discrimination, is through education and peer support.
No ethnic group is responsible for coronavirus or the spread of the virus. It is encouraged that anyone who experiences or witnesses racist, xenophobic, abuse, or hateful treatment related to coronavirus or otherwise should seek support and report it, inside or outside of King’s.
Chinese and East Asian Staff and Students
Out of the staff and students who declared their ethnicity in 2018/2019, approximately 3% of staff and 2% of students identified themselves as Chinese. Another 2% of staff and 4% of students identified as ‘Asian Other’.
What is Sinophobia?
Anti-Chinese racism or Sinophobia is described as fear or dislike of China, or Chinese people, their language or culture. Sinophobia or anti-Chinese sentiment is a type of racism that affects Chinese people and those who are perceived to be Chinese.
In the UK, the racist oversimplification of Chinese culture and objectification of Chinese people can increase the number of people who are perceived to be Chinese. As a result, Sinophobia can also impact people from countries across East and South East Asia.
A June 2020 YouGov poll showed that 79% of Black respondents and 70% of Chinese respondents thought that racism still existed in the UK today, with nearly two in three saying that they are treated differently because of their ethnicity.
People from ethnic Chinese backgrounds were also more likely than any other minority group both to report hearing someone imitate their accent or make assumptions about their behaviour based on their ethnicity.
What does Anti-Chinese racism look like?
Anti-Chinese racism may look like:
Avoidance of an individual based on their perceived ethnicity
Making negative assumptions about a person’s behaviour because of their perceived ethnicity
Stereotyping, oversimplification, and generalisation of and individual’s identity, culture, or ethnicity
Lack of support from teaching staff, colleagues, or peers
Indirect comments discussing China or East Asia, messages, or emails
‘Jokes’ or the spreading of conspiracy theories
This list is non-exhaustive. Any staff member or student who has concerns or has been upset by the behaviour of someone at King’s is encouraged to report it.
Face Coverings and Anti-East Asian Racism
At King’s, everyone, unless exempt, wears a face-covering inside our buildings including in teaching spaces and common areas. Wearing a face covering helps us to protect others from the virus.
Outside of King’s, the wearing of face coverings for infection protection is much more common in some cultures and jurisdictions, as well as for those who may be immunocompromised, and is not an indicator that that person is themselves infectious.
People of East-Asian heritage may feel concerned that they will be in the minority if they choose to comply with the expectation to wear a face covering, or that they will be subject to harassment or discrimination for doing so. Wearing a face covering can help to normalise them for others.
Reporting and Seeking Support
Our Dignity at King’s webpages are designed to provide information on reporting incidents of bullying, harassment, racism, and discrimination and where to seek support.
It is common for staff and students who are subjected to or in fear of, racism, xenophobia, hate or discrimination to experience feelings of sadness, isolation, or loneliness. These feelings can be worsened for those who are international and living away from their home country, possibly for the first time, and are likely to be increased whilst maintaining social distancing measures.
In addition to wellbeing support services, connecting with other staff and students can be a great way to combat these feelings.
The King’s Race Equality Network (REN) promotes and advances race equality at King's. It seeks to provide networking opportunities and support both the personal and professional development of all members. As a network, REN aims to create a space for identifying and tackling cultural & diversity issues around university policies and practices.
KCLSU Wellbeing offers a Wellbeing Hub for activities, resources and events to boost wellbeing along with one-to-one and group Peer Support for mental health and wellbeing support in safe, student-only spaces.
There are also around 300 societies and activity groups, including the Association of British and Chinese University Students, Chinese Society and the Chinese Students and Scholars Association King’s.
KCLSU Networks are student communities who exist to connect us, highlight current issues, and empower us to act collectively to bring about change and make a difference. You may be interested in the People of Colour network, or the International Students’ network.
With thanks to
We would like to thank the staff and students who have supported the development of this work for their time, insight, and feedback:
Dr Shuangyu Li PhD, SFHEA - Senior Lecturer in Clinical Communication & Cultural Competence
Dr Victor Fan, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, representing King’s Race Equality Network
Jonathan Lam, President of the Association of British and Chinese Students
Lucy Wileman Kyaw, Communications Officer, School of Global Affairs
Professor Kerry Brown, Director, Lau China Institute