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Since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, anti-Asian crimes have continued to rise at alarming rates. Report after report indicates spikes in the frequency and severity of these hate crimes, attributing xenophobic language and the spread of COVID-19 misinformation as reasons as to why the crimes occur.

Within the first three months of 2021 alone, crimes against Asians increased by 50% when compared to those reported between March to December 2020. The number is likely to be higher given the number of crimes that go unreported nationwide.

However, hope remains.  As awareness of these crimes is not necessarily decreasing the occurrence of them, new research has found that reporting of anti-Asian crimes has enabled victims to cope with the incidents better. This new research not only highlights the importance of reporting crimes but sheds light on the mental toll the increasing number of anti-Asian hate crimes has had on the AAPI community, NBC News reported. 

While a good majority of crimes throughout the pandemic have gone underreported, the new report gives hope that as individuals continue to feel encouraged to report Asian Americans will cope better.

According to the report, released by Stop AAPI Hate, Brigham and Women's Hospital of Boston and the Asian American Psychological Association, 71.7% of Asian Americans who have experienced racism were more stressed about anti-Asian hate than they were of the global pandemic. Additionally, those who reported incidents of crime were less likely to have race-based traumatic stress. Researchers define race-based traumatic stress as psychological or emotional harm caused by racism, NBC News reported.

The findings were based on the examination of three studies, which investigated the effects of anti-Asian racism on mental health. Of the three studies, one surveyed individuals who had experienced racism and found that 1 in 5 Asian Americans who have experienced racism during the pandemic displayed at least three signs of racial trauma, including depression, intrusive thoughts, anger, hypervigilance, decreased self-esteem, and numbing.

"So often, a part of the AAPI experience is being silenced and invisible. And so many of those things exacerbate the challenges we are facing," Dr. Warren Ng, psychiatry medical director at New York-Presbyterian Hospital said of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He noted that reporting can help a person have a sense of control which is often lost after an incident of hate.

Of the things" that help people manage things that they cannot control is the focus on the things that they can," he said. "It's taking action, whether or not it's reporting to a mechanism."

Ng added that the signs of trauma victims face may stem from a loss of agency, when "you have no control over how you look, how you appear to others."

"At the same time, it's not something you can modify," he added. "Therefore, you feel constantly in stress and are vulnerable to those kinds of experiences."

Ng noted that those who shared that they no longer have signs of racial trauma after reporting likely felt that way because reporting can be connected to having that feeling of agency restored. But while this new research has connected reporting to a feeling of less trauma, the fact remains that most crimes do go underreported.

According to Stop AAPI Hate, while 3,800 anti-hate incidents were reported in the last year, the number is likely to be higher due to the number of those crimes that go unreported. Researchers and advocates have connected a decline in hate crimes reported to both cultural norms and mistrust of officials.  

“There is a sense in this community that we need to survive and move forward,” Joo Han, deputy director of the Asian American Federation said. “And until we have access to services in certain Asian languages, the quality of help is not going to be great all the time. Many don’t trust law enforcement because they haven’t had the best experiences with them. They don’t think they’ll be listened to.”

Fear of retaliation, general law enforcement, and immigration status are among the many factors that deter Asians from reporting crimes, and reporting to agencies like Stop AAPI Hate directly can combat this, Ng said. He noted that giving people the choice of whether they would like to be contacted by the police and how much information will be shared allows for their fears of reporting to be addressed.

Additionally, despite research verifying the mental toll hate crimes and discrimination have had on the community, many members of the AAPI community are reluctant to seek help because of cultural stigmas. According to NBC News, Asian Americans are a third as likely to seek mental health help when compared to their white counterparts. Additionally, while they report fewer mental health conditions than their white counterparts, they are more likely to consider and attempt suicide. According to Ng, cultural stigmas that have created barriers to mental health treatment include the fear of bringing shame to the family or community for having such issues in addition to internalized racism that deters immigrant communities from seeking out resources.  

"There's such an acceptance that 'we're going to be treated this way anyway, so get over it — instead of being bitter, be better,'" Ng said. "It's always a concept of 'we've already accepted that this is our fate, that we don't have it any better. We are not equals.'"

While the norms are changing, addressing issues of mental health still remains a stigma in many AAPI communities.

"It goes against that idea of individualism versus collectivism and whether or not we are here for ourselves" or "are we here representing our families and our community," Ng said. "There's also the cultural issues related to interdependence, where you rely on your family or your close-knit people instead of reaching out outside of your network, because of that sense of idea of interdependence."

But cultural stigmas are not the only thing that deters individuals from seeking help. Resources and treatment are often seen through a Western lens with cultural competency and understanding being nonexistent. Without therapists and resources that address cultural sensitivities or that understand stigmas and norms, it becomes difficult for people to seek help. The different dynamics within cultures in addition to the norms and traditions play an essential part in how many Asian Americans live. Without understanding this, health care professionals will be unable to properly serve the Asian American community. This is why culturally specific advocacy and training is essential to serving minority communities in the U.S.

But having a therapist who is of Asian descent doesn’t solve the problem if they too are not culturally aware, Ng noted.

"If that person isn't aware of their own baggage with regards to their own internalized racism or their own limitations for a social lens, or maybe they grew up in the U.S. and never even thought of themselves as different ... that can really limit someone's experience" of therapy, Ng said. "Just because it's an identity doesn't mean there's an awareness."

A lot of different factors impact the way treatment is given and received in minority communities. Until we are able to adequately train and equip professionals these stigmas and lack of resources that serve the community will continue.  

As research on the importance of hate crime reporting continues, we can only hope that not only do more individuals report crimes but the crimes themselves decrease. Now more than ever, the API community needs our support. Check out this guide on resources and ways to support the AAPI community and our Asian friends. Hate is the real virus and we must end it.

If you are placed in physical danger because of your ethnicity, religion, race, or identity, call the police (dial 911 in the U.S.), or click here to contact your local FBI office. It is the FBI’s job to investigate hate-motivated crimes and threats of violence. You can also report a hate crime to the FBI online using this form. To learn more and to report crimes, go to: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Stop the AAPI Hate, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA, and Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council.

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China hawks propose sanctions against CCP if it doesn’t allow full COVID origins investigation

China hawks in the House and Senate are introducing bills to sanction the Chinese Communist Party if it does not allow a comprehensive investigation into COVID-19’s origins, including full access to the Wuhan labs, as Republicans seek to pressure China amid reluctance from the Biden administration to do the same.

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, introduced the COVID Act of 2021 on Monday, with the companion COVID–19 Origins Accountability Act of 2021 being introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican, on Tuesday, and the duo proposed sanctions against the Chinese government and Chinese scientists if an independent and international investigative team is not allowed to examine the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other Chinese labs.

“The Chinese Communist Party does not want a full, forensic investigation into the origins of COVID-19. If they did, it would have happened at some point during the last 18 months,” Rubio said in a statement. “Instead of hoping the Chinese authorities will suddenly cooperate, the United States needs to compel them to cooperate. One obvious step in that direction is to cut off Federal funding for research conducted with these state-run Chinese entities. Additionally, we must impose sanctions against the leadership of these entities and exact a personal cost. It is time for the U.S. to take action and lead an international response that settles for nothing less than through a full forensic investigation of the Wuhan labs.”

The U.S. and its allies are largely pinning hopes for a second COVID-19 origins investigation in China on the World Health Organization, despite the WHO-China joint study team’s visit to Wuhan earlier this year that essentially dismissed the lab leak hypothesis being widely considered a failure. Meeting minutes from discussions between Wuhan lab scientists and the WHO-China team reveal lab leak concerns were referred to as “conspiracy theories.”

So far, the Biden administration has declined to lay out any specific punishment if China continues to block an independent investigation into how the pandemic began.


Gallagher told the Washington Examiner: “The CCP has lied repeatedly about the origins of this pandemic, blocked access to important records from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and corrupted the World Health Organization. This is unacceptable. The world deserves answers so as to prevent something like this from ever happening again. The United States must hold the CCP accountable through sanctions on the Chinese Academy of Sciences and by cutting off federal support and cooperation with Chinese scientists.”

The new House bill language states that “if, by not later than the date that is 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President is unable to certify that the Government of the People’s Republic of China has allowed a transparent international forensic investigation of suspect laboratories in Wuhan to commence, including of the Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences,” then President Joe Biden “shall” impose sanctions “with respect to individuals employed by or professionally affiliated with the state-run CAS, including its more than 100 affiliated institutes and laboratories, 13 local branches, 2 universities, and more than 430 science and technology enterprises based in the People’s Republic of China across 11 industries that were created by CAS or founded with CAS investment.”

If China fails to cooperate, the bill would also direct the president to “prohibit Federal funding for any joint research or other collaborative projects between United States-based researchers and CAS researchers across all academic fields” and “prohibit United States-based researchers and institutions that receive Federal funding from engaging in collaborative projects involving gain-of-function research on viruses with individuals or institutions” based in China.

During a press conference in Geneva following a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden did not directly answer media questions about whether he would press Chinese President Xi Jinping on Chinese blocks on the origin investigations.

Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN over the weekend: "We are not, at this point, going to issue threats or ultimatums.” Sullivan told Fox News that the goal was to get China to face a “stark choice — either they will allow, in a responsible way, investigators in to do the real work of figuring out where this came from, or they will face isolation in the international community.”

The newly proposed law states that the investigation must be one that is “objective, data-driven, inclusive of broad expertise, subject to independent oversight, and properly managed to exclude individuals with conflicts of interest.” The House bill also lays out a long list of requirements, including that “relevant research laboratories and hospitals open their records to examination by the investigative team and grant the investigative team unfettered access to any and all facilities and other sites of interest, and to any and all forms of epidemiological or virological data of interest, including serological records pertaining to the earliest confirmed or suspected cases of COVID–19, or cases of similar illnesses that may have been misdiagnosed, which appeared in and around Wuhan in the fall and winter of 2019,” and “a full forensic investigation” of the Wuhan lab.

The National Institutes of Health’s RePORTER website said the agency provided $15.2 million to Peter Daszak’s New York-based EcoHealth Alliance over the years, with $3.74 million toward understanding bat coronavirus emergence. Daszak, a key member of the WHO-China joint study team earlier this year, maintained a long working relationship with Wuhan lab “bat lady” Shi Zhengli, sending at least $600,000 in NIH funding for bat coronavirus research.

Daszak has criticized the Biden administration for skepticism of the WHO’s findings, defended China on Communist Party-linked outlets, and recently recused himself from the Lancet’s COVID-19 origins investigation.

The new bill calls for full access to “all laboratory logs and notebooks” kept by Shi and other Wuhan lab researchers, to “the full range of virus cultures, isolates, genetic sequences, databases, and patient specimens stored at these facilities as well as all chimeric synthetic viruses” at the Wuhan labs, to the “database of approximately 22,000 samples and virus sequences, including 15,000 taken from bats, which was previously available to the public but taken offline” in September 2019, to “all research related to the 293 bat coronaviruses” reportedly isolated by Shi and the Wuhan lab team, to all of the “security logs, surveillance video footage, audio recordings, and electronic logs of employees entering and leaving” the Wuhan lab, and to “the abandoned copper mine in Mojiang Hani Autonomous County in Yunnan province, where Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers are known to have collected bat virus specimens.”

The proposed law would also require that the Wuhan lab “discloses the content of all classified and unpublished studies that the Institute reportedly conducted with the People’s Liberation Army if such studies involved gain-of-function research,” as well as calling for the investigative team to be able to “test all laboratory personnel for antibodies and other serological indicators of past infection of COVID–19.”

A State Department fact sheet released in January contended Wuhan lab researchers “conducted experiments involving RaTG13, the bat coronavirus identified by the WIV in January 2020 as its closest sample to SARS-CoV-2 (96.2% similar)” and that the lab “has a published record of conducting ‘gain-of-function’ research to engineer chimeric viruses.” The fact sheet also asserted the lab “engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military” and that lab workers became sick with coronavirus-like symptoms in autumn 2019.


The new bill says that the COVID-19 origins investigation team should be comprised of experts chosen by the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, and Japan and that “individuals who have previously ruled out the possibility of either zoonotic transmission or a laboratory leak are disqualified from participation.” The proposed law says that the Chinese government “may appoint Chinese experts to accompany and advise the team as it conducts its work” in China but that it has “no authority to dictate the selection of team members and cannot obstruct” the investigation.

The U.S. intelligence community said at least one of its 18 agencies is leaning toward the lab leak hypothesis, and Biden ordered all of the spy agencies to “redouble” their investigative efforts last month.

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