Guangdong Man Latest Victim of Asian Hate Crime in US

By Joshua Cawthorpe, April 27, 2021

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A Guangdong man is the latest victim of rising anti-Asian sentiment in the US. 

The 61-year-old pastry chef, surnamed Ma, was beaten into a coma in New York City’s East Harlem on April 23, according to China Daily

Video of the attack shows a man repeatedly stomping on Ma’s head.

Footage of the attack was released by the New York Police Department (NYPD). The video can be seen below – viewer discretion is advised (VPN off):

After the NYPD released photos of the suspect, he was later identified by members of the community. Jarrod Powell, 49, was arrested on Monday and charged with Ma's assault as attempted murder and committing a hate crime, according to China Daily. Powell is currently experiencing homelessness and has a long and violent criminal record.

Ma and his wife had moved to New York a couple of years ago to seek better job opportunities. The couple has two children who still live in China. 

After losing his job in September due to the pandemic and resulting closure of restaurants, Ma had resorted to collecting and recycling bottles. He was attacked while out searching for recyclables.

Several GoFundMe campaigns have been started, however without the request or involvement of Ma’s family. One of which has already raised over USD488,000 to help with medical expenses.

The FBI warned of an expected increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans at the beginning of the global pandemic in early 2020. 

From March 2020 to February 2021, advocacy group Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Hate said it received more than 3,700 reports of racist harassment. In New York City, the frequency of reports of anti-Asian hate is nine times higher than in previous years, as reported by the BBC.

Former US President Donald Trump has been criticized for repeatedly blaming China for the impact of the pandemic, and referring to it with derogatory terms like ‘kung flu’ and ‘the China virus.’ 

According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Asian posts on Twitter rose 85% in the hours after Trump announced that he had contracted COVID-19.

Last month, a 21-year-old man murdered eight people in a racially motivated attack at three Georgia spas. He had been posting racist tirades on the internet and voicing anti-China rhetoric, as reported by CGTN.

On April 8, a Brooklyn man was arrested for three separate attacks on Asians, one of whom was a 77-year-old man.

Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono spearheaded a bill to address rising anti-Asian hate crimes. Image via @The Hill/Twitter

After taking office in January, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order to combat racism and xenophobia. The memorandum specifically instructed government agencies to ensure that language used to convey information about the pandemic could not be construed to incite anti-Asian sentiment.

On April 22, the US Senate voted 94 to 1 in favor of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which aims to expedite the investigation and prosecution of COVID-19-related hate crimes.

[Cover image via @Ron T. Kim/Twitter]

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