The Australian community has rallied behind Jackson’s family over the racist graffiti. (Supplied)
A Chinese-Australian family whose home was targeted in a coronavirus-related act of vandalism has received an outpouring of support from neighbours, celebrities and fellow Australians online.
- Support is flowing in for the family who suffered racist attacks two days in a row
- Prominent Asian-Australians condemned the ‘abhorrent’ behaviour
- The Chinese embassy urged the Australian Government to be firm against racism
Australian permanent resident Jackson, who requested to not disclose his surname, spoke out on Wednesday after his Knoxfield home, in Melbourne’s east, was targeted by vandals for two consecutive nights.
Jackson, who emigrated from China 10 years ago, told the ABC he was offered help from neighbours to clean up a racist slur that was spray-painted on his garage earlier this week.
While Jackson said he had never previously experienced racist attacks in Australia, he admitted having a rock thrown at his window made him “fearful”.
He told the ABC he was, like many Chinese-Australians, “an innocent victim of geopolitical conflicts between world powers”.
He added that his family “wasn’t politically active and did not want to support or oppose anyone”.
In the time since the attack, he said he was grateful for the outpouring of support from the local community and politicians, which has helped calm his nerves.
“I need time and space for myself to heal,” he said.
“I don’t have much family here to help me … [but] at least I still have a few good friends around me.”
Jackson said he believes mainstream society in Australia is kind and has a sense of justice, but he is still worried about the safety of his one-year-old child and wife.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge and Chinese-Australian Liberal MP Gladys Liu have all condemned the attack.
The Chinese Embassy in Australia on Wednesday also labelled the attacks “discriminatory and violent”, and urged Australian authorities to be firm in its stance against discrimination and racism.
“In the fight against the epidemic, people should unite, co-operate and help each other regardless of race, nationality, occupation and culture,” the embassy wrote.
“Any discriminatory words and deeds that incite or promote prejudice and opposition are against human conscience and run counter to Australia’s multiculturalism.”
Victoria Police told the ABC they were investigating two incidents of criminal damage.
Chinese-Australians pen open letter denouncing racism
Prominent Chinese-Australians have penned an open later calling for an end to racial abuse towards Asian-Australians. (Supplied)
Jackson’s story has been shared by thousands of Australians on social media, with many condemning racist behaviours towards Chinese-Australians.
“This virus is bringing out the best and the worst of people … I’m so sorry people have to deal with this,” Facebook user Marcia Wood wrote.
Prominent Chinese-Australians including celebrity chef Adam Liaw, author Cindy Pan and former Australian of the Year John Yu, among others, have penned an open letter expressing their concerns about rising racial abuse towards Asian-Australians.
@adamliaw The extreme escalation in racist violence against Asian Australians is right now as bad as it has ever been in my lifetime. Our country’s values and principles are being tested. #unityoverfear
“Chinese and other Asian-Australians have been in Australia since the 1800s. They have helped to build this nation, fought for Australia in both world wars and are deeply loyal citizens,” the letter read.
“As we confront the COVID-19 pandemic, national unity is critical to our defence and recovery.”
Jason Yat-Sen Li, President of the Chinese Australian Forum, told the ABC, “the abhorrent behaviour has no place in modern Australia”.
“It is completely against our values and must be stopped before it becomes more widespread or violent,” he said.
“No matter what you think of the [People’s Republic of China] or [the Chinese Communist Party], we must not take that out on Chinese-Australians.
“They deserve our trust as Australian citizens and deserve to feel at home in their own country.”
‘There are no more excuses for not calling out racism’
Numerous people online have spoken up about their experiences of racism in Australia, while others have denounced the attacks.
A Change.org petition denouncing racist attacks on Asian-Australians with the hashtag #UnityOverFear on Thursday gained its target of 25,000 signatures.
@MingYLong People have asked how they can help: 1. Reach out to your Asian friends/colleagues and express your dismay re #racism you’ve seen 2. Be an ally when you see racism to support the individual affected #UnityOverFear #IStandWithAsianAustralians #IAmAustralian #WeAreAustralian
The petition will be sent to the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader and all MPs to send “a clear message that Australians are united against racism”.
Mandy L, a signee of the petition, wrote: “For the first time in my life, I have personally experienced racism, due to COVID-19 fears.”
“Being born and raised in Australia as a Chinese-Australian, this deeply upsets me, knowing that others like myself within the Asian community are being targeted.”
Members of Chinese-Australian online forum Oursteps have expressed anger and shock about the attack.
“There are no more excuses for not calling out racism,” user Lalasong wrote.
Additional reporting by Tasha Wibawa