One in five Chinese Australians say they have been physically threatened or attacked in the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and tensions in Australia’s relationship with China, a survey by the Lowy Institute think tank reported, APA reports citing Reuters.
The findings prompted a call from the Chinese Australian Forum, a community group, for national leadership to tackle racism as Australia deals with a more assertive China, and also recognition that the Chinese community in Australia is diverse in its political views and origins.
Around 5% of Australia’s population of 25 million claim Chinese ancestry, the national census shows. Half of the Lowy survey respondents were born outside mainland China, in places including Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan.
“Chinese Australians were always going to be sandwiched in geopolitical tensions with (China),” said president of the Chinese Australian Forum, Jason Li.
“How we manage the rising distrust towards 1.4 million of our fellow Australians will be a significant test of our multiculturalism and our values as an open, liberal society.”
Three-quarters of respondents said Australia was a good or very good place to live.
The survey came as the Chinese embassy published a speech by deputy head of mission Wang Xining, who attacked “scumbags” in Australia who criticised the Chinese government.
“Those scumbags who deliberately slander China, undermine Sino-Australian friendship and harm the well-being of the two peoples out of self-interest will be cast aside by the world, and their descendants will be ashamed to mention their negative role in history,” Wang told the Australia China Business Council dinner.
The embassy has previously listed its grievances against Australia as including Canberra’s call for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, the bar on Chinese telecommunications company Huaweiparticipating in the 5G network, and restricting foreign investment on national security grounds.