This article has also been translated into Chinese, which can be read below.
By Stella Wang, University of Bristol, Careers Support Officer (International), Bristol University Graduate (2015)
How would you feel if you were blamed for causing Covid-19, just because of the way you look?
I am Stella Wang, I worked in the Careers Service and I was a student at the University of Bristol. I am writing this article to share my experience, and to signpost resources on what you can do when facing hate crime.
Since last year, more and more racist incidents have occurred due to Sinophobia.
Last year, we heard that Chinese students felt pressured to wear scarves to hide their masks, just to avoid people attacking them for mask-wearing.
When the first lockdown started, I was seeking treatment in A&E and faced racist abuse from another patient of the hospital. I was being called ‘Chinese virus’, by a random patient waiting in the same area.
Luckily, my friend who accompanied me to the A&E helped me to report this incident to the reception, and I was invited to sit in a place away from the individual.
People of East Asian appearance have even been hospitalised by racist attacks, we recently saw the reporting of the shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, which left eight dead, including six Asian women.
Last month, a Southampton University lecturer Dr. Peng Wang was attacked in broad daylight in a case of racially aggravated assault, by four men who had shouted abuse from a car.
i wasn't gonna tweet about it, but the weight of the asian hate crimes finally hit me emotionally today...i ended up breaking down/crying multiple times throughout the day, just thinking about all the times throughout life i've dealt with racism/xenophobia toward being chinese— ✧ coral ✧ (@coralescent) March 25, 2021
Dr Wang said: ‘They were saying things like Chinese virus, get out of the country and dirty words… Hate crimes are increasing in the two years after Brexit and after the pandemic. So we as Eastern Asian people I would say we are currently in a dangerous position in the UK.’
Here, at the University of Bristol, Chinese students account for approximately half of our international students. We also have a large proportion of international student from Asia.
Diversity and inclusion have always been the top priorities of the university, and we would like our students to know that any kind of racism is unacceptable and we will support you in dealing with any such behaviour.
So, if you experience or witness any incidents of prejudice or harassment, what should you do?
1. Call the police.
If someone’s life is in danger, or a serious crime is taking place, you should always call the police immediately using 999. If the crime isn’t an emergency, call 101 or contact your local police. For Bristol, you can report hate crimes online at the Avon and Somerset Police website.
2. Find a safe space.
If an incident has just happened, try and find somewhere you feel safe. If you are at the University, you can call University Security on 0117 331 1223 or go to your nearest University building and ask someone to phone security for you.
3. Report the incident to the university.
• The University has a range of wellbeing support. If you are not sure who to contact, you can speak to an Adviser from the University’s Student Wellbeing or Residential Life Services for advice and support. Contact Wellbeing Access to do this.
• Have an informal conversation with the Student Complaints Officer (email@example.com, 0117 394 1820) or a Bristol SU Just Ask adviser.
• You can use the Report and Support system, filling a complaint form to make a formal complaint following the University’s Acceptable Behaviour Policy.
• Consider submitting extenuating circumstances if your studies have been, or are being, affected.
Why is reporting so important?
Firstly, we want you to make the ‘invisible’ visible. We want to make everyone within the university aware that this kind of behaviour is happening; the more people that understand this, the better we can stop racist language and attacks from occurring in the first place.
Secondly, we understand your mood and wellbeing may be impacted by such an incident. And reporting it to the university’s support service means you can get the wellbeing support from professionals.
What happens after I make a report to the university?
The case will be documented. You do not need to worry about any personal record, as the reports can made anonymously. Alternatively, you may prefer to include identifiable details.
If you felt you have been mentally impacted and need additional support from university staff, you can request an advisor from the University’s Wellbeing service to check your report.
4. If desired, contact charity organisations or community projects
In addition, you can contact charity organisations such as SARI to support you.
SARI is a charity specialised in supporting victims of hate. You can self-refer or refer anyone who has suffered from hate crime, to get SARI’s support. Professional staff at SARI can wor with individuals to look at their options for taking action to resolve their cases. In more detail, SARI might help you:
• Work with and coordinate other agencies on your behalf, encouraging them to take action, getting updates on their work and ensuring they do the right thing.
• Supporting you through legal proceedings related to your case.
• Helping you make complaints against other organisations and agencies.
• Getting you the help you need, whether from us or referrals to other agencies.
We also encourage you to speak to people that might share or not share the same cultural background, to connect and make the world a better place.
Furthermore, one project we recommend is the Bristol Voice project, where a student can be matched up with a member of the alumni community based on common interests, then use phone and video calls to talk about the shared experience of studying and living in Bristol.
Featured Image: Epigram / Lucy O’Neill
如果有人的生命安全受到威胁，或者现场出现严重犯罪行为，你应该立即拨打999报警。如果你所目睹或经历的犯罪行为并非紧急情况，请拨打101或联系当地警方。在布里斯托，你也可以访问Avon and Somerset Police网站在线举报仇恨犯罪行为或事件。
如果这类恶性事件刚刚发生，尝试寻找一个你觉得安全的地方先躲避一下。如果你在大学校园里遭遇或目睹这样的事件，可以拨打大学保安电话0117 331 1223举报并寻求帮助，或者进入离你最近的教学楼内请人帮您拨打保安电话。
• 与学生投诉干事（firstname.lastname@example.org，0117 394 1820）或布里斯托大学学生会Just Ask项目的顾的问进行非正式交谈。
Featured Image: Epigram / Lucy O’Neill