With more anti-Asian hate crimes than 10 of the most populous U.S. cities combined in 2020, Vancouver has reportedly become the “Anti-Asian Hate Crime Capital of North America.”
A feature article from Bloomberg looked into police figures collected by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism (CSHE) at Cal State San Bernardino.
What’s going on: Vancouver documented a total of 98 anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020, an eightfold increase from the previous year. This is more than triple the figure reported in New York (28), which recorded the most of any U.S. city in the same period.
- In a more recent study, CSHE noted that Vancouver saw a 717% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes from 2019 to 2020. This is the largest spike in Canada’s four largest cities.
- Canada uses “a more expansive” definition of hate crime than the U.S., according to CSHE. This could explain the significantly higher percentages.
- The Criminal Code of Canada says a hate crime is committed to intimidate, harm or terrify not only a person but also an entire group of people to which the victim belongs, according to CBC News. It can involve intimidation, harassment, physical force or threat of physical force against a person, a group or property.
- The Code has three sections that describe specific hate crimes. These include (1) hate propaganda advocating genocide, (2) public incitement or promotion of hatred and (3) mischief related to certain property, according to Global News.
- Not so progressive: Bloomberg author Natalie Obiko Pearson, who lives in Vancouver herself, noted that the city may not be “the bastion of progressive multiculturalism it thinks it is,” given the disproportionate data.
- Vancouver has a population of about 700,000. Of this number, 42% are Asian and 25% speak Chinese.
- Trixie Ling, 38, is a Taiwanese-born immigrant running a nonprofit for refugee women. In May 2020, a man reportedly attacked her with “racist and sexist insults” before spitting in her face.
- Ling’s experience is not that different from incidents reported in the U.S. But she says her experience confirmed what she always felt in Vancouver.
- “COVID has just revealed what’s always been there,” Ling told Bloomberg. “There is so much anti-Asian racism in our past that carries through.”
Vancouver, according to Bloomberg, came to exist as the Pacific Coast terminus of Canada’s first transcontinental railroad. Records at the University of British Columbia reportedly show that two Chinese workers died for every mile during construction.
In 2017, California passed a resolution commemorating the labor of Chinese workers who built the United States’ first transcontinental railroad. An estimated 1,200 laborers died while working on it.