Incidents of racist coronavirus graffiti are on the rise in Melbourne. For example, earlier this year a young Chinese-Australian family were terrorised in their own home. Their garage door was covered in racist graffiti about the coronavirus pandemic. Plus one of their windows got smashed with a large rock.
The Melbourne based family woke up to find ‘COVID-19 China die’ spray-painted on their home’s garage door. Then the following night, at around 2:30 am, someone threw a rock and broke one of their windows while they were sleeping. The family are scared.
“I’m just scared. I’m busy buying CCTV systems, repairing glass and buying lamps,” the resident said at the time.
The second attack was partially captured on camera. The footage shows someone running from the property in Knoxfield, a suburb in Melbourne’s east, and climbing over a fence.
The resident reported both incidents to the police.
Yet, in a third attack the same family suffered again. This time they awoke to discover the words ‘leave and die’ painted across their garage wall.
However, these incidents are just part of a string of racist attacks on people of Chinese heritage. Especially now, with the spread of the coronavirus.
For example there was another act of racist graffiti earlier in the year, which took place in Epping in Sydney’s north-west. This is a street with a large Asian population, and someone sprayed graffiti that read ‘death to dog eaters’ across the middle of the road.
A Victoria Police spokesperson said police were investigating two incidents of criminal damage. Adding that it would be “inappropriate to comment further at this stage”. So far no arrests have been made. This despite camera footage being submitted as evidence. The CCTV footage shows the vandal fleeing the home of the Chinese-Australian family after spraying the racist coronavirus graffiti and breaking their window.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews condemned the coronavirus vandalism as ‘awful behaviour‘.
“At a time when we should be coming together and supporting each other, racism needs calling out for what it is. It’s just appalling, absolutely appalling.
“There’s no place in our Victorian community for that sort of conduct. It’s just evil,” he said during a media briefing.
“And it won’t help us save lives, and it won’t help us save jobs. It’s not only the wrong thing to do, it’s just not smart either.
“We need to be close, we’re all keeping our distance, and that’s very important. But we also need to acknowledge that we are in this together.”
Unfortunately, this is not the only time that COVID-19 racism has reared its ugly head. Since the beginning of the year, there has been a spike of reported discrimination against Chinese and Asian people in Australia.
Earlier in the year, a popular Geelong doctor was subject to racist abuse while waiting in line at a takeaway restaurant.
In April, two female students were allegedly assaulted by two other women in Melbourne’s CBD.
In addition to these high-profile racist attacks, there is a problem with more subtle forms of racism. These acts go unspoken and underreported in communities across Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked about the racism. He replied: “Stop it, that’s my message”.
“Now is a time to support each other. I would remind everyone that it was Chinese Australians in particular that provided one of the greatest defences we had in those early weeks,” he told reporters.
“They were the ones who first went into self-isolation. They were the ones who were returning from family visits to China and they were coming home. It was through their care, it was through their commitment, their patience that actually protected Australia in the first wave.”
“I deplore that sort of behaviour against any Australian regardless of their ethnicity or their religion or whatever it happens to be. And I think that is the view of all Australians. So we have to call that sort of thing out. It’s not on.”
And we agree. Now is the time for all communities to support each other, while keeping a social distance of course.