The Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on Thursday condemning the phrase “China virus” and other terms used to describe COVID-19 as a form of “anti-Asian sentiment.”
The resolution, introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), calls on public officials to condemn and denounce “all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19.” It passed in a mostly party-line vote of 243 to 163 with 14 Republicans voting with the Democratic majority in favor, Reuters reported. All other Republicans voted “no.”
The text specifically cites the phrases “Chinese Virus,” “Wuhan Virus,” and “Kung-flu” as examples of “anti-Asian terminology and rhetoric” that has “perpetuated anti-Asian stigma” in the United States. It calls on lawmakers to denounce anti-Asian sentiment in any form, as well as “all manifestations of expressions of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, anti-Asian sentiment, scapegoating, and ethnic or religious intolerance.”
The House also calls on law enforcement to “expeditiously investigate and document all credible reports of hate crimes” against Asian Americans.
“The increased use of anti-Asian rhetoric has resulted in Asian Americans being harassed, assaulted, and scapegoated for the COVID–19 pandemic,” the resolution reads.
It lists several crimes committed against Asian Americans, including the assault of a woman wearing a mask at a New York City subway station; two children and two adults who were stabbed at a grocery store in Midland, Texas; a couple assaulted and robbed by attackers in Philadelphia; and a 16-year-old boy who was hospitalized after bullies attacked him.
The resolution also quotes Dr. Mitch Wolfe, the chief medical officer of the CDCl, who said, “Stigma is the enemy of public health” and cites CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, who testified that the term “Chinese coronavirus” is wrong and inappropriate.
Ahead of Thursday’s vote, Rep. Meng called out President Donald Trump for using the term “China virus,” saying it is “wrong and dangerous” to use such terms.
Today, the House will vote on my resolution (#HRes908) that condemns anti-Asian sentiment related to #COVID19. @realDonaldTrump's use of China Virus & Kung Flu 2 describe the virus have scapegoated #AAPIs as carriers of the new coronavirus. This is wrong & dangerous.— Grace Meng (@RepGraceMeng) September 17, 2020
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President Trump has repeatedly used the phrase “China virus” or a variant of that term to describe the coronavirus.
Because of the China Virus, my Campaign, which has raised a lot of money, was forced to spend in order to counter the Fake News reporting about the way we handled it (China Ban, etc.). We did, and are doing, a GREAT job, and have a lot of money left over, much more than 2016….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2020
In March, after being questioned on his use of the phrase, the president told reporters he doesn’t consider “China virus” to be a racist remark.
“It’s not racist at all,” Trump said, explaining that he uses the term because he wants to be accurate and because the Chinese government accused the U.S. military of starting the coronavirus outbreak.
“China had tried to say at one point — maybe they stopped now — that it was caused by American soldiers,” Trump said. “That can’t happen. It’s not going to happen, not as long as I’m president. It comes from China.”