Via her Instagram account, actress Gemma Chan has added her voice to the resistance against a global increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. Chan shared a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for those affected in the UK. The ESEA Community Fund “will issue grants to trusted organisations working to rectify the racial inequalities in our society.”
In one caption, Chan writes that there has been “a disturbing rise in hate crimes against people of ESEA appearance in the UK. In London alone attacks have tripled over the past year.” Figures from the Metropolitan Police show that anti-Asian hate crimes in London increased 179% since March 2020 when the UK had its first lockdown.
Racist comments made by public officials have been cited as fuelling xenophobia and racist attacks against East and South East Asian people in the UK. International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan was exposed for her anti-Chinese jokes, while Labour MP Sarah Owen said she heard parliamentarians abusing Chinese people during a debate. In October 2020, Parliament held its first-ever debate to discuss the racism experienced by the ESEA community in the UK. Not a single Conservative MP or government minister attended the debate.
Chan states that her mother and father “have been followed and subjected to a number of verbal assaults since the beginning of the pandemic”. The Captain Marvel star goes on to reference the 2020 attack on Singaporean student Jonathan Mok, the attack of Chinese lecturer Peng Wang in February in Southampton and a recent physical assault of an East Asian woman in Edinburgh.
Also shared on Chan’s Instagram is a campaign by the grassroots movement ‘besea.n’ to establish an ESEA Heritage Month in the UK. They are petitioning the government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport to officially recognise this annual observance “to bring ESEA culture and heritage to the forefront of narratives around a diverse modern Britain”.