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Coronavirus: Vancouver’s Chinatown hit with more racist graffiti

Racist graffiti seen on the lions at the base of the Millennium Gate in Vancouver's Chinatown. .
Racist graffiti seen on the lions at the base of the Millennium Gate in Vancouver's Chinatown. . Sarah Ling

The iconic lions at the foot of the Millennium Gate in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown have become the latest target of racist graffiti during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The words “COVID-19,” “China” and “goof” were written on the statues with red paint or marker at some point prior to Monday afternoon.

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By Wednesday, the graffiti had been covered by duct tape that the City of Vancouver says is a part of the removal process.

READ MORE: ‘It’s up to all of us’: B.C. woman speaks out after intervening in racist incident

“The City was extremely disappointed and saddened to learn of yet another incidence of racism in Vancouver, this time in the form of racist graffiti on the Chinatown lions,” said a city spokesperson in an email.

More racist attacks reported in Lower Mainland amid COVID-19
More racist attacks reported in Lower Mainland amid COVID-19

“As the City already pointed out at the end of April, racism, xenophobia and hate speech have no place in Vancouver and the City is appalled by the recent increase in anti-Asian discrimination that has occurred during the current pandemic.”

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Vancouver police confirmed that the incident is being investigated by their diversity and major crimes sections, and urged any other victims of racism to come forward.

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The city says it is working with community groups in the neighbourhood and has provided additional funding to the Chinatown Business Improvement Association for increased security.

It is the latest in a string of incidents of anti-Asian racism in the region linked to the pandemic.

On Wednesday, Premier John Horgan addressed the rise of racism in his weekly media availability, calling it “absolutely unacceptable.”

“Hate has no place in British Columbia. We are a strong and vibrant economy and a strong an environment community because of the diversity, that is what makes up this great province,” said Horgan.

“I’m grateful to see citizens standing up to racism when they see it.”

City of Vancouver speaks out against racism
City of Vancouver speaks out against racism

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Earlier this month, the Vancouver Chinatown Cultural Centre, just a block from the Millennium Gate, was defaced with racist graffiti.

There have also been several incidents of racist verbal abuse, as well as racially-motivated physical assaults reported in recent weeks.

Vancouver police say they have seen an uptick of racist incidents targeting people of Asian descent since the pandemic began.

‘They can expect the full weight of the law to come down upon them’: B.C. premier on racist acts during pandemic
‘They can expect the full weight of the law to come down upon them’: B.C. premier on racist acts during pandemic

Earlier this month, Vancouver police said they had dealt with 20 reports of anti-Asian hate crimes so far this year, compared to 12 in all of 2019.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Vancouver police.