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.
By Wednesday, the graffiti had been covered by duct tape that the City of Vancouver says is a part of the removal process.
“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.
“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.”
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.
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.”
Earlier this month, the Vancouver Chinatown Cultural Centre, just a block from the Millennium Gate, was defaced with racist graffiti.
Vancouver police say they have seen an uptick of racist incidents targeting people of Asian descent since the pandemic began.
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.
- Details of new federal dental insurance plan coming, sources say
- Halifax-area tent encampment hopes new upgrades will help as temperatures drop
- How to know if you have salmonella as death toll rises from cantaloupe outbreak
- After Medicago shutdown, Canada recovers $40M and research on COVID-19 vaccine