Coronavirus: Fears over London Chinatown’s survival

Coronavirus: Fears over London Chinatown's survival

Chinatown

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Lockdown restrictions have hit Chinatown hard

Restaurant owners in London’s Chinatown fear “stigma” and racism due to the coronavirus crisis will hamper the area’s recovery.

There were 64 hate crimes against people of Oriental descent reported to the Met Police in February, double what is normally reported.

Children as young as 12 have reported being subjected to racist abuse.

The increase is “driven by ‘blame China narratives'”, according to anti-racism charity the Monitoring Group.

Suresh Grover, director of the Monitoring Group, said: “Since the Covid-19 emergency, our figures show a worrying spike of race hate crimes against Chinese communities.

“The incidents range from verbal abuse to physical assaults.”

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Geoff Leong

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Prince Charles and his wife Camilla have visited Geoff Leong’s London restaurant

At the start of March a student from Singapore said he was attacked on Oxford Street by a group of men who told him: “I don’t want your coronavirus in my country.”

Restaurateur Geoff Leong, who has welcomed high-profile guests including Prince Charles and Stephen Fry to his Dumplings’ Legend restaurant, said he recently had all four of his tyres slashed and his 12-year-old daughter was a victim of racist abuse while at her local shop.

“She felt really upset that she was shouted out. She said she’s never going to go back to the shop because she’s lost that confidence,” he said.

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Geoff Leong

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Mr Leong said all four of his tyres were slashed recently

Mr Leong, who has lived in London since he was 10, said: “I’ve started to feel really worried for my own health and safety.”

The start of the coronavirus pandemic was linked to a market in Wuhan, where wildlife was on sale.

“This virus has nothing to do with the British-Chinese in the UK,” TV chef Ching He Huang told the BBC.

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Ching He Huang

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Ching He Huang, who has appeared on many TV shows, says she is worried about the pressure restaurants in Chinatown are under

Ms Huang said she had been hearing stories people were facing “prejudice, abuse, racism and negative comments” around Chinatown.

She added Chinatown – which is in London’s West End – was already under pressure to survive due to high rents.

“If anything we need more love, more support for the Chinese community because that’s the only way we’re going to get out of it. “

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