February 20 2020
NHRCK Chairperson Listens to the Voices of Korean-Chinese People
-NHRCK Chairperson comforts Korean-Chinese people who became the target of hatred during COVID-19 pandemic-
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (Chairperson Young-ae Choi) visited Guro-dong, Seoul, a Korean-Chinese neighborhood, on March 20 to listen to the voices of the Korean-Chinese community that experiences hate speech during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was concerned about reports that some parents and students show their reluctance to attend classes or have lunch with children of Korean-Chinese people before the start of the semester at elementary, middle and high schools in the Gurogu district,” said Chairperson Choi. “We should not put the blame on certain individuals, the government or migrants for the current crisis. Now is the time to come together to contain the spread of the virus, ensure the safety of all and wish for the prompt recovery of COVID-19 patients.”
The gathering brought together the representatives and members of Korean-Chinese groups in Guro-gu, Korean-Chinese parents of elementary and middle school students, migrant rights activities, teachers and staff of district education offices. Participants described the rise of hate and discrimination against Chinese people of Korean descent in communities since the COVID-19 outbreak, in particular growing calls to block Korean-Chinese students from schools ahead of the start of the semester and public expression of concern about having classes or lunches with them.
The Chairperson listened to concerns of Korean-Chinese peoples who are denied entry to a restaurant, forced to quit their job against their will and treated like uncivilized people or carriers of coronavirus, shunned by neighbors due to incorrect speculation or fake news and have kept a low profile amid growing fears of Korean nationals.
Participants called for measures to tackle the spread of anti-Chinese sentiment in our society, saying that "incidents of hatred and discrimination in the home country leave deeps scars on Korean-Chinese people.”Chairperson Choi responded that "it is essential for all of us to be united in the fight against the social disaster with a sense of humanity and solidarity. The Commission will continue its efforts to tackle the spread of negative stereotypes and bias that stigmatizes certain groups as contagious or inferior."
In a statement released on February 5 about the rise of online and offline hatred towards Chinese or Korean-Chinese people fueled by coronavirus fears, Chairperson Choi expresses concern about hate speech that justifies discrimination or incites hatred against specific groups and confirms the commitment to creating a society that respects the dignity of each and every individual.