President Biden on Thursday evening condemned “vicious” hate crimes against Asian-Americans, who he said have been “attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated” during the coronavirus pandemic.
“They’re forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America,” Mr. Biden said during a prime-time address at the White House, marking a year since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. “It’s wrong. It’s un-American, and it must stop.”
Asian-Americans have grappled with anxiety and fear as violence against them spiked during the pandemic. Activists and elected officials say the attacks were fueled early on in part by the rhetoric of former President Donald J. Trump, who frequently referred to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” because it originated in Wuhan, China. Mr. Trump has also blamed the Chinese government for the pandemic, saying Beijing failed to keep the virus from spreading beyond China’s borders.
Over the past year, researchers and activist groups have tallied thousands of racist incidents against Asian-Americans. Earlier this year, an 84-year-old man from Thailand was violently slammed to the ground during an attack in San Francisco, and he later died. The killing, which his family described as racially motivated, spurred a campaign to raise awareness of his death and the recent attacks against Asian-Americans.