Manzanar Committee Denounces Anti-Asian Racism, Xenophobia, Violence Fueled by COVID-19 Virus-Related Hysteria

LOS ANGELES — On March 20, the Manzanar Committee denounced the racism, xenophobia and violent attacks targeting Asians/Asian Americans resulting from COVID-19 virus-related hysteria, much of it fueled by President Donald Trump referring to the virus as the “China Virus” or the “Chinese Virus,” and his staff referring to it as the “Kung Flu,” despite World Health Organization instructions to refrain from attributing disease to a country or ethnic group to avoid stigmatizing and profiling them.

The White House continues to justify its use of “China Virus” or “Chinese Virus,” despite widespread reports of attacks and harassment of Asians and Asian Americans.

“The racist and xenophobic rhetoric coming from various government officials while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate is beyond irresponsible,” said Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. “What is disgustingly obvious is the racist characterizations of Asian Americans by the Trump Administration, and its allies, is no different than its view of other communities of color.”

“We first witnessed the irrational avoidance of Chinatowns throughout the country,” added Embrey. “Soon after, we began to hear about people being accosted and physically attacked in public. The escalation of physical and verbal attacks on Asians around the country must be condemned and stopped.”

“The use of ‘China Virus,’ ‘Chinese Virus,’ or ‘Kung Flu’ are not just harmless, descriptive, or ‘joking’ references. Racist stereotypes and anti-immigrant dog whistles fuel hatred and lead to violence, including bullying of children and physical assaults, not to mention in less visible discrimination in hiring and business activity.”

Embrey also noted that history is repeating itself, once again, as the COVID-19-related racism and xenophobia is virtually identical to that which resulted in the unjust incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese/Japanese Americans in American concentration camps, and other confinement sites, during World War II.

“Japanese Americans know, first-hand, that words matter and the cost, both socially and economically, of ‘looking like the enemy,’” he observed. “The long history of anti-Asian racism, beginning with the Chinese Exclusion Act, along with the constant, racist drum beat from government officials and the media during World War II, should teach our country that racist, xenophobic slander serves only to shift blame for incompetence and to gain political support. This was true during World War II with Japanese Americans, and sadly, so very little has changed. It is also the case today.”

Embrey urged support for the Stop API Hate campaign and the creation of their web sites where incidents can be reported.

“The Stop API Hate reporting center of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (AP3Con), Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University is an important project that we must all support,” he stressed. “We strongly urge people to report such incidents using the forms available on their web sites and to the appropriate law enforcement agencies, including calling 911 in emergency situations.”

To download the forms to report incidents, click on:

For more information on the Stop API Hate campaign and web site, click on:

Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Civil Rights Organizations Establish STOP AAPI HATE Reporting Center.

The Manzanar Committee is dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the incarceration and violation of civil rights of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II and to the continuing struggle of all peoples when Constitutional rights are in danger. A non-profit organization that has sponsored the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with other educational programs, the Manzanar Committee has also played a key role in the establishment and continued development of the Manzanar National Historic Site. For more information, check out our web site at, call us at (323) 662-5102, and e-mail us at You can also follow the Manzanar Committee on Facebook, on Twitter at @manzanarcomm, on Instagram at @manzanarcommittee, on Pinterest and on YouTube.


Creative Commons License The Manzanar Committee’s Official web site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. You may copy, distribute and/or transmit any story or audio content published on this site under the terms of this license, but only if proper attribution is indicated. The full name of the author and a link back to the original article on this site are required. Photographs, graphic images, and other content not specified are subject to additional restrictions. Additional information is available at: Manzanar Committee Official web site – Licensing and Copyright Information.

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