The Liberal Democrats have urged Priti Patel to begin recording the ethnicity of hate crime victims after a spike in coronavirus-related anti-Chinese hate crimes.
The Lib Dems have said recording personal details such as a victim’s ethnicity will help track the spread of racist crimes in the country, which the government confirmed it does not do.
The appeal comes as Sky reports at least 267 offences of anti-Chinese incidents have been recorded by police in the first three months of 2020.
Lib Dems MPs have also called on the home secretary to condemn the recent spate of attacks. Party home affairs spokerperson, Christine Jardine, said: ‘All of us with a public platform must stand up to those whose language and actions spread hate.’
She added: ‘The home secretary must step up and tackle this appalling trend head-on. That work cannot be effectively undertaken unless the government records and tracks these crimes, so I urge the home secretary to enact that change today.’
Dr George Lee, speaking for the Chinese wing of the party, said his community should not be treated differently to any other, stressing: ‘As citizens we should be afforded the same rights and respect as any other citizen to live our lives without fear or discrimination.’ Anti-Chinese incidents have been on the rise since the outbreak of covid-19. Director of anti-discrimination tracking body The Monitoring Group, Suresh Grover, said his organisation linked the uptick to people wanting to blame China for the virus.
‘Since the covid-19 emergency,’ he said, ‘our figures show a worrying spike of race hate crimes against Chinese communities driven by blame China narratives. The incidents range from verbal abuse to physical assaults’. He added: ‘Our report, Hidden from Public View, published almost a decade ago, concluded that racism against Chinese community is not only rarely acknowledged by public authorities but suffers disproportionately when compared to the experience of other BAME communities.’ Dr Yeow Poon, chair of covid-19 Anti-Racism Action Group, agreed, pleading that the government needed to bridge the reporting gap. She said:’The British Chinese are the third largest ethnic group in the UK yet as with other ethnic groups, [they] remain invisible in the Home Office reports on hate crime’.