29th May, 2020.

SYDNEY – The COVID-19 Coronavirus Racism Incident Report survey (please click here for Chinese and Korean versions) was officially launched on April 2nd of this year has since collected almost 380 reports of COVID-19 related racism in Australia against Asians/Asian Australians in a two month period. The STOP AAPI HATE reporting centre which is tracking the number of COVID-19 racism related incidents in the USA against Asian Americans, has recorded around 1,710 reports in a six week period. Taking population proportions into consideration, this demonstrates that the COVID-19 Coronavirus Racism Incident Report has approximately 30% proportionately more reports of anti-Asian racism in Australia in comparison to the American counterparts.

This reporting mechanism was founded by the Asian Australian Alliance, media site Being Asian Australian and in collaboration with Per Capita Thinktank Research Fellow Osmond Chiu. Partners to this project include Democracy in Colour and Diversity Arts Australia.

At this two month mark, the following are some of the emerging trends coming out of the “Incident Report”:

  • Approximately 65% of respondents identified as being female;
  • COVID-19 related racism incidents reported was the highest in NSW (36%), with VIC coming in second (30%);
  • The majority of COVID-19 related racism incidents occurred on a public street/sidewalk (37%), with incidents happening in a shopping centre/supermarket coming in second (23%) and public transport areas coming in third (15%);
  • Online COVID-19 related racism was the highest on Facebook (44%);
  • Over 60% of respondents stated that their experience of racism came in the form of racial slur/name calling, with 24% stating that the racism was “made as a joke” usually by someone/people they knew;
  • Almost 90% of respondents stated that they did not report their experience of racism to the police;

Erin Wen Ai Chew, National Convener for the Asian Australian Alliance expressed her concerns at the high numbers of reports and said that it demonstrates that this shows the ugly face of Australia, one which still has not reconciled its racist history,

“COVID-19 related racism is not the cause of racism in Australia, but it is a symptom of the bigger issue around racism in Australia as a whole. The anti-Chinese/Asian sentiment stems from the early days of the Gold Rush, Chinese Exclusion Acts and the Immigration Restriction Act (White Australia Policy), and in more recent years this “yellow peril” has re-emerged with the public discussions around the engagement and the growing influence of China.”

“We encourage all Asians/Asian Australians to record their experience on our incident report, because reporting is one of the ways that we can bring more awareness to this issue”.

Osmond Chiu, survey co-collaborator and Research Fellow at Per Capita think tank, highlighted the fact that the number of reports and personal stories demonstrate how real this issue of racism is in Australia,

“This survey has highlighted the very real experience of anti-Asian racism that is happening across Australia right now and has allowed many Asian Australians to tell their personal story of what it is like and how they feel, which would otherwise go unheard”

Molina Swarup Asthana, Victorian Convener for the Asian Australian Alliance stated that the survey data will be significant in present and future conversations around issues of anti-Asian racism in Australia,

“The survey is not only important in highlighting the alarming rates of COVID-19 related racism, but it also allows us to understand the underlying reasons for racially motivated abuse and its effect in the long run. Racism is not an emerging issue but a long standing one that literally changes ‘hue’ depending on which community is considered at ‘fault’. The data we have collected is extremely important and one that will assist in the institutional response to the issue of racism in Australia.”

As part of the survey next steps, a preliminary report will be publicly released in mid June with an analysis of some of the trends, observations and preliminary recommendations of the results from the first two months of the survey. By the end of June, the Asian Australian Alliance will have a COVID-19 related racism “resource page”, which will have contacts of regulatory bodies, support services and other relevant service contacts across Australia for everyone to access.

The survey will remain open indefinitely, so please complete it if you have experienced any COVID-19 related racism and/or you know someone else who has. The more reports that are made, the more statistics available for the long term fight against racism in Australia.

For more information and press enquiries, please contact Molina Swarup Asthana on 0400 785 299 and/or Osmond Chiu on 0424 159 463. You can also email enquiries to .