CAPAC Chair Chu Condemns Republican Bigotry on “Chinese Virus”

Mar 18, 2020 Issues: Other Issues

Washington, D.C. – Asked by reporters why he prefers the term “Chinese Virus” to describe the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), in violation of guidance from health experts and the heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said, “China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that, these viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people and that's why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the Swine Flu.” Rep. Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), issued the following statement:

“Senator Cornyn's comments are disgusting. Disparaging an entire ethnic group and culture like this is bigotry, plain and simple. Blaming Chinese people en masse for the spread of this disease is the exact same bigoted line that was used to justify the Chinese Exclusion Act over a century ago.

“We are now watching in real time as the Republicans change the way they talk about coronavirus, intentionally stoking xenophobia in order to shift attention away from President Trump's truncated response. Just a few weeks ago, while they were still denying the coming pandemic, most Republicans, including the President, called it the coronavirus. But in recent days, as the economy has started to suffer more and the virus continues to spread, President Trump and Republicans in Congress have changed how they refer to the coronavirus. Over the past few days, Trump has repeatedly labeled this pandemic as the 'Chinese virus,' and his loyal Republican followers have come to his defense in increasingly hateful terms. Their words are inciting racism and violence against Asian Americans in the United States.

“Republicans have been warned by health experts, by Trump administration officials, by Asian American organizations and constituents, and by Members of Congress and other elected officials. At this point, Republicans have made a calculation that it is in their interest to create fear of Asian Americans, and people's lives will be in danger until they stop."