Dr Wendy Li, president of the Townsville Chinese Club is calling for the public to get behind the
Dr Wendy Li, president of the Townsville Chinese Club is calling for the public to get behind the "Shout Townsville University Hospital Healthcare Heros a Coffee" campaign. Picture: Shae Beplate.

Chinese community cops racism amid COVID-19

MEMBERS of Townsville's Chinese community have been on the receiving end of racism during the COVID-19 pandemic and have launched an initiative that shouts coffee for hero healthcare workers on the frontline.

President of the Townsville Chinese Club and Associate Professor of Psychology at JCU Dr Wendy Li said more than 800 cups of coffee had already been bought by strangers, including 310 by people in China for Townsville University Hospital workers.

"We have some Chinese people in our community who are experiencing racism in their everyday lives," she said.

"Also on Facebook, I myself see some comments that are very, very rude to Chinese people, saying anyone supporting China is a dog. There's another reason to organise this initiative, we want to show Townsville that we are fighting the coronavirus together with the Townsville community.

"We follow instructions from the Government and we support healthcare workers, we are part of Townsville, we are part of Australia."

Dr Li said she was aware some of her community's members were on the end of unfriendly behaviour in public, but that she herself had experienced nothing but kindness.

Dr Li said she found it very "heartwarming" that so many people had already bought so many cups of coffee.

"We are all working together to beat the virus, together we can defeat it," she said.

"Our friends in China would like us to pass on the message that Chinese people are very friendly and very supportive in the fight against the virus as well."

Dr Li said the pandemic was creating fear and anxiety, which was an important ingredient in discrimination.

"The anxiety creates a 'we' and 'they', and those different categories allow it to be very easy to have a discriminative attitude towards others," she said. The fundraiser ends on May 10. To shout a coffee for a healthcare worker contact the Townsville Chinese Club for details.

Originally published as Chinese community cops racism amid COVID-19