United Chinese Americans (UCA), a national coalition of Chinese Americans in more than 30 states, calls on the American news media, public figures and the American public to refrain from using terms such as “China virus,” “Chinese virus,” “Wuhan virus,” or “Asian virus” to describe the new coronavirus, COVID-19. Such terms often misinform and misguide the public in the fight against this virus, and could lead to bigotry, inflame hatred and even incite violence against Chinese and Asian Americans, as has already been widely reported.
UCA will further monitor developments and call out any public figure or institution who continues to use the term “Chinese virus” or its other variants, until such wanton usage ceases.
As recently as this past week, and one full month since the World Health Organization (WHO) officially designated the virus’ nomenclature as COVID-19, we unfortunately still hear many public figures and well-known organizations using geographical- and race-specific terms to describe it, despite the fact that the virus infects all races of people and has spread to more than 100 countries. That list includes President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senator Tim Cotton, Senator Rick Scott, and Fox News. “Continuing to use such terms is wrong, and is unacceptable,” said Haipei Shue, president of UCA. “The virus has a name, and that’s the name that ought to be used.”
In a multiethnic democracy like ours, where Chinese Americans have historically been singled out as objects of racism and xenophobia and subjected to damning stereotypes, and at a time when we need our whole society to work together to defeat COVID-19, we must avoid or stop insensitive, divisive, stigmatizing, racial or racist remarks and acts, as we come together to defeat this virus as one nation.