An Australian man says he was subjected to a “racist” remark about Asian people while shopping for toilet paper over the weekend.
“As I was walking towards my car, this man said, ’Hey watch out, you’ve got toilet paper made in China. It might give you bum rash,” the Sydney resident, who is not Asian, told HuffPost.
The incident took place at a local convenience store, which was one of the few places in the area where the man was able to find toilet paper.
In Australia and other countries around the world, widespread shutdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus have led to panic buying and occasional shortages of essential household items.
“I’m not Chinese myself but this is racist,” the outraged shopper told HuffPost, referencing the comments he received.
Aussie activists have campaigned to raise public awareness regarding a purported increase in anti-Asian discrimination spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.
“There has been a huge increase in #COVID19Aus related anti-Chinese & anti-Asian racism in Australia. If you’ve experienced #COVIDー19 related racism or know someone who has, report it here!” the Asian Australian Alliance said in a Facebook post last week.
“It did come from China”
In the United States, a number of Democrats, liberal activists and journalists have denounced Republicans and swathes of the public for allegedly being bigoted about the coronavirus.
At a White House press conference last month, several reporters questioned President Donald Trump about his use of the term “Chinese virus” to refer to the coronavirus, suggesting doing so was racist.
However, Trump said he was simply being factual.
“I didn’t appreciate the fact that China was saying that our military gave it to them. Our military did not give it to anybody,” he said, referring to an unfounded conspiracy being promoted by Chinese officials.
“China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them. That was false. And, rather than having an argument, I said I had to call it where it came from. It did come from China. So, I think it’s a very accurate term.”