Britain's Chinese communities report worrying level of racism

By Bo Leung in London | | Updated: 2017-11-21 00:56

Chinese people in Britain are more likely to experience racial harassment than people from other ethnic groups, according to a new research.

The study by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex found that an average of 4 to 10 percent of people across most ethnic minority groups said they had experienced some kind of racial harassment in the last year.

But the highest rate of reported incidents was among Chinese men and women, with 15 percent saying they had experienced racial harassment during the same period.

The report said other ethnic minority groups that are more likely to report experiencing racial harassment include Pakistani men, Indian-Sikh men, Indian-Muslim men, and Bangladeshi women.

Chinese students told China Daily they generally felt safe in the United Kingdom but were wary in certain circumstances.

A postgraduate student at Sheffield University who prefers to be identified by her surname Liu said she had never been a target of racial harassment but a friend had been treated badly because of her poor ability to speak English.

"My friend, Sun, said when she first came to the UK and checked into a hotel, the receptionist wasn't very approachable," said Liu.

Liu feels safe most of the time but is concerned when she encounters people who are drunk.

And a PhD student who goes by the name Cao, who also studies in Sheffield, said she worries about becoming a victim of crime when going out late at night.

According to the study, many incidents take place in the street, in shops, and on public transport, with 10 to 20 percent of men and women across ethnic minority groups in England saying they had experienced physical or verbal attacks in public because of their ethnicity, religion or nationality.

With the exception of black Caribbean and black African people, twice as many people anticipate or fear harassment as the number who actually experiences it.

The research said fear of a racist attack may have detrimental effects on labor market participation, social interaction, physical activity, and on mental health and wellbeing.

Renee Luthra, director of the Centre for Migration Studies at the University of Essex, told The Guardian: "Our study has found that harassment is experienced by the broad population of ethnic minorities, and damages mental health, even among those who do not directly experience it."

Alita Nandi, research fellow at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, said: "We hope this evidence will be taken up by law enforcement in identifying high-risk places and making public spaces accessible to all, and by mental health professionals by considering ethnic and racial harassment as an additional factor in mental health issues experienced by ethnic minorities in Britain."

Zhang Yangfei contributed to this story

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