A campaign has been launched in Nottingham to support the Chinese community after reports of Covid-related hate crime.

Incidents have been reported of people being targeted simply because coronavirus was first reported in China.

The campaign aims to address this issue by working with Nottingham’s East Asian and South East Asian communities to ensure people know how to report hate crimes and to assure communities that these crimes will not be tolerated in Nottingham.

The recent Citizens Survey, undertaken annually by Nottingham City Council, revealed that 93 per cent of those asked believed that neighbourhoods with different cultural backgrounds get on well together.

Nottingham’s East Asian and South East Asian communities make significant and welcomed contributions to the city. Earlier this week, Nottingham City Council was pleased to report that just before the national lockdown, the Chinese community in Nottingham launched a fund-raising campaign to support the city.

In just two weeks, they raised £10,597 from Chinese entrepreneurs, public and private-sector staff, students and alumni. This was followed by a two-month-long journey of sourcing the greatly-needed PPE at a time of global shortage. More than 100,000 surgical masks have been donated to the city in support of Nottingham’s key workers and vulnerable people, which equates to every Chinese resident in the city donating 15 masks on average.

Min Rose, a Chinese staff member of University of Nottingham and one of the co-founders of the campaign, is proud of this achievement: “This demonstrates a sense of solidarity by the Chinese community within the city where they have made their home. It is evidence why the Nottingham has been referred to as the UK’s ‘China-friendly city’.”

To support this friendship and reaffirm Nottingham as No Place for Hate, a social media campaign is being launched encouraging people to report hate crime where they see it.

Councillor Rebecca Langton, Portfolio Holder for Communities at Nottingham City Council, said: “We were really pleased to see in the Citizens Survey that 93 per cent of people believe their neighbours get on well together. We know how wonderfully-diverse and culturally-rich our city is, and that reinforces those beliefs.

“But we also know that discrimination and hate crime still exist in Nottingham, and we must never stop calling it out and taking appropriate action where we see it.

“Everyone has been hugely affected by COVID-19 and the unprecedented lockdown we all faced, which initially limited our time outdoors, kept families apart and isolated the vulnerable. Nottingham’s response overall has been excellent with so many people looking out for each other, and donating to worthy causes like the Robin Hood Fund.

“What we will not accept, however, is the type of abuse we have seen against members of the East Asian communities – simply because the virus was first reported in that part of the world.

“I would urge anyone who is either personally targeted, or witnesses it being directed at someone else, to report it to the police. Your complaint will be taken seriously and the appropriate action taken against the perpetrators.”

Chief Inspector Louise Clarke, who leads Nottinghamshire Police’s Hate Crime Unit, said: “We are glad to be launching this campaign with partners to raise awareness of hate crime.

“Hate crime is not acceptable. We all, as members of society, should do what we can to prevent it – don’t be a bystander.

“It is incredibly important that anyone who is a victim of hate crime reports it to Nottinghamshire Police. We have specially trained officers who will approach cases sensitively and we will always investigate reports of hate crime thoroughly.

“If you have been a victim of hate crime, have witnessed a hate crime or need any information on what a hate crime is, please do not hesitate to speak to us.”

Michael Henry, Strategic Director of Communities Inc, said:
“In Nottingham we have a long history of agencies and voluntary-sector organisations successfully working together to tackle hate and prejudice. So when we saw this particular problem emerging we were able to quickly come together and agree a plan of action.”

In an emergency, people should call 999, or ring 101 for a non-emergency, hate crime can also be reported online at www.report-it.org.uk