‘I feel self-conscious about coughing in public’: Cardiff students speak out against coronavirus-related xenophobia

Many have suffered ‘racist’ remarks because of the outbreak


As of this morning, it has been reported the coronavirus death toll has reached 813 deaths and over 34,800 people infected with the virus, mostly being within mainland China.

Despite only two of the deaths being outside of China so far, Cardiff University students are speaking out about the racist treatment and xenophobic comments they have suffered.

Olivia Alldrick is an Australian exchange student who has been studying in Cardiff for the past year. Olivia, who is from South Korea, told The Cardiff Tab that it's pretty common for people to mistake her ethnicity as Chinese, and is aware people aren't usually 'intentionally racist'.

Image may contain: Photo, Photography, Portrait, Woman, Gown, Robe, Fashion, Evening Dress, Outdoors, Grass, Smile, Vegetation, Female, Plant, Tree, Apparel, Sleeve, Clothing, Face, Person, Human

Australian Student Olivia Alldrick speaks out

However, since the coronavirus, Olivia has been a victim of racism. She told The Cardiff Tab: "I was walking into the main building the other day, and a group of guys kept laughing and saying 'Ni Hao' over and over again, and that was intentional".

Olivia further commented how she even felt "self-conscious about coughing in public because people assume I just have coronavirus and that I must be a Chinese student".

Another example of coronavirus-related xenophobia happened to Chinese student, Robin Zhang, in Cardiff city centre. He took to Twitter to say a group of young boys shouted "Hey! #Coronavirus!" whilst covering their mouths with collars.

Robin told The Cardiff Tab : "It is not acceptable for some people to say things like that to others because of their appearance. It is important for everyone who has experienced such things to stand up and speak up."

As well as Cardiff uni students, Jackie Yip, Cardiff Students' Union president, has also spoken out about racism. She shared on Facebook that "racism is a crime, full stop".

Jackie's comments "never in my life have I felt so uncomfortable walking the streets of Cardiff" is clearly a shared view with many other students who are having similar experiences.

Racism is a crime, full stop ? ✋ and you should report it to the police immediately. My mother is from Hong Kong and…

Posted by Jackie Yip SU on Saturday, February 8, 2020

These are just a few examples of brave students who have spoken out against the xenophobia they have suffered in Cardiff. There are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales, yet many Asian students in Cardiff are victims of xenophobic and racist comments.

Have you been a victim of xenophobia or racism because of coronavirus? Do you have strong thoughts on this? DM us on Insta.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Coronavirus: Chinese student in Sheffield ‘attacked for wearing face mask’

• Dear white people, stop saying ‘Ni Hao’ to every East Asian student you see

• Paramedics called to Mayflower Halls following suspected case of coronavirus