San Antonio Passes Resolution Designating Term 'Chinese Virus' As Hate Speech
San Antonio, TX – The San Antonio City Council has declared that using the terms “Chinese virus” and “Kung Fu virus” to describe the COVID-19 pandemic qualifies as “hate speech” and cannot be tolerated.
“We have a diverse mosaic of people here in San Antonio,” Nirenberg declared during the meeting, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
“We want them to know, we want all of us to know that we stand side-by-side with everyone in this community and that we will call out racism and bigotry and hate speech when we see it, especially if it's taking advantage of a pandemic,” he said.
COVID-19 first appeared in the city of Wuhan, China, and has since infected over 4.1 million people around the world, The Hill reported.
A total of 283,387 people have died from the novel coronavirus as of Monday morning, according to Bing’s COVID-19 Tracker.
The San Antonio City Council’s resolution declared that using terms such as the “kung Fu virus” and “Chinese virus” to describe COVID-19 “can fuel ethnic and racial discrimination.”
“…hate crimes, discrimination and aggression against Asians and Jews are on the rise throughout the country as these groups are being blamed for the COVID-19 outbreak and spread,” the resolution read. “Times of great fear, uncertainty and unrest can lead to the demonization, blaming, and scapegoating of groups.”
The council alleged that “extremists are taking advantage of COVID-19 to spread their hateful ideologies, including antisemitism, racism, Islamophobia, and Sinophobia,” and said that there have been “surging reports” of Asians and Pacific Islanders being targeted because of their races.
Referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” targets and stigmatizes communities and “creates an inexcusable risk to all,” according to the resolution.
President Donald Trump started using the term "Chinese Virus" after China began a propaganda campaign blaming the United States for causing the virus.
“The City of San Antonio denounces antisemitism, anti-Asian bigotry, and all hateful speech, violent action and the spread of misinformation related to COVID-19 that casts blame, promotes racism or discrimination or harms the City of San Antonio Asian and Pacific Islander, Jewish, immigrant or other communities,” the city council’s resolution read.
“The City of San Antonio will continue its efforts to protect residents and targets and victims of hate, and to prosecute and curb hate acts related to COVID-19 in partnership with nonprofit organizations, the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, the San Antonio Police Department and other law enforcement partners,” the council added.
The resolution does not establish an ordinance, and the measure is largely symbolic, Texas Public Radio reported.
However, the wording on the order explicitly asks people to "report any such antisemitic, discriminatory or racist incidents to the proper authorities for investigation."
District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez said that the resolution is necessary because xenophobia is “in our DNA,” according to Texas Public Radio.
“It’s alive and well. I believe that it’s more dangerous and more contagious than a virus,” Pelaez said. “Thankfully, however, there is a vaccine, that vaccine is light…drawing moral lines in the sand and saying ‘we will not tolerate this.’”
Nirenberg said that there have been “incidents that are clearly racist in nature” occurring across the country since the onset of the pandemic, but he refused to provide examples of such incidents that had allegedly occurred in the San Antonio area, Texas Public Radio reported.
“I don’t like to shine light on people who are just seeking attention but do it at the expense of others,” the mayor said.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz denounced the resolution in a tweet on Thursday.
“This is NUTS,” he wrote. “SA City Council behaving like a lefty college faculty lounge.”
"If they want to investigate someone, start with NYT & CNN who both repeatedly (and rightly) referred to it as the Chinese coronavirus. #NoSpeechPolice,” Cruz added.