MANCHESTER has the second highest Chinese population in the UK and statistics from Greater Manchester Police say that were was 4320 racially motivated incidents in the Greater Manchester area between April and December last year alone.
A new report by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, suggests that 15% of Chinese men and women report racial harassment last year, compared to between 4-10% of men and women from other minority groups in the UK.
The report states that “Chinese men and women, Pakistani men, Indian-Sikh men, Indian-Muslim men and Bangladeshi women are more likely to report such experiences than others – around 15%” – the difference here being that both Chinese men and women report harassment, whereas its either men or women from other minority groups.
The report also states that “Women are more likely than men to feel unsafe and avoid places, but men are more likely to report actually experiencing ethnic and racial harassment” and that “these patterns persist after account for contextual factors that vary across ethnic groups.
The likelihood of experiencing ethnic and racial harassment is lower for those living with a higher proportion of their own ethnic group members after taking into account area level deprivation”
Racial crime spiked particularly after the Brexit referendum result and more recently the Manchester Area bomb attack.
While the report states that levels of reported harassment are lower in areas with large minority populations, Circle Steele, chief executive officer at the Wai Yin Society in Manchester said: “I would say that they [Chinese people] do feel safe [in Manchester but it’s the same with any city, there is quite a lot of hate crime reporting in our Welcome Centre which is in Cheetham Hill.”
“We work to corroborate with the police, very closely, and we do research we go around the community and talk to people but because hate crimes are ongoing we try to raise awareness.”
The Wai Yin society work closely with the police to help tackle the problem of hate crimes in the city, Circle says that people report to the centre and they then work with the police to help solve the issue, they even teach Mandarin and Cantonese to the police officers.
She says that in some areas “people break into the household and attack the Chinese” even when there are children present, “they report to the police but they say there’s not much change so they come in here and we try to support them.
There are Chinese people who have come to us and they own a Chinese takeaway and they have CCTV in the takeaway, because they say that people are attacking their shop.”
Circle says that the key to living peacefully in the community is learning about and respecting each other’s cultures, “we talk a lot about community cohesion, and we try and celebrate the diversity, we celebrate the differences, and then we get more understanding.”
She feels that things are better now than what they used to be for Chinese people, as when they first migrated from Hong Kong and Mainland China “many people open shops and they were more spread around, Jewish people all live close together, Indian people live close together, but the Chinese they were separate, they opened the shops away from other Chinese because they didn’t want the competition
“The younger generation now, they go to education and they can speak out and they know where to reach out for help and support but the older generation I say that they suffer in silence.”