When you are Asian Australian and in a political and elected position, it seems to be a trend to receive racist hate mail/trash – and this is what happened to Clr Kun Huang of Cumberland City Council in Sydney’s West. Before I get into how disgusting this entire situation is, let me remind everyone that Cumberland City is one of the most diverse council regions in Sydney. There is a significant population of both Vietnamese and Chinese Australians in the region, so you can imagine how colourful the region is. In saying that, the current Mayor of Cumberland Steve Christou has made racist comments about both the Muslim Australian community ( another major demographic in the area) and towards the Asian communities which celebrate Lunar New year. You can read our previous post on this situation for more information.
Now to Clr Kun Huang. Huang is a multilingual young Asian Australian, who I have personally known for a number of years. He is politically savvy and very community minded, so him being elected to council is a great thing as he has so much to offer to the local community of Cumberland. When you look at his social media pages he is always out and about engaging with the residents and being visible. However, recently he received a letter which was not just extremely racist in nature, but was literally threatening his life, all because of his Chinese cultural background and his first name “Kun”. I did get a chance to read the letter and it totally disgusted me at how foul, disgusting and threatening the letter was. Currently, the letter has been passed to the police who are conducting an investigation.
The letter not only wished “death on all Chinese Australians”, but mocked Kun’s name and pretty much stated that “Chinese people” bought diseases and damage to Australia for centuries and that “Chinese people” are the ugliest in the world, oh yeah and that all “Chinese people” need to be killed off by “fumigated”. The letter was long with a lot of grammatical errors but you get the drift from these few things mentioned.
Clr Huang told us that he does not feel upset, nor deterred by the letter and it has actually firmed up his commitment to the people of Cumberland City Council and his determination to do the best job possible:
“Because I’m an Australian, and I have made a commitment to my fellow Australian that I would represent all of them on Council. I’m not going to break my commitment because some cowards made views that is not representative of the community.”
A few other Chinese Australian councilors from around Sydney and from different political persuasions also received the letter, so clearly it is a targeted effort to out and threaten Chinese Australian councilors. What is most disappointing, but not surprising is that Australian PM Scott Morrison and all his senior Ministers have failed the community by not addressing the racism issue and condemning it. The most they have said publicly are just “standard words” about how Chinese Australians contribute to the growth of Australia.. blah blah blah. I would challenge them to actually say something more substantial because if they don’t this type of behaviour will continue and become normalised. Right now, to be anti-Asian is normal and enabled and more people are getting bolder in what they say and what they do when being a racist.
As we have previously reported the Lowy Institute released their report about “Being Chinese Australian”, and they highlighted that Chinese Australians are not just concerned but have experienced racism during the pandemic.
- 18% of Chinese Australian respondents have stated that they have been physically threatened or attacked because of their Chinese heritage in Australia;
- More than a third of Chinese Australian respondents stated that they have experienced some sort of discrimination;
- Two thirds of Chinese Australian respondents attributed the pandemic as a cause of racism;
- 52% of Chinese Australian respondents attributed the damaged relationship between China and Australia as a cause of the racism;
In addition, the COVID-19 Racism Incident Report Survey launched by the Asian Australian Alliance in collaboration with Osmond Chiu has now recorded over 500 incidents of COVID-19 related racism attacks. There is a lot to be concerned about.
But for now, lets all just continue to fight against racism, lift up our community, celebrate our achievements and champions and push for more culturally diverse leadership. We may not be able to stop racism, but we can change those who are on top and making the decisions.
Images via Clr Kun Huang Facebook page