"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Biden’s statement suggesting lab leak theory might fuel more anti-Asian hate in North America Featured


Gurpreet Singh

The US President’s order asking the country’s intelligence to look into the origin of COVID 19 is likely to have consequences.

Joe Biden has directed the US intelligence community to step up efforts to investigate the origins of the pandemic, and to report back in 90 days. The implication is that Biden wants to know whether the pandemic can be traced to a laboratory in China, making this a man-made crisis, a theory which has not yet been established by science. 

Until now, the World Health Organization has been saying that the virus most likely originated from animals.  

While it is important to know the source of the disease that has claimed thousands of human lives across the globe to prevent any future catastrophes, Biden’s position on the issue isn’t helpful.  

Any suggestion of this being the result of a lab leak will give racists another excuse to go after people of Asian heritage in our communities. The people of Chinese ancestry in particular continue to face outright bigotry ever since the pandemic broke out. There have been a large number of violent incidents, including the killing of six Asian women in Atlanta.

Former US President Donald Trump was blunt in his racism, precipitating this hate by repeatedly calling the pandemic a “China virus”, Biden has only rephrased this in more sophisticated language. This reminds us of the famous words of Malcolm X, the hero of Black resistance movement, who differentiated between the Republicans and Democrats as the Wolves and Foxes respectively.  

If Trump was a science denier, Biden has gone a step further by wading into the territory of science with his brand of imperialist politics. It is not a coincidence that China is being isolated internationally by the US, Canada and India on many other issues, such as human rights, trade and territorial matters. COVID 19 is just the pretext of bashing the common enemy.

Biden’s controversial statement at this juncture will give legitimacy to those targeting the Chinese community almost every day. His remarks have already sparked a fierce debate on social media. So much so, Facebook has decided not to block any post claiming that COVID 19 could be man-made, thus creating more space for hate and conspiracy theories.

As for the white supremacists who think it is justified to punish Chinese people for COVID 19 - why not pack up your bags and leave for Europe, since your elders came from there and destroyed the Indigenous population in the US and Canada by bringing in smallpox? It is time to be careful and sensitive about what we say, and fight the pandemic together, instead of scapegoating a minority group, which knows no race or boundaries.

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Last modified on Thursday, 27 May 2021 21:38
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Gurpreet Singh

Cofounder and Director of Radical Desi


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