BEIJING (AP) — China called on the U.S. to take measures to stem violence against people of Asian heritage after eight people were killed at Atlanta-area massage parlors.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Thursday that violence against Asians in the U.S. was “outrageous and distressing,” leaving China “deeply concerned.”
American authorities should “take practical measures to resolve issues of racism and racial discrimination at home, and earnestly safeguard and protect the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in the United States,” Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.
The 21-year-old suspect in Tuesday’s shootings reportedly told police the attack was not racially motivated. He claimed that he targeted the spas because of a “sex addiction.” Six of those slain were identified as being of Asian descent and seven were women.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry has said four of the victims who died were women of Korean descent, while two of the other victims appeared to have Chinese names.
China has long countered accusations of human rights abuses under the ruling Communist Party by pointing to racism and violence in America. Recent attacks on Asians in the U.S. are partly attributed to anti-Chinese sentiment arising from the coronavirus pandemic that was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
While giving no names, Zhao said some American politicians had “instigated racism and hatred, and condoned discrimination against Chinese students in the United States.
“The United States should take practical measures to resolve issues of racism and racial discrimination at home, and earnestly safeguard and protect the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in the United States,” Zhao said.