Updated: February 1, 2020 7:25:23 pm
Punjabis staying abroad say Chinese nationals have been at the receiving end of a backlash following an outbreak of the coronavirus in their country.
There is a large population of Chinese nationals in the US, Canada, Australia, and many other countries. Punjabis settled abroad say the Chinese are facing a tough time because people often assume they have just returned from their home country and hence interactions with them could be a risk. As a result, many members of the community are themselves avoiding going out in public.
“People start running away from them, some even shout at them, asking them to stay home,” said Reena, a Punjab native settled in Toronto, Canada, while admitting she too is scared of sending her children to school where a large number of Chinese students are enrolled.
Karan Singh, a Punjabi living in Australia said he had Chinese friends who had visited their home country a month back. “People of all communities are feeling scared and even the fellow Chinese are avoiding meeting those who had returned from China recently,” he added.
“We know that one should not assume every Chinese national is infected, but because of the scare, people are helpless. Taking precautions is better because one infected person can infect any number of persons who can further infect several others,” said Pooja, a resident of California.
Parkash Kaur, a resident of London, said that she visits her home in Punjab every year during this time but canceled her plans to travel. “At the airport, one can come in contact with passengers coming from any nation including China. So I decided to wait for some time,” she said over the phone.
“We fully support the Chinese community but we are worried about ourselves and our dear ones,” said Kusum, residing in Canada.
The North American Punjabi Community’s executive director Satnam Singh Chahal said that while Chinese nationals are not at fault for the outbreak, everyone including the Chinese should take precautions against the spread of the virus.
H S Singh, an employee of the Dashmesh Temple Sikh Darbar in the US, said everyone is quite anxious in their community. “Even we had fellow Chinese workers in our company but they have not visited China recently. However, they too are avoiding meeting with their own brethren who had recently made trips to China,” he added.
“It is unfortunate that people are behaving in an insensitive manner,” said Chahal.
In Punjab, students cancel travel plans
A couple of Chinese students of a private university in Jalandhar said they have canceled plans to visit their hometowns but are in regular touch with their parents to inquire about their well-being.
“Our parents have asked us to not to visit our home country till it’s safe to do so,” said a Chinese student studying in Phagwara’s Lovely Professional University
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