Leon Zhang (left) and Chris Tang of McLean, Virginia, take part in a rally on Sunday in Washington in response to the Atlanta spa shootings that left eight people dead, including six Asian women. One of the dead was a Chinese citizen. [Photo/Agencies]
China has urged the United States to bring to justice the suspect who last week killed eight people－including six women of Asian descent－in a shooting spree in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry made the call for timely justice on Monday, when it confirmed that a Chinese citizen was among the victims of the attacks carried out by a white man at three spas on March 16.
The ministry urged the US to ensure fairness for the victims and their families.
"We urge the US side to ensure safety and legitimate rights and interests Chinese people in the country," Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, adding that the Chinese embassy is closely following the handling of the case and will provide active assistance to the family of the deceased.
On Sunday, US President Joe Biden took aim at the "ugly poisons" of "systemic racism and white supremacy" that he said had long plagued the country, and vowed to change the laws that enabled continued discrimination.
In blunt language, Biden said the country faced problems with racism, xenophobia and nativism.
It followed similar sentiments from US Vice-President Kamala Harris, who detailed in Atlanta on Friday the US history of discrimination against Asian Americans.
"Racism is real in America and it has always been," said Harris, the country's first Asian-American, first black and first female vice-president. "Xenophobia is real in America and always has been. Sexism too."
Telling the truth
Commenting on Harris' remarks, Hua said the vice-president told the truth about the US.
"Hate crimes and racism acts against Asians have been on the rise in the US in recent years, and there have been many tragedies," she said. "Fifty-eight years after Dr Martin Luther King gave his 'I Have a Dream' speech, 'Floyds' still can't breathe. Nearly 20 years after Sept 11 terror attacks, Muslims in the US still face systematic discrimination and stigmatization."
Hua was referring to the police killing in May last year of George Floyd in Minnesota. The black man was declared dead after a white police officer pressed his knee on his neck for about nine minutes. Floyd was handcuffed and pleading that he couldn't breathe.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the previous US administration has spread false information and racist hate speeches. As a direct result, Asians in the US have been ravaged by systematic, racial discrimination and hate crimes, she said.
"The US should not only have the courage to face up to the problem, but also have the determination to solve it," she said.
With the widespread coverage over the killings, US law enforcement authorities are under pressures to treat them as a hate crime.
Xin Hua, an Asian American, said she was "really angry" that police in Atlanta have yet to say the shooting was racially motivated.
Thousands marched at rallies on Sunday to denounce anti-Asian racism in major cities including Atlanta, New York and Washington, as well as in Montreal, Canada.
"The fact is that six Asian women were killed," Xin Hua, 37, said in Washington, where hundreds of protesters had gathered.
Agencies contributed to this story.