Anti-Asian racism during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Experiences, expressions and reactions of Chinese Diaspora in France
At the time of its outbreak in China, the Covid-19 pandemic was globally presented in some media as a "Chinese" virus. This led to a process of racialization of the disease consisting in describing the virus as intrinsically linked to a country (China) and to the presumed "Chinese" population. In different countries, people perceived as Chinese have been seen as carriers of the disease and therefore as a potential threat. In such a context, the acts of racism and discrimination against Chinese and, more broadly, Asian populations increased worldwide. In response, people of Chinese origin around the world have mobilized locally and transnationally, both to fight the spread of the virus and to fight anti-Asian racism. In France, the Covid-19 pandemic triggered episodes of more or less violent and explicit racism and xenophobia, ranging from distrust and avoidance to physical aggression and stigmatization in the public space. Faced with this situation, various sub-groups of Chinese people in France reacted differently, through individual actions, or collective struggles.
This talk aims to analyse, through a mixed approach based on qualitative and quantitative data collected from the MigraChiCovid Project (2020-2022)[https://www.migrations-asiatiques-en-france.cnrs.fr/projet-migrachicovid/resume-scientifique-du-projet-migrachicovid], the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the experience of anti-Asian racism among Chinese people in France. Moreover, we attempt to examine the disruptive character of the pandemic in the awareness regarding the reality of an anti-Asian racism and the emergence of new attitudes and forms of reactions against it among Chinese people in France.
We will first use our quantitative data to examine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the subjective experience of racism by people of Chinese origin in France. We will then examine the various forms of expression of anti-Asian racism though different groups of the Chinese population in France. Furthermore, in the third part we examine the forms of resistance – individual or collective – to anti-Asian racism. We will show that these forms of resistance are closely linked to the forms in which our respondents think and voice anti-Asian racism.
Chair and discussant: Professor Marco Martiniello (Centre for Ethnic and Migration Studies at the University of Liège)
Professor Simeng Wang (Permanent Research Fellow, The French National Centre for Scientific Research - CNRS, France);
Dr. Francesco Madrisotti (Postdoctoral research fellow, CNRS); and
Dr. Li Yong, Member of the IAL (International Advanced Laboratory) "Post-Western Sociology in Europe and in China " ENS Lyon/CASS (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences).
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Fourth seminar of the series China in a Time of Pandemics: Politics, Culture, and Society, organized under the scientific coordination of Eric Florence (University of Liège) and Sébastien Colin (EURICS and Inalco/IFRAE). Learn more...
Marco Martiniello, is Research Director at the Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.–FNRS) and Director of CEDEM (Center for Ethnic and Migration Studies) at the University of Liège. He teaches the sociology of migration and interethnic relations at this university. He is also Director of the Research Institute in Social Sciences of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Liège.
His work is in the field of political sociology. It deals with the relations between the arts, culture, sport, immigration and ethnicized and racialized minorities. In addition, he is interested in transnationalism as well as issues of migration policy, citizenship, multiculturalism, racism and the political mobilization of immigrants and minorities in Europe and North America. Learn more here.
Wang Simeng, is a Permanent Research Fellow at The French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and faculty member at the CERMES3 (Research Centre, Medicine, Science, Health, Mental Health and Society), and hold a PhD in Sociology from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris (2014).
Since 2009, professor Wang Simeng has been working on Chinese immigration in France, at first about mental suffering and living conditions of Chinese migrants and their children, then through various analytic angles: family and intergenerational relationships, political participation, transnationalism. Her research interests are in the sociology of international migration, sociology of health and mental health, sociology of the Chinese world (China and its diasporas). Cf. published books and scientific articles: https://cnrs.academia.edu/SimengWang and her personal page here.
Francesco Madrisotti holds a PhD in Social Anthropology and Ethnology from EHESS. His research focused on transnational mobilities and economic activities created by West African migrants settled in Morocco. Through his Ph.D thesis, he showed that these migrants are the actors of a subordinate mobility based on informal economic activities. In order to prove so he made a two year ethnography including participant observations and semi-structured interviews in Tangier-Morocco. After obtaining his Ph.D, he joined the project Momentum (CNRS- URMIS, University of Paris) as postdoctoral researcher. In this position, using an experimental methodology and through the quantitative analysis, he studied discriminatory treatment towards the Muslim population. He was particularly interested in the expression of degrading attitudes through non-verbal language in face-to-face interactions. To study these behaviours, he carried out field experiments based on an audio-visual data collection device in the Paris and Brussels subways stations. Generally speaking, his research work aims to integrate qualitative and quantitative approaches as well as algorithms and big data analysis techniques into the analysis of transnational mobility and discrimination. Since October 2020, he has been working as a postdoctoral researcher in the MigraChiCovid project at the CERMES3 research center (CNRS-EHESS-INSERM-University of Paris).
LI Yong holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Rouen Normandy (2016). His doctoral thesis Condemned to Succeed: Professional Integration of Chinese Graduates in France. New Migratory and Identities Dynamics questions the condition of student migrants in the context of globalized risk society. During 2017-2018, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Employment and Labor Studies (CEET - le Cnam). From 2018 to 2021, he was a research coordinator at the IAL (International Advanced Laboratory) “Post-Western Sociology in Europe and in China” CNRS-ENS de Lyon / CASS (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences). In this framework, he has conducted fieldwork in China and France that favors cross-analysis and the implementation of methodological cosmopolitanism. He is also a fellow with the French Collaborative Institute on Migration. His current work is built around three main themes: the life courses of skilled Chinese migrants in France and their transnational mobility; the experience of discrimination of young people of Chinese origin in France; food risks and social trust in China. Cf. published books and scientific articles: https://ens-lyon.academia.edu/YongLi