Negative Asian American tropics have long existed online, but increased in March last year when parts of the United States were locked down due to the coronavirus. This month, politicians like Republican Paul Gosar of Arizona and Republican Kevin McCarthy of California used the terms “Wuhan virus” and “Chinese coronavirus” to refer to Covid-19 in their tweets.

Then, according to a study by the University of California at Berkeley, those terms started trending online. On the day Mr. Gosar posted his tweet, the use of the term “Chinese virus” on Twitter increased 650 percent. A day later, consumption in conservative news articles rose 800 percent, the study found.

Mr. Trump posted eight times on Twitter in March last year about the “Chinese virus,” which is causing life-threatening reactions. In the response area of ​​one of his posts, a Trump supporter replied, “U caused the virus” and forwarded the comment to an Asian Twitter user who had quoted the US death statistics for Covid-19. The Trump fan added an arc about Asians.

In a study by the University of California at San Francisco this week, researchers who examined 700,000 tweets before and after Trump’s March 2020 posts found that people who posted the hashtag #chinesevirus were more likely to use racist hashtags, including #bateatingchinese.

“There has been a lot of discussion that the Chinese virus is not racist and can be used,” said Yulin Hswen, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of California at San Francisco who conducted the research. But the term, she said, has evolved into a “rallying call to rally and motivate people who have these feelings and to normalize racist beliefs”.

Representatives from Mr. Trump, Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Gosar did not respond to requests for comment.

The misinformation linking the coronavirus to anti-Asian beliefs has also increased over the past year. According to Zignal Labs, a media literacy company, nearly eight million speeches against Asia have been published online since March last year, many of which are false.

Increasing attacks against Americans from Asia

    • Eight people, including six women of Asian origin, were killed in the gunfight at the Atlanta massage parlor. The suspect’s motives are being investigated, but Asian communities in the United States are on high alert as attacks against Asian-American citizens have increased over the past year.
    • In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, a stream of hatred and violence against Americans from Asia began in the United States last spring. Community leaders say the bigotry was fueled by the rhetoric of former President Trump, who called the coronavirus the “China virus”.
    • A wave of xenophobia and violence in New York has been compounded by the economic fallout from the pandemic that dealt a severe blow to the Asian-American communities in New York. Many community leaders say racist abuse is overlooked by the authorities.
    • In January, an 84-year-old man from Thailand was violently beaten to the ground in San Francisco, leading to his death in a hospital two days later. The videotaped attack has turned into a rally.

In one example, an April article by Fox News that went viral for no reason indicated that the coronavirus was created and deliberately released in a laboratory in the city of Wuhan, China. The article was liked and shared more than a million times on Facebook and retweeted 78,800 times on Twitter. This is based on data from Zignal and CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned tool for analyzing social media.