A new poll has revealed that almost a third of Australians apportion blame for the COVID-19 pandemic on the Chinese community.
The Essential Media poll surveyed over 1,000 Aussies in early August as Victoria grappled with the peak of its second wave.
Respondents were asked to rate the accuracy of the statement: “most COVID-19 cases were brought to Australia by Chinese people.”
31 per cent of respondents said that the statement was either “definitely” or “probably” true, while another 16 per cent of people said that they were “unsure” of the statement’s truth.
53 per cent of people said that they believed the statement to be untrue.
Meanwhile, about a fifth of respondents said that they felt that the virus would more likely be spread within the Chinese community.
News of the poll comes following a week when several Chinese-owned businesses in Melbourne were targeted by vandals.
Earlier this week, a number of shops were attacked and vandalised in Melbourne – many operated by Australians of Chinese heritage. These attacks are disgusting, cowardly and criminal and the Aus Gov condemns them entirely. I hope the cowards involved are brought to justice. pic.twitter.com/OO7mDeg7Kz
— Alan Tudge (@AlanTudgeMP) September 9, 2020
Several businesses along the Clayton Road high street in Clayton had windows smashed, while one business was left with a xenophobic note telling them to: “go back to where you came from.”
It is unclear whether the vandalism and note are linked, with Victoria Police telling Yahoo News that there was no evidence that the vandalism was racially-motivated.
Erin Chew, the National Convener for the Asian Australian Alliance told Yahoo News that the letter and poll results were not a surprise to her.
“The content of the letter is nothing new and it is not surprising due to the anti-Chinese/Asian sentiments currently floating around in Australia,” Ms Chew told Yahoo News.