PETALING JAYA: An Italian-Chinese man is fighting back against racism amidst the rise of xenophobic incidents around the world due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak in China.
Massimiliano Martigli Jiang went viral on social media as a video of him with a
message against anti-Chinese xenophobia was shared more than 10,000 times since it was posted on February 4.
In the one-minute video by the Italian-Chinese youth association UGIC, Jiang can be seen blindfolded and wearing a face mask standing next to a signboard which read "I'm not a virus, I'm a human. Eradicate the prejudice."
In the video, several passers-by can be seen staring at him, and some even took pictures and selfies.
However, later in the video, several others were seen hugging him as well as removing his blindfold and face mask.
“This video was one of those things that made it hard for me to sleep the night before. It made me anxious waiting for the shots. But now, thanks to your beautiful words, you have made me feel extremely moved, ” he said on his personal Facebook page on Feb 6.
China's coronavirus health scare has sparked xenophobic incidents, not just in Italy but also in various places around the world, including France and Australia.
In France, Reuters reported that the virus heightened racism against the Asian community, in which people had also avoided Asian food.
Asians in France then created a Twitter hashtag #Jenesuispasunvirus ("I am not a virus") to signal the abuse its community had faced since the outbreak of the virus in China.
Similarly, in Australia, ABC reported that a Malaysian was evicted from her home in Perth due to the landlord's fears that she carried the virus.
Several other Australian media reports have also reported that Chinese restaurant businesses in the country have suffered as Australians had avoided patronising the places.
The virus outbreak in Wuhan, China, has infected more than 60,000 people, mostly in China.
Covid-19 has so far killed around 1,400 people in China, with three deaths outside the country - Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines.
The virus has also sparked travel restrictions by several countries to stop the spread.