After the San Antonio City Council in Texas unanimously passed a resolution calling use of the terms ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Kung Fu Virus’ to describe COVID-19 “hateful speech,” writing that the city would “prosecute and curb hate acts related to COVID-19,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued a fiery tweet condemning the action, writing, “This is NUTS. SA City Council behaving like a lefty college faculty lounge, triggered by Chick-fil-A & the words ‘Wuhan virus.’ If they want to investigate someone, start with NYT & CNN who both repeatedly (and rightly) referred to it as ‘the Chinese coronavirus.’ #NoSpeechPolice.”
This is NUTS. SA City Council behaving like a lefty college faculty lounge, triggered by Chick-fil-A & the words “Wuhan virus.” If they want to investigate someone, start with NYT & CNN who both repeatedly (and rightly) referred to it as “the Chinese coronavirus.” #NoSpeechPolice https://t.co/a10BZAvleQ
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 7, 2020
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg wrote a letter to council members in which he stated:
This coronavirus has held no regard for race, religion, creed, or political boundary. As such, our efforts must meet the indiscriminate nature of COVID-19 with empathy and compassion for all our neighbors. I ask that you consider adopting the attached resolution – which declares that our COVID-19 response efforts will be free of hate and discrimination – at the next Council A-Session.
The resolution itself stated that COVID-19 “was not created or caused by any race, nationality or ethnicity, and the World Health Organization has cautioned against using geographic descriptors that can fuel ethnic and racial discrimination.” It added, “COVID-19 is a public health issue, not a racial, religious or ethnic one, and the deliberate use of terms such as ‘Chinese virus’ or ‘Kung Fu virus’ to describe COVID-19 only encourages hate crimes and incidents against Asians and further spreads misinformation at a time when communities should be working together to get through this crisis …”
The resolution continued, “The City of San Antonio will continue its efforts to protect residents and targets and victims of hate, and to prosecute and curb hate acts related to COVID-19 in partnership with nonprofit organizations, the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, the San Antonio Police Department and other law enforcement partners.”
In early March, The New York Times reported that critics had singled out conservatives such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) for using the term “Wuhan” when describing the coronavirus that has affected various parts of the world. The Times tweeted:
Some conservatives, including Mike Pompeo, Sen. Tom Cotton and Rep. Paul Gosar, are using the term “Wuhan virus” to describe Covid-19. Critics accused the term, which goes against the recommendation of health officials, of being racist and xenophobic.
But the Times itself had used the term “Wuhan” numerous times when describing the coronavirus, as can be seen here. Additionally, CNN referred to “Wuhan virus” in January, and The Wall Street Journal,which later changed its headline, appears to have referred to coronavirus as “Wuhan virus” around the same time. The original title for the WSJ piece appeared in the site’s URL.
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