Lawrence Lee, president of the Red Deer and District Chinese Community Society, said Monday there are no racism concerns in the city due to the looming threat of coronavirus. File photo

Calgary’s Chinese community worried about racism, but not Red Deer’s

Calgary’s Chinese community may be bigger than Red Deer’s, but the southern city also has racism concerns around the coronavirus outbreak, which the central city does not.

The Calgary Chinese Community Service Association says the agency is concerned about racism and xenohobia that may be creeping into the dialogue around the epidemic centred in Wuhan province in China.

“We urge Calgarians to remain calm and not direct misplaced concern towards Chinese-Canadian Calgarians,” said Thomas Cheuk and Norman Poon, the association’s co-chairs.

“We must avoid demonizing the entire Calgary Chinese community, while remaining vigilant and careful.”

In Red Deer, there are no such concerns, probably because the Chinese community is much smaller – about 700 to 900 people, said Lawrence Lee, president of the Red Deer and District Chinese Community Society.

“We don’t have a huge, significant presence of Chinese population like we used to in past years, so that’s tapered down the impact,” said Lee, who is also a city councillor.

Lee said he has heard concerns about the virus, and the supports around it, and what can be done to help those in China.

During the SARS outbreak in 2002, similar sentiment was felt in Calgary, and to some extent, in Red Deer, he said.

“It definitely was more of an issue in Red Deer in 2002, than it is now with coronavirus, for sure,” Lee said.

Back then, Red Deer had a Chinese population of between 1,000 and 1,100 people.


Red Deerians welcome the Year of the Rat

Lee said people are more educated today, thanks to traditional media channels and social media.

“A lot of people now don’t jump to conclusions or reactions. We’re now more informed. People understand transmission isn’t through standing next to somebody, and that people have to show signs or symptoms,” Lee said.

Sammy Beng, manager at Red Star Chinese Restaurant in Red Deer, said his business, which consists mostly of non-Chinese customers, is doing “normal.”

He explained, post-new year, business does slow down a bit, because people may not have as much spending money, and that’s considered typical at this time of year.

He said there are some Chinese people who are afraid of the spread of the virus; perhaps from someone who has just returned from China. That means they visit one another less often than normal.

“Usually, they see each other often. Right now, it’s a little bit less,” he said.

“Because every day, they see the news and they know what’s happening in China. That’s why they are probably scared a little bit.”

The decrease in the Chinese community numbers in the city, compared to around 2002, is due to the lack of post-secondary education in central Alberta, Lee said.

“Our culture puts a huge value on education, so without Red Deer having a university, it’s really impacted the growth of the Chinese community,” Lee said, adding the change in Red Deer College to a university is welcomed.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kin Canada flag raising at Red Deer City Hall

Historic event for Kin Canada clubs

Federal minister pledges to meet chiefs in B.C. over natural gas pipeline

OTTAWA — The federal Crown-Indigenous relations minister is offering to meet today… Continue reading

Loblaw reports Q4 profit up from year earlier, but falls short of expectations

BRAMPTON, Ont. — Loblaw Companies Ltd. reported its fourth-quarter profit rose compared… Continue reading

2 former cruise ship passengers with virus die in Japan

TOKYO — Two elderly passengers taken off the Diamond Princess cruise ship… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

David Marsden: Hospital unfairness makes me ill

The provincial government clearly isn’t without money. If it was, it wouldn’t… Continue reading

Morning collision on 30th Avenue

A collision backed up traffic for a while at 30th Avenue and… Continue reading

Hoarse Hearts; Canadian women’s curling championship hard on skips’ voices

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Kerri Einarson calls it her “winter voice.” Midway… Continue reading

Saprissa, Impact draw 2-2 in first leg in CONCACAF Champions League

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — Jonathan Martinez scored in the 90th minute… Continue reading

Former Quebec media star Eric Salvail takes stand in his sex assault case

MONTREAL — Former Quebec media star Eric Salvail was no longer employed… Continue reading

Rising classical star Alexandra Streliski to perform with Dallas Green at Junos

TORONTO — Breakout neo-classical pianist Alexandra Streliski will join City and Colour’s… Continue reading

Pastrnak scores overtime winner, Bruins edge Oilers 2-1

Bruins 2 Oilers 1 (OT) EDMONTON — The Boston Bruins have proven… Continue reading

Most Read