Concern over barber's 'china virus' sign
A NERANG barber has defended a sign on his shopfront blaming the "China virus" for a reduction in opening hours, pointing the finger at "lefties" for making a complaint about it.
But Gold Coast's official spokeswoman for the Chinese community has slammed the message, saying similar signs in the US have led to a spike in anti-Asian hate crime.
Barber Chris Manning, who has specialised in "conservative men's haircuts" for the past 36 years, said he could not believe someone would make a complaint about the notice.
"I should have expected this, there are so many bleeding hearts around, everyone is just wrapped in cotton wool these days. They're lefties, that's all they are," he said.
"I don't care, and I'm not taking it down, I might even get a bigger one made because I actually wanted the words China virus in bigger letters but they put them in small ones."
Mr Manning, who plans to retire soon, said he put the sign up after US President Joe Biden made it against the law to have such signs up because they were inciting violence.
"That idiot in America Joe Biden banned it, that's why I put it up. And 99 per cent of my customers look at it and agree with me. It's not big deal, what are they are they going to do, sue me?"
Mr Manning said he couldn't understand why it was considered racist to call COVID-19 the China virus when it was completely fine to talk about the virus having UK and South African strains.
"The virus killed my business, and because most of my clients are old blokes, they're too scared to come out and are waiting for the vaccine," he said.
Debby Lo-Dean, the official spokeswoman for the Gold Coast Chinese Community said she was "very sorry to hear that the barber's business has dropped significantly" but that his rhetoric was potentially harmful.
"When a man in the US coined that phrase it was used to divide people and a country, it has caused a massive increase in anti-Asian hate crime resulting in deaths and very disturbing attacks on Asian elderly," she said.
"We are Australia and we don't want to follow the US and see that here."
Mrs Lo-Dean said she'd done extensive research on studies from overseas and many found that COVID-19 popped up in many countries at the same time, according to sewerage samples from 2018-2020.
She said there was growing evidence that the COVID-19 virus may not have originated from wet markets in China's central city of Wuhan.
"It was China that first published that there was a new virus. This is why I think so many countries are still in a bad way," she said.
"My friend caught COVID-19 in December 2019 in Los Angeles but the US didn't admit to having it until February. They said it was a really bad flu."
Her friend was tested and it was later confirmed he had the COVID antibodies from December 2019.
Mrs Lo-Dean added that last year doctors at a Paris hospital found evidence than an ill patient admitted in December 2019 was already infected with COVID-19, with no known association or recent travel to China.
"COVID-19 was already spreading in France in late December 2019, a month before the official first cases in the country," the team at Groupe Hospitalier Paris Seine in Saint-Denis wrote in a study published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.
Originally published as 'China virus': Coast barber's controversial sign ignites firestorm