The built-in mechanisms of 2019 Novel Corona viral conflict
As 2019 Novel Coronavirus is spreading both physically in the region and mentally in the world, it gives us a very good opportunity to take the temperature of modern time’s classic/biological racism. Just to cite a few of them, a French regional newspaper “Le Courrier Picard” titles its front page about the “Yellow Alert”, in reference to the “Yellow Peril”; the paranoid racist fear of the extinction of White race by the Yellow race that theorised the “urge” to colonise swiftly Eastern Asia. The U.S. Foreign Affairs Department raised its China travel advisory to level 4: “Do not travel”, putting the country on its red list next to Iran, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Syria, Iraq and others. Families are torn apart for citizenship reasons while many countries have decided to evacuate and put in quarantine their compatriots living or traveling to Hubei province of China. Many cases from signs banning Chinese from entering in shops in certain countries, to videos going viral on social media about Chinese “barbaric” food habits are spreading around the globe.
This situation reminds me of sentences and words heard in the streets of Istanbul and on Turkish social media just before leaving for Bangkok about “Syrian refugees infecting Turkish citizens with their viruses”. It struck me when I first heard it from a Thai woman in Ayutthaya traveling with us in a Tuk-tuk telling us “you don’t want to go to that market; it is full of Chinese”. How familiar that sounded! These moments of inter-racist intimacy are always warnings of the hottest trends on social conflicts. Us, January 2020 Rotary Peace Fellows arrived in Bangkok before the Corona virus did, and I already had a glance of who and how would otherization work here, but the present situation makes it easier to analyse.
Indeed, Edward Azar’s Protracted Social Conflict analysis that Irene Santiago told us about is a very useful tool to understand how social conflicts become apparent, how they are constructed and manipulated. Likewise, it is important to understand who are the spoilers, who benefit from a conflict, and what is their benefit, as Tom Woodhouse put us in practice with the Hawks and the Doves exercise.
From theory to practice, it is now useful to keep an eye on the economic isolation threatening China today, next to the humiliation many Chinese and/or “Asiatic looking” people are going through globally.
Nil Delahaye – Turkey
Rotary Peace Fellow – Class 28
 And apologizes after causing social media backlash: https://www.courrier-picard.fr/id64729/article/2020-01-26/propos-de-notre-une-du-26-janvier
 Updated travel advisory information for China from US Government: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/china-travel-advisory.html
 Listen to the story of Jeff Siddle leaving his wife behind to save their daughter (and himself) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51312378
 For a comprehensive summary: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/world/asia/coronavirus-chinese-racism.html