Ted Cruz says San Antonio’s decision to label the term ‘Chinese virus’ as hate speech is ‘nuts’

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Senator Ted Cruz called San Antonio City Council’s decision ‘nuts.’ Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • San Antonio City Council in Texas has unanimously voted to label terms including “Chinese virus” and “kung-fu virus” as hate speech.
  • It was responding to a growth in racist and antisemitic incidents in the city, triggered by the coronavirus crisis.
  • “Unfortunately, during times of crises, we do see the best of humanity and sometimes we also see the worst,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
  • Senator Ted Cruz called the decision “nuts,” saying that the city council was “behaving like a lefty college faculty lounge.”
  • It comes after Trump faced criticism for his use of the term “Chinese virus” at a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing.
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The city of San Antonio in Texas has unanimously passed a resolution condemning the use of terms such as “Chinese virus” and “kung-fu virus” as hate speech.

It also encouraged residents to report “any such antisemitic, discriminatory or racist incidents” to the relevant authorities following several incidents in the city since the pandemic began, reports San Antonio’s WOAI-TV.

The move, which also covers anti-Semitic speech, was criticised by Senator Ted Cruz, who called it “nuts,” adding that the city council was “behaving like a lefty college faculty lounge.”

He tweeted: “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.”

The hate speech resolution, which was put forward by Mayor Ron Nirenberg, was voted through 11-0 by the San Antonio City Council, to ensure “the safety and well-being of all community members, including the Asian and Jewish communities.”

“Unfortunately, during times of crises, we do see the best of humanity and sometimes we also see the worst,” said Nirenberg. “There has been a rise of hate speech throughout the course of this pandemic.”

Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales also highlighted how a Chinese restaurant that had been operating in the city for nearly 90 years had become a target of hatred, the Independent reports.

“They have been the victims of hate speech and hate crimes, with vandalism and that sort of thing on their property,” she said.

Trump recently faced criticism after he doubled down on his use of the term “Chinese virus” at a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in March, saying “it’s not racist at all.”

Responding to a reporter who questioned his continued use of the phrase, he said: “Because it comes from China. It’s not racist at all. No, not at all. It comes from China. That’s why. It comes from China.”

The World Health Organisation has urged people not to use other terms such as “Chinese virus” or “Asian virus,” noting that “the official name for the disease was deliberately chosen to avoid stigmatization.”