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GoFundMe for Elderly Asian Woman Attacked in California Raises $610,000



More than $610,000 has been raised on GoFundMe for a 75-year-old Chinese woman who was attacked on a street in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Xiao Zhen Xie’s page, which has recorded donations from at least 20,000 individuals across all 50 states and in 42 countries, was the most-viewed GoFundMe page on Thursday, according to a spokesperson for the website.

The incident took place near McAllister Street around 10:30 a.m. local time.

Less than an hour earlier, at about 10 a.m., an 83-year-old Vietnamese man, Ngoc Pham, was assaulted nearby.

A 39-year-old man, Steven Jenkins, has been accused of both assaults and was arrested on Thursday. Police say they believe the attacks were unprovoked and they have yet to establish whether race was a motivating factor.

Eyewitnesses claim Jenkins was involved in a physical altercation at United Nations Plaza around 30 minutes before the attack on Pham. Police said the suspect assaulted Xie while trying to run away from a security guard who managed to detain him until officers arrived.

Jenkins has been charged with assault likely to produce great bodily injury and two charges of elder abuse.

John Chen, Xie’s grandson, wrote on GoFundMe: “She is now suffering two serious black eyes and one that is bleeding unstoppably. Her wrist has also swelled up. She has been severely affected mentally, physically, and emotionally.

“She also stated that she is afraid to step out of her home from now on.”

With her daughter Dong-Mei Li interpreting, Xie told local channel KPIX 5 on Thursday that she was “very traumatized, very scared.” The 75-year-old said she was unable to see anything out of one eye, which was still bleeding at the time of the interview.

Xie said she had been waiting to cross the street at a traffic light when she was struck on her left eye. She was reported to have defended herself. “She found the stick around the area and fought back,” Li said.

Chen wrote on GoFundMe: “I am amazed by her bravery. She was the one that defended herself from this unprovoked attack.”

Just came upon an attack on an elderly Asian woman on Market Street San Francisco. Effort I got more details

— Dennis O’Donnell (@DennisKPIX) March 17, 2021

A video showing police and medical staff at the scene was shared on Twitter by Dennis O’Donnell, sports director at KPIX 5. The clip has been watched at least 3 million times since Wednesday.

O’Donnell, who saw the incident while on his morning run, said: “There was a guy on a stretcher and a frustrated angry woman with a stick in her hand.”

The two elderly victims were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Pham was shopping for groceries at the United Nations Farmers’ Market when he was assaulted. He suffered a fractured nose, cuts and bruises.

“It has yet to be determined how serious Ngoc’s neck injuries are as doctors are still evaluating them,” according to a GoFundMe page set up for him by the Community Youth Center of San Francisco. The page has raised more than $110,000 so far.

The assaults in San Francisco came just a day after eight people died in shootings at three massage parlors in Georgia.

Six of those killed on Tuesday were Asian women, raising fears that the gunman could have targeted people of Asian descent.

Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been charged with murder. The shootings remain under investigation but, on Wednesday, law enforcement officials said the suspect had told police he had a sex addiction and “it was not racially motivated.”

Experts and leaders in the Asian American community have warned that the Georgia shootings highlight the enduring objectification and stereotyping of Asian women.

Hate crimes against Asians in the U.S. have increased since the outbreak of COVID-19, which was first reported in Wuhan, China.

Such crimes rose 149 percent last year compared with the previous year, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University.

Stop AAPI Hate, a non-profit group that tracks cases involving members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, recorded 3,795 anti-Asian hate incidents between March 19, 2020—days after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic—and February 28.

More than 500 of these incidents were recorded this year, according to a Stop AAPI Hate report released on Tuesday.




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