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Granny who fought off attacker in US praised for bravery

A 76-year-old Chinese grandmother who fought off an attacker has been hailed for her courage by many in China.

Xie Xiaozhen was waiting to cross a street in downtown San Francisco when a man punched her, she said.

She instinctively responded by hitting him with a wooden stick, said local news reports.

There has been a rise in reports of attacks against Asian-Americans in recent months.

The hashtag “Asian-American granny retaliates against attacker” went viral on Chinese microblogging site Weibo, with 1.4 billion views.

Many online praised Ms Xie, saying she was “really brave”, while another pointed out that she “taught him a lesson”.

Others pointed out that it was necessary for the Asian-American diaspora to “unite” and “fight back… or else they will always quietly suffer and be bullied”.

One Weibo user also called for Asian people as a whole to unite despite their differences, according to an SCMP report.

“China, Japan and South Korea have never been on good terms, but people of these roots in the US, please be united because your power will be stronger.”

‘Very traumatised’

The attack took place on Wednesday when Ms Xie, who is originally from Guangdong, was waiting to cross the road.

It’s claimed she suddenly heard someone yell “Chinese” before she was punched in the face. She fought back using a wooden stick she saw nearby, according to reports.

A video online taken right after the attack shows Ms Xie wailing as she puts an ice pack on an extremely bruised eye, while the alleged assailant is seen lying on a stretcher. San Francisco police have said a 39-year-old man was arrested and they are investigating the assault.

Ms Xie’s daughter said her mother was “very traumatised” after the attack, adding that her right eye was injured.

“[She is] very scared and [her] eye is still bleeding,” Dong-Mei Li told KPIX- TV. “The right eye still cannot see anything.”

Her grandson, John Chen, later posted a GoFundMe for his grandmother, asking for donations to cover her medical expenses.

He said that she was suffering from “two serious black eyes, and one that is bleeding unstoppably, her wrist has also swelled up”.

Mr Chen added that her mental health was “unstable”, saying that “whenever the issue is brought up… she gets extremely emotional and starts crying”.

He said in a statement that Ms Xie hoped the “younger generation of Asian Americans can all stand up for one another and the elderly”.”It’s scary just to be an Asian American woman”

Just a day earlier, a man in the US state of Georgia was charged with murder over the killing of eight people – of which six were Asian women.

The attack has not been classed as racially motivated but many Asian communities in the US say they have been left in fear.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a rise in rhetoric blaming the disease on Asian people.

Chinese Foreign Minister Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in a statement on Thursday that discrimination against Chinese people had been “on the rise in the US”.

“Such despicable actions, born out of senseless discrimination, make us furious and sad,” he said.


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