Experiences of Chinese, East and South-East Asian Communities during COVID-19 in Scotland

Full report (English)
Summary report: English · Traditional Chinese · Simplified Chinese


At the end of 2020, the Scottish Alliance of Regional Equality Councils (SAREC) carried out this research project (funded by the National Lottery, Awards for All Scotland) to better understand the experiences of Chinese, East and South-East Asian communities in Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. 218 people took part in the survey, with most of the participants stating a Chinese ethnic background (82%).
Most participants described a negative experience during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. The main themes expressed were related to the daily activities that people were unable to do and the harmful impact on their mental health and on their jobs or source of income. Key findings included:

  • The majority of participants were unaware or unsure of where to find support or advice to help cope with the pandemic and their concerns. Two thirds (67%) were either unaware or unsure about the support available from charities and councils and similarly, most participants (55%) were either unaware or unsure of where to turn to for help regarding specific areas of concern, especially for the elderly population.
  • One sixth of participants (16%) stated they feel the pandemic has been worse for Chinese, East and South-East Asian communities, many of them attributing this to more prejudice directed at them and being blamed after the initial outbreak of the virus in China.
  • Up to one third (33%) of the participants potentially experienced episodes of prejudice or hate crime during the pandemic and several mentioned more than one incident. An even higher percentage of people (42%) reported to know of other members of their community experiencing prejudice or hate crime, while over two thirds (69%) heard or read racist remarks towards their community during the pandemic.
  • The incidence of episodes of prejudice and discrimination that was reported to authorities or organisations was very low. Only 6 incidents were reported out of 71 potential cases.