At the end of 2020, the Scottish Alliance of Regional Equality Councils (SAREC) carried out a research project to better understand the experiences of Chinese, East and South-East Asian communities in Scotland during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.

In a Scotland-wide survey, 70 community members from Aberdeen took part. In both Aberdeen and across Scotland, around one third of participants had experienced prejudice or hate crime during the pandemic, or were unsure whether they had. Some who were unsure later expanded on situations such as being stared at when wearing a mask, having objects thrown at them, and being uncertain about comments from others because they did not speak English fluently. More than a quarter of Aberdeen participants knew other community members who had experienced prejudice or hate crime during the pandemic, which was lower compared to national figures. Most incidents were not reported to any organisation – in Aberdeen, only one was reported to a relevant institution.

More than half of participants saw or heard racist remarks toward East Asians during the pandemic, whether online or offline, and a quarter saw or heard these on a monthly basis or more often. Overall, 40% of participants felt less safe than before the pandemic, which was slightly lower than the 46% recorded at a national level.