This week’s featured article


Airlines halt flights from China. Schools in Europe uninvite exchange students. Restaurants in South Korea turn away Chinese customers.

As a deadly virus spreads beyond China, governments, businesses and educational institutions are struggling to find the right response. Safeguarding public health is a priority. How to do that without stigmatizing the entire population of the country where the outbreak began is the challenge.

With the death toll reaching 170 and the roster of cases climbing above 7,700, worries are growing. Many global companies with operations in China have asked workers to stay home, airlines are curtailing flights to the nation and several countries including Japan have begun evacuating citizens from the most stricken zone around the city of Wuhan.

Though the vast majority of cases involve people from the central Chinese metropolis or nearby cities, or those who have been in contact with them, people of Asian appearance around the world say they’ve been subject to increased wariness since the disease began spreading. In some cases, baser emotions have come to the fore.

A Chinese woman visiting Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture, said that a server at a restaurant shouted “Chinese! Out!” at her, according to a recording shared on a Weibo account.

The recording, which included a subsequent phone call to the unnamed eatery, was shared by a reporter from Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV.

A woman who answered the phone at the restaurant said it was refusing customers from China and Southeast Asia because the owner was worried about the coronavirus, according to the recording. “If our owner contracts the virus and dies, whose responsibility is it then?” she said.

In South Korea, signs have begun popping up on restaurant windows saying, “no Chinese allowed.” A casino in the country catering to foreign visitors said it’s no longer accepting groups of tourists from China. More than half a million people signed a petition, submitted to the government, calling for a ban on visitors from the nearby country of 1.4 billion.

First published in The Japan Times on Jan. 30.

Warm up

One minute chat about your worries.


Collect words related to health e.g., hospital, illness, life, exercise.

New words

1) stigmatize: regard with disgrace, e.g., “The proposed law stigmatizes victims of sexual assault.”

2) roster: a list of people’s names, often with tasks they’ve been assigned, e.g., “Looking down the roster of duties, Max should be in charge of payments.”

3) evacuate: remove someone to a safe place, e.g. “The Australian police evacuated the town due to the approaching fires.”

Guess the headline

Chinese tourists find they are not wel_ _ _ _ as fear over co_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ takes hold


1) What is happening to Chinese tourists?

2) What caused this situation?

3) What kinds of discrimination are they experiencing?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What do you think about this news?

2) How can we avoid the virus without discriminating against people?

3) What do you do to stay healthy?






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