Analysis

Concern Of Chinese Community Over Hate Mail Should Be Taken Seriously

The attacks on social media are unjustified and irresponsible causing racial tension and hatred. Tomorrow it could be against iTaukei or Indo-Fijians.
13 Mar 2019 11:51
Concern Of Chinese Community Over Hate Mail Should Be Taken Seriously
One of the few times that law was used was in the 1970s when Fijian Nationalist Party leader Sakeasi Butadroka was convicted and jailed for derogatory remarks against Indo-Fijians.

The concern of the Chinese Community over its unjustified and irresponsible vilification in the false kidnap claim of a 13-year-old boy should be taken seriously.

This is because tomorrow it could be the iTaukei, or Indo-Fijian communities facing an unfair backlash over something they did not do.

It is the extremist racist views on social media that should be a matter of grave concern not only to the Chinese, but to all right-thinking citizens.

Our Chinese cannot be blamed for  asking the question: Can the law protect us from such unwarranted attacks? Or Can the law punish those responsible?

The Police have decided not to proceed further with the “kidnap” matter after they discovered that the boy had lied to his father about the kidnap claim.

It may have ended there for the Police and the family – but not for the many people who took to social media to launch scathing attacks against our Chinese Community.

This incident again raises the issue about how social media challenges the law.

How effective is the law in dealing with matters like this? We cannot blame the Chinese for thinking along the same lines. Within the Chinese community it has also been asked whether the Public Order Act has been breached.

Any action that causes racial hatred is a breach of that law. One of the few times that law was used was in the 1970s when Fijian Nationalist Party leader Sakeasi Butadroka was convicted and jailed for derogatory remarks against the Indo-Fijians.

Many in our Chinese community are citizens, born and bred here and are also called Fijians. It is the racial profiling that brings up the racial question and causes ethnic tension and division to rise.

The Chinese or any other ethnic group for that matter do not deserve to be abused and vilified. It is humiliating and can cause serious emotional trauma.

The perpetrators get away with it and the victims are left with grief and pain.

Some of the media are to a certain extent culpable in the way they tried to sensationalise the story, missing the red flags that dotted the trail of the boy’s fabricated story to appease a concerned father.

But the big concern now is how we deal with the racial slurs and attacks against an ethnic group on social media, refusing to accept that the kidnap claim was not true.

This is the challenge we face moving forward. The perpetrators, knowing that they can continue with impunity, will not stop until they are hauled in to face justice.

Our law is only effective when it is enforceable. An attack on an ethnic community is an attack on all ethnic groups because we all enjoy equal rights as citizens of this country. All responsible citizens should not condone it because it is morally wrong.

The expectation is that when something happens that is out of line with our collective goodwill and humanity and appears out of kilter with the law that something will be done to restore confidence.

This is understood to be going through the minds of some of our Chinese brothers and sisters. We can’t blame them.
Feedbacknemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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