Stop Asian Hate

Portland community unites after anti-Asian hate assault

By Gilda Balan, Correspondent

PORTLAND — For 73-year-old Xinmin Liang, it should have been a quiet day on the Portland waterfront, along the Willamette River. A nice day to go fishing.

Although he normally engaged in this pastime with a companion or two, this day was different. Fishing solo, however, proved to be a mistake, one with near fatal consequences.

An unidentified attacker came out of nowhere, picked up a log, and bashed Xinmin over the head.

Xinmin’a son Jie said his father had been fishing in the area since 2020, although usually he did so with companions.

“That’s his favorite spot,” Jie told Oregon Public Broadcasting, “It doesn’t occur to him that the place is not safe. It never came across his mind.”

The attack left Xinmin with a concussion and a broken arm. And because he does not speak English, he had to take public transit home before someone called 911 for him.

Jie is hoping that the crime will be investigated as a hate crime.

According to Jie, “If the city wants people to enjoy public places safely, we have to put things in measure to make people feel safe.”

Three weeks after the assault, the Asian-American community in Oregon state decided that enough was enough. They have joined forces to take action and hopefully prevent similar cases of apparent Asian hate from happening again.

Last week, community leaders met in order to organize a response to the attack.

Said Iris Zhao of the Chinese Friendship Association of Portland, “Waterfront Park is a public park, we should feel safe to visit there anytime, no matter (if) you go fishing or go walking.”

She told a local news station, “We feel in this public place it’s so unsafe for us, especially volatile for the Asian community.”

One of the community’s first steps was to organize 18 organizations to co-host a unity event near the site of the attack.

Organizers of the unity event say the assault was part of a troubling trend.

Olivia Jhao of the Lung Kong Tin Yee Association told a local station that “We’ve had a lot of Asian people get hurt, get beat up for no reason.”

David Ji, vice president of the Chinese Friendship Association of Portland,  said, “The event is to raise awareness by the public, by the policymakers, by the officials, that Asian hate and violence against any groups of this society should not be tolerated and the criminals should be punished.”

He said their mass action should cause the community “to work together to make this city a safe place again, for us and for seniors and for our future generations.”