More than 20 Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations called on President Joe Biden to further protect the community ahead of next week's release of the findings of an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.
The organizations said in a letter to Biden on Thursday that when the review of the virus's source was ordered in May, many people across the country had already begun to interpret it as "validation for the so-called 'lab leak theory.'" As the 90-day investigation is set to conclude at the end of this month, the groups warned that discussions of the report could aggravate anti-Asian bias, and they urged him to "redouble your efforts to combat anti-AAPI hate and violence — to speak out and to act."
"The sad but undeniable truth is that the simple existence of that report will put our communities at risk. We recognize your Administration's legitimate interest in identifying the source of this pandemic for the purpose of preventing future outbreaks," read the letter, spearheaded by the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and Stop AAPI Hate. "At the same time, perception matters."
Russell Jeung, a co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, said that regardless of the results, the organizations are concerned that people could weaponize the report to spread conspiracy theories, further motivating hate incidents.
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