Chinese students in NZ facing racism, discrimination over coronavirus

International students in New Zealand are facing distress, racism and even discrimination due to the coronoavirus outbreak, an advocate says.

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Sabrina Alhady of the NZ International Students Association says students are being targeted. Source: Breakfast

Speaking this morning to TVNZ 1's Breakfast, Sabrina Alhady of the New Zealand International Students Association said students here, especially Chinese, are feeling anxious and their mental health is suffering.

Ms Alhady has previously urged educational institutions to modify their teaching schedules to accommodate students affected by travel bans for passengers who have been through China, and this morning said students are doing it rough.

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"International students are facing quite a bit of distress, so in terms of mental health there has been a huge impact," Ms Alhady said.

"There have been a lot of issues with racial discrimination and also just academic support issues.

"They don't know what's going to happen next, and they don't know how this is going to impact their education."

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Ms Alhady said students have faced both casual racism and and "just straight out discrimination".

"For example, landlords - so we had heard about accommodation issues, with students who have been denied access to their accommodation and any properties that they have rented out.

"Landlords are discriminating over the fact that they are of Asian descent or are Chinese.

"We can sense that there is quite a hostility there towards Chinese students."

Ms Alhady said it's so important for people to take an "empathetic" view of the situation.