Thu, Feb 06, 2020 - Page 3 News List

Virus Outbreak: Demand to depart Welsh market was racist: shopkeeper

The Guardian

A market trader in Wales has accused fellow shopkeepers of bigotry after she was told to leave her stall because of fears she might have a coronavirus first reported in China.

Lu Su-chu (呂束珠), 54, returned to the historic indoor market in Aberystwyth after traveling to Taiwan — about 1,000km from the center of the outbreak in Wuhan, China — only for some traders to tell her she was “putting them all at risk.”

Lu, who has been running her stall for 15 years, said that some traders held a meeting to ban her from reopening the shop in Aberystwyth Market Hall.

“When I arrived at the hall and got to my own stall, the man who works opposite mine immediately asked me to leave the building,” Lu said.

“He stressed that every member of the hall all think I must leave the building, otherwise he will contact the council to force me out,” she said.

Another trader next to him supported his demand, she added.

“I was really upset, it was very emotional and upsetting, and I’m angry,” Lu said.

“There are so many cases of the virus in the rest of this world, so why did this trader target me? I have no doubt it is because of my nationality, because of my skin color. That’s what makes me deeply unhappy about this,” she said.

“I think they assume I have gone to China, but I didn’t go, and they still didn’t believe me. I don’t know if they believe me now,” she added.

Su said that she was willing to forgive them, as she just wanted an end to the issue.

Other traders have rallied around her by putting posters up on their stalls that read: “I support Su Chu Lu.”

Jeweler David Gilbert said: “I immediately gave Lu my continued support. This has been caused by a minority in the market hall.”

However, another trader, who asked not to be named, said: “If she had been to London or France and there had been an outbreak there it would have been the same. It’s not something we’re all involved in, and I don’t think it was handled the best way, but [it was] not ever intended to be racial.”

Taiwan has 11 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, compared with two in the UK.

In China, there have been more than 24,000 infections and nearly 500 deaths.

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