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    Asian candidate for NY poll tells of attack

    By WILLIAM HENNELLY in New York | China Daily | Updated: 2021-03-27 10:41
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    People in San Mateo, California, rally against anti-Asian hate on Saturday. A similar rally was held in New York City on Feb 28, 2021, against the backdrop of a reported spate of violent crimes against Asians and Asian Americans in the United States. [Photo/Agencies]

    A Chinese-American candidate for the New York City Council said she had been pushed down a transit hub stairwell in Manhattan recently while she was there to advocate for the homeless.

    "Homelessness is a major issue.... I was there to actually check out the homeless situation, just to give them an advocate. ... I really wanted to see why they were down there," Susan Lee said on Thursday.

    "When I was down there to try to help, I became a victim of an assault."

    Lee, 42, an Ivy League graduate, said she was in the stairwell at the Oculus station on March 17 when she spotted a woman staring at her.

    "You know she has this mischievous look on her face, and I was just thinking like, 'Oh gosh, this isn't good'," Lee told the New York Post. "She pushed me," Lee said, adding that she had grasped the handrail to break her fall.

    Lee said she wasn't sure if the woman, who she said appeared to be homeless, targeted her because of her race or because she was alone and an easy target, the Post reported.

    "If I wasn't prepared for her to push me, I would have fallen all the way down the stairs," Lee said."I was holding on to the rail really tightly, and I had my other hand in front of my face."

    She fell only a few steps but did suffer a sprained ankle.

    "I'm a marathoner and I ran through pain," Lee said."It was tender, it was sore, but I'm better now."

    Lee reported the incident to police a few days later after being prompted by friends.

    She said the New York Police Department had her look at several hundred photos of a possible suspect, whom Lee described as a black woman, the Post reported, No arrest has been made.

    Lee said the incident has made her reconsider how often she rides the subway.

    "Now I'm always walking," said Lee, who is running for the District 1 council seat in Lower Manhattan. "With the rise in Asian hate crime, I am always looking over my shoulder."

    Random violence

    There have been numerous attacks against Asians on New York City streets and transit systems, and the incidents have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The San Francisco Bay Area also has experienced a rise in random violence against Asian Americans.

    In a blog on her campaign website, Lee addresses subway crime and the rash of anti-Asian attacks.

    "New York City's economy will not rebound until crime is brought down and subways are safe," she wrote.

    Lee also describes how the verbal and physical assaults have left many in the Asian community on edge.

    "A recent increase in violence against older Asian Americans is dangerous and particularly disturbing. In late January, Vicha Ratanapakdee (age 84) was violently struck and killed in San Francisco," Lee wrote on her blog, which also detailed attacks on other Asian Americans, including a 91-year-old.

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