A crowdfunding campaign set up just yesterday for the elderly Chinese woman assaulted on San Francisco's Market Street on Wednesday has already raised over $300,000 — likely due in no small part to the fact that the victim in this case was seen fighting back and did enough damage to her attacker that he was wheeled away on a stretcher.
KPIX spoke to the injured woman, 75-year-old Xiao Zhen Xie, at her senior living facility on Thursday, with her daughter Dong-Mei Li serving as interpreter. Li says her mother is "very traumatized, very scared and this eye is still bleeding," adding that "the right eye still cannot see anything and still bleeding and we have something to absorb the bleeding."
Xie has lived in San Francisco for 26 years.
Xie says that the attack, which took place at Market and UN Plaza around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, was entirely unprovoked, and her immediate instinct was to fight back with a stick that she found nearby.
Reportedly there was a second victim as well, an 83-year-old Asian man, and a 39-year-old suspect (the one seen bleeding on the stretcher in the Twitter video below) is being investigated for the assaults. According to KPIX, "police say they are working to determine if bias was a factor."
Update: NBC Bay Area reports that the suspect has been arrested, and he's identified as Steven Jenkins. And it may be that Xie's act of self-defense was not what put him in the hospital — police now say that Jenkins was hospitalized "for an unrelated medical condition." And apparently a security guard who learned of the attack on the 83-year-old man, which came first, chased Jenkins down — and during the chase, the assault on Xie occurred. The guard is credited with detaining Jenkins until police arrived.
Just came upon an attack on an elderly Asian woman on Market Street San Francisco. Effort I got more details pic.twitter.com/5o8r0eeHE2— Dennis O'Donnell (@DennisKPIX) March 17, 2021
Xie's grandson, John Chen, writes on the GoFundMe page, "I am amazed by her bravery."
"This traumatic event has left her with PTSD," Chen continues. "Although she has health insurance that covers the basics, there are still many medical expenses that cannot be covered on her own. She is a cancer survivor and she also has had diabetes for over 10 years now. The funds that we receive will be used to cover her medical expenses, her therapy treatment, and her bills that we will have to pay constantly from now on."
A spokesperson for GoFundMe tells the Chronicle that the page was the most-viewed fundraiser on the site Thursday, with donations coming from over 8,000 individuals in all 50 states, and 42 different countries.
"We want to thank everyone that is donating and that has shown my family massive support through this very traumatic event," Chen writes. "My heart is with all the other elderly Asians that has also been seriously injured or killed in this wave of attacks towards the Asian community."
The incident quickly followed on the mass shooting in Atlanta that left eight people dead, six of them Asian women, and it follows on multiple violent incidents in the Bay Area and elsewhere in which elderly Asian Americans have been targeted.
On Tuesday, a 59-year-old Filipino man from Vallejo was attacked and badly bruised on Market Street, while walking down the street with his Trader Joe's lunch. His name is Danny Yu Chang, and he tells the Chronicle, "Nothing is safe here in California. Especially for the old people." And he adds, "All this hatred of Asian Americans, I don’t know why it’s happening, but it’s got to stop."
Also, a 75-year-old Asian man was killed in a strong-arm robbery while out for a walk in his neighborhood in Oakland last week. Two suspects are being held and are facing murder charges.
In related news on Thursday, a UCSF study found that there was a large uptick in anti-Asian hashtags on Twitter in the days immediately following a tweet from President Trump last year referring to COVID-19 as the "China virus."