76-Year-Old Asian Woman Assaulted on San Francisco Sidewalk, Fights Back Against Attacker

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Earlier this month, President Biden spoke out against the recent rise in attacks targeting Asian Americans, telling the nation during his first primetime address in office that the violence must end.

“At this very moment, so many of them, our fellow Americans, they’re on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives, and still, still they’re forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America. … It’s wrong. It’s un-American. And it must stop,” Biden said at the time.

The issue of the rise of such violence during the pandemic era, spurred in large part by intentionally inflammatory scapegoating attempts by certain Republican leaders including the use of the derogatory phrase “China virus,” has been repeatedly mentioned over the last year by activists and concerned citizens as one in desperate need of addressing.

Those calls were further amplified in response to this week’s fatal shootings at three Atlanta-area spas, marking an attack from a white domestic terrorist during which six women of Asian descent were killed.

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And on Wednesday, an elderly Asian woman—Xiao Zhen Xie—was attacked in San Francisco while waiting for a traffic light. The suspect, per a report from a regional CBS outlet that also includes an interview with the victim, punched her in her left eye. After being punched by the man, 76-year-old Xiao Zhen Xie—despite sustaining injuries in need of attention—defended herself by grabbing what witnesses and her family have described as “a stick” that was nearby.

The suspect was seen in footage taken shortly after the attack on a stretcher with a bloodied face. Per witnesses cited in the CBS report, Xiao Zhen Xie defended herself by “pummeling” the attacker with the stick. Local police said a 39-year-old man is now being investigated as potentially being responsible for the attack, as well as another against an 83-year-old man. The aggravated assault investigation, as of Wednesday, remains ongoing.

The woman’s daughter, Dong-Mei Li, told KPIX 5 that her mother remains “traumatized” and “scared” after the incident.

“The right eye still cannot see anything and [is[ still bleeding and we have something to absorb the bleeding,” she said.

A GoFundMe has been launched by one Xiao Zhen Xie’s grandson. At the time of this writing, the fundraiser—which notes that Xiao Zhen Xie now has PTSD from the attack and is also a cancer survivor—has raised nearly $240,000 with an original goal of $50,000. Click here to donate.

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