• US Senate Passes Hate Crimes Bill To Protect Asian Americans
(Photo: Yonhap News)

The United States Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill on Thursday aimed at fighting a drastic increase in violence and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders amid the pandemic.

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act cleared the chamber in a rare bipartisan vote of 94-1.

If enacted, it would allow expedited federal government investigation on COVID-19 related hate crimes and provide guidance for local law enforcement agencies to report hate crimes, expand public education campaigns, and combat discriminatory language in describing the pandemic.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill next month.

President Joe Biden has said he is eager to sign the bill into law.

Many, including Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, have partly attributed the recent increase in anti-Asian hate incidents to the former administration.

Former President Donald Trump had often referred to the novel coronavirus as the "China virus" or "kung flu," which is believed to have exacerbated racial prejudice against Asian Americans.

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