Ziyian Kwan dances peaceful protest in response to racist graffiti at Chinese Cultural Centre

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      Artist Ziyian Kwan will be performing a dance action until 4 p.m. inside the gates of the Chinese Cultural Centre on Pender Street today, in response to recent acts of racism.

      The centre was vandalized by on April 2, when someone defaced four large glass windows of the Chinatown institution with racist remarks about Asians.

      The centre, located at 50 East Pender Street, was founded in 1973 to promote cultural understanding and friendship between Chinese Canadians and other Canadians.

      Kwan says she is performing the peaceful dance action "in celebration of Asian Heritage Month and also in solidarity against racist aggression".

      Unlike most of her public performances, and those staged by her company dumb instrument Dance, Kwan asked the public to stay away from the site. "I will feel your solidarity from afar. From the ashes of hatred and fear, a phoenix rises, and it is love," she posted on Facebook on the weekend.

      On a widely shared Facebook post, Kwan also reported her own ugly experience of racism as she prepared for the performance Friday, when a stranger yelled at her "You people made this shit up in Wuhan city and now you've brought it here to Canada." 

      "I stopped at The Chinese Cultural Centre where the racist graffiti happened because I'm planning a peaceful dance action there and wanted to reconnoitre. As I walked my bike away to print the sign that you see in this photo, a man said these hideous words to me," she wrote on the platform. "I came back about 20 minutes later and Fred Kwok who is the Board Chair of The Chinese Cultural Centre and who took this photo, gave me his blessing to do a dance action and even invited that it happen inside the gates that are currently protecting the Centre from vandals."

      In a later post, she revealed police had promised to patrol the area to make sure the performance "stays peaceful".

      Last week, the Straight reported the Vancouver Police Department saying there has been an increase in anti-Asian hate-motivated incidents and crimes. Of the 15 hate crimes reported to police in April, 11 of them involved anti-Asian elements.