SAN DIEGO — The House of China in Balboa Park was hit with vandalism last weekend after the president of the landmark discovered shards of glass and a baseball-sized hole at one of its cottages.
On Saturday, the door that was damaged was boarded up by the staff.
House of China says they have hired a security guard to help volunteers feel safe. They, as well as the community, are worried that it was targeted in a hate crime.
“I saw the rock on the ground and the shattered glass,” House of China President David Seid said.
Last weekend, Seid said he came across shards of glass and a baseball-sized hole at one of the international cottages. It was the only house that was found damaged.
“Frustrating and sad,” visitor Tiffany Castillo said. “It saddens me to hear that it would be damaged at all. It’s hard to fathom and understand. It’s just frustrating.”
After a rise in attacks targeting Asian Americans across the country, staff and community members worry they were targeted in a hate crime.
Seid said the reason whey they hired private security when they first opened in July is because of the reports of harassment and attacks on Chinese elders.
“We wanted to be sure that our volunteers felt safe,” he said.
The House of China is open to visitors every weekend to showcase Chinese culture, language and food.
“Being a person who is half Chinese, it’s scary, because when you see things like this happen,” Castillo said. “I mean I don’t understand why someone would be violent against something like this House of China, a place where we’re learning about other cultures and religions, which is what makes up our beautiful country. It kind of makes me nervous.”
The House of China along with other Asian Pacific Islander houses in the cottages are now giving away hundreds of yellow whistles for people to use in case they feel threatened or attacked.
The state attorney general said anti-Asian hate crimes more than doubled last year and is up 107%.
“It makes me want to take action to bring awareness to people, to educate people,” Castillo said. “I think it’s important we all stand together against racism and hate.”
The House of China staff says it is giving away yellow whistles to anyone who may fear for their safety. Their doors are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.