Respect Equality

Asian grandmother who fought off attacker gets $645k in GoFundMe donations

Story at a glance

  • Xiao Zhen Xie, 75, was waiting to cross the street at a traffic light on San Francisco’s Market Street Wednesday when a man punched her in the face.
  • Xie reportedly fought back by picking up a wooden plank and striking the man across the face.
  • The assault comes as crimes and hate incidents against Asian Americans have sharply risen over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

A GoFundMe account established for an elderly Asian woman who was assaulted on a San Francisco street and fought off her attacker has raised more than $645,000. 

Xiao Zhen Xie, 75, was waiting to cross the street at a traffic light on San Francisco’s Market Street Wednesday morning when a man allegedly walked up and punched her in the face. 


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Xie reportedly fought back by picking up a wooden plank and striking the man across the face. 

Video of the aftermath shows Xie holding a towel to her bloodied, swollen face while still clutching the makeshift weapon with police and paramedics on the scene. Her alleged attacker is seen lying on a stretcher with injuries to his face. Both were taken to the hospital for treatment and Xie returned home Wednesday night. Police said the man was hospitalized for a “prior medical condition.”

San Francisco Police identified the man as 39-year-old Steven Jenkins. He’s also believed to have also assaulted an 83-year-old Vietnamese American man at a grocery store 30 minutes before the incident involving Xie. He was booked at the San Francisco Jail on two charges of assault and two charges of elder abuse. 

Police said they are working to determine if racial bias was a motivating factor in the incidents. 

Xie’s grandson John Chen set up the GoFundMe Thursday, writing that his grandmother suffered two serious black eyes and has been severely affected mentally, physically and emotionally. Chen said the funds will be used to cover her medical expenses, therapy treatment and “her bills that we will have to pay constantly from now on.”

More than $645,000 has been raised so far, well beyond the $50,000 goal. 

“After one full day of rest, my grandmother’s condition has improved slightly. However her overall mental health is still unstable. Whenever the issue is brought up to her, she gets extremely emotional and starts crying,” Chen wrote

The assault comes as crimes and hate incidents against Asian Americans have sharply risen over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, as racist language aimed at Asians has been used to describe the virus and its origins.

A shooting spree at three Atlanta massage parlors this week left eight people dead, six of whom were Asian women. Authorities are investigating whether the shootings constitute a hate crime.


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