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Coronavirus

Shunned in China, Hubei natives live in isolation

Discrimination against people from province leads to job losses and evictions

HONG KONG -- When Zhang Yu'e walked into a luxury fashion store in the city of Chongqing in southwestern China last month, she was greeted by a cluster of friendly sales people. But as soon as Zhang filled out her membership card, the smiles faded and the staff stepped back.

"No one at the store wanted to go near me," recalled Zhang, whose name includes a character representing the traditional name of Hubei Province, where her father is from. But in a country where more than 2,000 people have died from the coronavirus that has its origins in Hubei, the mere mention of the province is increasingly becoming a stigma.

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