• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 4:43pm

'Racist attack' on Chinese students in France sparks widespread outrage

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 June, 2013, 11:50am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 June, 2013, 8:35am

China’s internet users reacted with outrage to reports of a racist assault on six Chinese students studying in France, while others denounced the victims as children of wealthy officials.

The oenology students were attacked early on Saturday in the wine-producing Bordeaux region, France’s interior ministry said, describing the violence as an act of xenophobia.

The Chinese embassy in Paris said on Sunday that it “strongly condemns” the assault.

“We ask relevant authorities in France to investigate the case swiftly, to bring the perpetrators to justice, and take relevant action to ensure the safety of Chinese students,” it said in a statement.

Three of the alleged attackers have been detained and are now in police custody. A female student seriously hurt by a glass bottle thrown at her face during the assault was in hospital and underwent surgery.

The attack was widely criticised on China’s most popular social networking service, Sina Weibo.

“How dangerous is France! We need to be cautious about going there now, and avoid going as far as we can. We should go to better countries,” one user wrote.

“This is too far for the French people. My impression of France used to be quite good, but now it’s damaged,” said another.

One of the victims was the daughter of a retired senior government official, the head of the student’s school said.

Chinese media carried reports of the attacks on Sunday, but did not mention the victim’s political connection.

The topic of politicians sending their children abroad to study provokes widespread resentment in China. It is rarely discussed by the tightly controlled press, which seldom comments on the family life of senior officials.

Still, some internet users speculated that the students were wealthy. “Those who can afford to study abroad are either the children of government officials or rich families,” one user said.

“They’re not worthy of sympathy,” another user said.

Others reading English-language reports turned their anger on the students. “Even foreigners can’t bear with the migration of corrupt officials and are punishing them abroad. This is karma,” said a user.

“That a random violent crime abroad has a government official’s child involved again proves there are no clean officials in China,” another wrote.

The attack came on the eve of one of the biggest wine shows in the world, Vinexpo, which is held in the region. China, which is French winemakers’ third biggest market, has increased its participation at the show, with 18 exhibitors expected this year, up from two in 2011.

On Sunday, French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said France’s image had taken a hit following the “unspeakable act”.

“It’s the image of France which has been dented with these xenophobic attitudes,” Le Foll said, speaking at the inauguration of the wine fair.

Two representatives from the Chinese embassy were due to meet with Le Foll later on Sunday.


More on this story

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

so because of China's business dealings, random Chinese students should be attacked? I guess Hong Kongers should also be attacked in other countries too if someone doesn't like Hong Kong's business dealings? Your logic is dumb.
Using your twisted logic, most of China and hong Kong should be rioting over white folk buying up Chinese businesses (or depriving them of growing in the first place), in addition to most Chinese high streets and brands now consisting of white brands and retail stores.
But the naiviety of Hkers, so blinded with their discrimination of "mainlanders" (Clue: outside of China we are all the same) and their propensity to blame them for everything takes precedence.
ethnic Chinese are their own worst enemy. The comments of "oh they're rich, they're not worthy of sympathy" and "foreigners don't like the children of corrupt officials".... how stupid are they? Do they really think whites specifically distinguish between ethnic Chinese of government families? No, if an attack is racist then all they care is that they are Chinese.... that's what racism is. It affects all Chinese, these ignorant commenters above would be wise to read on the countless stories of ethnic Chinese being assaulted or killed.... whether they are born in France, "The west" or from China...
Mary M
Every country has mindless, unconscious, mean-spirited **** with no sense of right and wrong. This attack makes me sick to my stomach. My area here in the US has quite a few Chinese. I was in China in October and most people were very kind to me (although I had lots of stares. :). I hope they put them away and throw away the keys.
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that's wrong with the world.
Paul Farmer
It is deplorable. How the Chinese choose to drink their wine or spend their money is their business. The attackers deserve to be punished as they should be in any country. It is downright offensive to even try to defend this kind of racist activity.
also there are mentions that the attackers are muslim... i doubt another minority in France are capable of understanding the political intricacies of white French vinyards being bought out,
The following I received from someone I know who is from Hong Kong and has been residing in Europe continuously for 0ver 30 years. She wrote:
French people are extreme patriots, they love only themselves, they are very snobbish alright. In my opinion, the number one reason for the trouble is due to the high unemployment rate, secondly is the uncivilized behaviour of the foreigners, so when These two reasons add together, it means disaster.
The new rich, not just our own folks, but many others as well, often behave so badly and that´s why there´s this name in Chinese: "explode fai wu". Cultivated people respect how you behave yourself, not how much you have in your pocket.
As a European I strongly condemn what those "French" people did. There are no excuses. As for the wine business, you also talk besides the point. Many (rich) Chinese buy up the castles, and also companies, mainly to be 100% sure they have genuine French wine: they export most to China for their own use, not trusting other "imports" on the local market.
You have been "China Bashing" here so often that I just can't help but to suspect that you have been screwed big time by Chinese before, did they raped your spouse or something???
No offence, but your "friend" is from Hong Kong, and predictably, she is not showing much impartiality towards the Mainland Chinese - although to be fair, this is not just Hkers problem, but orientals in general - they seem to have a "self hating" complex which - no matter what the situation, no matter how one sided the abuse is - attempt to make sense of it, give reason to violent abuse and assault, essentially justifying why racists attack and kill their own people. No other race I know does this.
Also, did your friend read the part where WOMEN were attacked WITH GLASS BOTTLES???? In which part of society - regardless of how "rude" they were perceived to be - justifies glassing a woman???? Your friend needs to wise up and start realising that racism is racism - NO EXCUSES.



SCMP.com Account