Leading French magazine Le Point was fined 1,500 euros (HK$16,000) yesterday by a court for slurring the country’s ethnic Chinese community as stingy, work-obsessed tax dodgers.
The ruling followed a legal complaint filed by prominent anti-racism group SOS Racisme over an article published on August 23, 2012 entitled “The Devious Success of the Chinese in France”.
Le Point chief Franz-Olivier Giesbert had defended the article as a humorous piece of writing that had been misconstrued.
A boxed text accompanying the article listed the “Five Commandments of the Chinese businessman”.
These included: “Thou shalt work 80 hours a week”, “Thou shalt sleep in thy shop” and “Thou shalt not pay taxes.”
The court said three of the points were defamatory and rejected Giesbert’s plea that the piece was humorous.
“To the best of our knowledge it’s a first in France,” SOS Racisme’s lawyer Alexandre Braun said.
The court also ordered Giesbert to pay 1,500 euros to SOS Racisme in compensation and interest and an equal amount to cover the costs of the proceedings.
The AJCF, a body representing Chinese youths living in France, hailed the verdict as both “historic” and “symbolic”.
AJCF vice-president Maryline Zheng said the article only served to fuel “fantasies and suspicion about French nationals of Chinese origin.”