Chinese Internet users reacted with outrage to reports of a racist assault on six Chinese oenology students studying in France yesterday, while others denounced the victims, who they said were children of wealthy officials.
The students were attacked in the early hours of Saturday in France’s wine-producing region of Bordeaux, the French Ministry of the Interior said, describing the violence as an act of xenophobia.
Two of the three alleged attackers have been detained and are now in police custody, while a female student was seriously hurt in the face by a glass bottle which was thrown at her.
The attack was widely criticized 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 its damaged,” another said.
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 yesterday, but did not mention the victim’s political connections.
The topic of politicians sending their children abroad to study provokes widespread resentment in China and is rarely discussed by the country’s tightly controlled press, which is rarely allowed to discuss 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 corrupted officials and are punishing them abroad. This is karma,” another user said.
“That a random violent crime abroad has a government official’s children involved again proves their are no clean officials in China,” another wrote.