Author: Liu Xin
Posted on: Global Times, March 29th, 2017
China on Tuesday urged France to protect the safety and rights of Chinese nationals in the country after a Chinese man was shot dead at his home by French police, causing uproar on the Chinese Internet.
Hua Chunying, spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, told a press conference on Tuesday that China called on France to “guarantee the safety and legal rights and interests of Chinese citizens in France and to treat the reaction of Chinese people to this incident in a rational way.”
The Chinese national was shot dead at his home in Paris by a police officer following a dispute with a neighbor on Sunday night. Some French media reports described the killing as “legitimate defense” against “an assailant with scissors.” Police said the 56-year-old man, surnamed Liu, injured one officer before being. However, a daughter of the man said her father did not attack the officer at all, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The deceased was allegedly preparing fish when the officers arrived, and came to the door with the scissors in his hand, Reuters reported.
More than 150 Chinese nationals staged a protest outside a police station on Erik Satie street in the 19th arrondissement of Paris on Monday evening while French officers used tear gas to disperse protesters, Xinhua reported.
At least one man of Chinese origin was injured and 35 were arrested after the clashes, AFP reported. Three police officers sustained minor injuries.
The incident has also sparked discussions on Chinese social media. A webpage on Sina Weibo with the hashtag “Chinese national shot dead by police in France” had been viewed more than 360,000 times as of press time.
“We firmly oppose the police. Is it time for us to boycott France-made products?” one netizen commented. Another netizen wrote “I have heard about Chinese people being robbed in France many times, but not as severe as this incident. How can France plan to attract more Chinese tourists if they could not manage their police?”
The incident has triggered anger as well as worries among Chinese nationals in France with many people reposting video footage of the Monday evening clashes and calling for justice on Facebook and Twitter.
Overseas Chinese organizations in France released a joint announcement on Monday, saying that all of them should stand together to appeal for justice for the dead and “be in the front line to safeguard that the group not be infringed.”
Ren Limin, head of the Association of Chinese Residents in France, told the Global Times that although the investigation is still ongoing, the incident has caused Chinese nationals’ concern for their security.
“The incident may have an influence on Sino-French ties … there is a lot to discuss in the case, including why the police acted so precipitately and why they just shot him dead,” Ren said.
Representations to France
Hua said on Tuesday that China “immediately ordered its embassy in France to activate an emergency response mechanism [and] made representations with the French side, asking them to get to the bottom of the incident.”
“Meanwhile, we hope that our citizens in France can express their wishes and demands in a lawful and reasonable way,” said Hua.
Two overseas Chinese organizations in Spain also planned to stage protests in front of the French diplomatic outposts in Madrid, Barcelona, Milan and Rome from Tuesday to Thursday.
“The lack of trust in authority could lead to violence and clashes, which is also the reason for a series of disputes between ethnic minorities and public authorities,” Lin Yasong, a legal counselor employed by the Chinese Embassy in France, told the Global Times.
Lin said that some Chinese nationals may be disappointed in French authorities due to a lack of security as a minority group. “But the judicial authorities in France are relatively impartial and have strictly supervised the police,” Lin said.
However, Zheng Ruolin, an expert on French politics and social issues from Fudan University, told the Global Times that the lack of transparency in dealing with the incident has enraged the Chinese group.
“The trend of xenophobia is simmering in France under a bad economy and far-right politicians have many supporters in the police. People of Chinese origin should stand together to protect their interests and get more involved in politics to get their voices heard,” Zheng said.