Chinese netizens are criticizing French society and culture after a Chinese exchange student was harassed and assaulted on the Paris Metro last week.
The student, given the pseudonym Fang Fang, was riding the subway to visit friends last Thursday when she was verbally harassed by three young French commuters. Fang Fang, a student at a preparatory college at a public French university, stated that although her French skills are not so strong, she was able to recognize the racial slurs directed towards her, Sina reports.
The next day, Fang Fang and a friend also took the metro and once again crossed paths with one of the previous night’s antagonists, accompanied also by three other young French friends. This group began harassing Fang Fang and her friend, throwing things at them and eventually hitting the young student several times in the face and kicking her.
Fang Fang recounts that the cabin of the subway train was full of people, but when she called for help, nobody reacted except a middle-aged woman who pleaded with the attackers to stop.
Pierre Picard, a China expert at the Université de Paris VII, contextualized the assault for China Daily, relating current French xenophobia to recent terrorist attacks.
France has become an object of terrorist attacks, which makes some French repulse foreigners. Moreover, since economic conditions in France, and even in the whole of Europe, are not that positive, many French think foreigners coming to France make their incomes and businesses worse.
Opponents of this position might cite the economic contributions made by Chinese tour groups to France, sometimes 6,400-strong, and wealthy young couples who go to Paris for the perfect engagement photos.
Fang Fang’s account of the incident has garnered massive attention on Weibo, receiving 11,400 reposts and 5,755 comments by Wednesday. Comments on the story reveal Chinese attitudes and hurt pride regarding the treatment of their brethren overseas, with responding with racist attacks of their own.
A police report filed by Fang Fang noted bruises on the young woman’s body but currently no further action has been taken. Foreigners traveling in subways across the world may also want to learn from one Chinese woman and disguise their identities while hydrating their skin.
By Matthew Patel
[Images via on.cc // bcbay.com]