French Chinese community fear spate of racist attacks after victim's death

The town centre of Aubervilliers
The town centre of Aubervilliers Open access/Archimatth

Chinese resident of a town on the outskirts of Paris are demanding protection from what they believe are racist attacks, following the death of a man killed by muggers.


Members of the Chinese community in Aubervilliers, north-east of Paris, held a memorial Sunday for Zhang Chaolin, a 49-year-old textile designer who died on Friday after five days in a coma.

At least 500 people gathered outside the council offices to pay tribute to Zhang and protest at a recent wave of violence they say is being directed at them.

Originally from Wenzhou city, Zhejiang province, the father of two had been attacked by three men while walking with a friend, according to police.

Zhang was reportedly attacked by three young people who kicked him in the sternum, causing him to fall and strike his head on the pavement. He lost consciousness and his bag was stolen.

Another Chinese man, whose surname is Zheng, was also injured.

Aubervilliers mayor Meriem Derkaoui, condemned the killing as a murder "with a racist targeting".

Police took DNA tests from Zhang's clothes but no matches with the police database were made.

Spate of attacks

Wu Changhong, a counsellor at the Chinese Rights Protection Centre, which was founded in March, said there had been increase in crime against Chinese in the area.

Earlier this year in the same area a Chinese man from Shandong was attacked and robbed in front of his home, suffering four broken ribs, he said, adding that no arrests were made.

A local Chinese group said they had recorded 100 attacks in Aubervilliers alone since November, Le Parisien newspaper reported.

The Chinese diaspora in France represents up to 700,000 people.

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