BEIJING- Chinese Internet users reacted with outrage to reports of a racist assault on six Chinese oenology students studying in France on Sunday, while others denounced the victims whom 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, France’s interior ministry 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, which is similar to Twitter.
“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 it’s damaged,” said another.
One of the victims was the daughter of a retired senior government official, the head of the student’s school said.
Chinese media carried report of the attacks on Sunday, but did not mention the victim’s political connection.
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 corrupt officials and are punishing them abroad. This is karma,” another user said.
“That a random violent crime abroad has a government official’s child involved again proves there are no clean officials in China,” another wrote.
The attack came on the eve of one of the biggest wine shows in the world, Vinexpo, which is held in the region. China, which is French winemakers’ third biggest market, has increased its participation at the show, with 18 exhibitors expected this year, up from two in 2011.