China urges France to protect Chinese community

PARIS: Demonstrators from the Asian community protest outside Paris’ 19th district’s police station yesterday. Violent clashes in Paris between baton-wielding police and protesters outraged at the police killing of a Chinese man in his home have seen three police officers injured and 35 protesters arrested. — AP

PARIS: China yesterday urged France to protect its citizens in Paris after police there killed a Chinese father of four, sparking violent protests in which 35 people were arrested. Paris police said around 150 “members of the Asian community” gathered late Monday outside a police station in the northeast of the capital and clashes broke out. Three officers were slightly injured in the confrontation and one police vehicle was damaged by an incendiary device.

The angry demonstrators were protesting after a police officer shot and killed the Chinese man on Sunday night. A police source said that officers were called to his house after reports of a domestic dispute. The source said the man attacked the officer with a knife “as soon as the door opened”, injuring him. A police colleague then opened fire, killing the Chinese man, authorities say. Lawyer Calvin Job said the family of the dead man “totally disputes this version of events.” “He didn’t injure anyone,” Job said, adding that the man had been “trimming fish with a pair of scissors” when the police came to the door.

Beijing complaint  
As tempers frayed between Paris and Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry said it had filed an official complaint to France over the events in the French capital. Beijing calls on Paris 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,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing.

“Meanwhile, we hope that our citizens… in France can express their wishes and demands in a lawful and reasonable way,” the spokeswoman added. The man’s family insist that there was no domestic dispute and a neighbor had called the police after hearing shouting. “Police forced open the door of the apartment, pushing him back,” Job said. The man did not rush towards the officers, and the police “shot without warning”, he said.

A police watchdog was to interview the family yesterday, Job said. Estimates put the size of the Chinese community in Paris at between 200,000 and 300,000. Many of the first-generation Chinese nationals who live in the French capital came here in the 1980s and many work in the textile industry. French police have come under fire for suspected violence in recent months following the highly publicized case of a black youth worker allegedly sodomised with a police baton. Several demonstrations have been staged since the February 2 incident involving the 22-year-old.- AFP