China tells France to protect Chinese after fatal police shooting

Protesters spelling the word "violence" with candles on a street in front of a line of riot policemen in Paris late on Monday, during clashes that took place after police killed a Chinese father of four.
Protesters spelling the word "violence" with candles on a street in front of a line of riot policemen in Paris late on Monday, during clashes that took place after police killed a Chinese father of four.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PARIS • China has 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 about 150 "members of the Asian community" gathered late on Monday outside a police station in the north-east 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 demonstrators were protesting after a police officer shot and killed the Chinese man on Sunday night. A police source told Agence France-Presse that officers were called to the man's house after reports of a domestic dispute.

The source said the man attacked an officer with a knife "as soon as the door opened", injuring him. A police colleague then opened fire, killing the Chinese man, the authorities said.

Lawyer Calvin Job said the family of the dead man "totally disputes this version of events". "He didn't injure anyone," he said, adding that the man had been "trimming fish with a pair of scissors" when the police came to the door.

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 spokesman 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," she added.

The man's family insists that there was no domestic dispute and a neighbour had called the police after hearing shouting.

"Police forced open the door of the apartment, pushing him back," Mr 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, Mr Job said.

The size of the Chinese community in Paris is estimated to be between 200,000 and 300,000. Many of the first-generation Chinese nationals who live in the French capital arrived 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 publicised case of a black youth worker who was allegedly sodomised with a police baton. Several demonstrations have been staged since the Feb 2 incident involving the 22- year-old.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2017, with the headline 'China tells France to protect Chinese after fatal police shooting'. Print Edition | Subscribe