France charges three youths over attack on Chinese students

BORDEAUX (AFP) - Three youths have been charged and detained over a racist attack on six Chinese students in France's wine-making Bordeaux region which has been condemned by both Paris and Beijing, officials said on Monday.

The youths, aged 19 and 20, were charged on Sunday night with aggravated violence, using or threatening to use arms, as well as drunkenness, the prosecutor's office in Bordeaux said. They were then placed under detention.

The trio had hurled racist insults early Saturday when they assaulted the Chinese students at their home in Hostens, a small village about 50km south of Bordeaux in southwest France.

A female student was seriously hurt in the face by a glass bottle that was thrown at her. She was hospitalised and underwent surgery.

French ministers have condemned what they said was a "racist" attack adding that it had tarnished the country's image. The Chinese embassy in Paris also strongly denounced the assault and called on French authorities to ensure the safety of its nationals.

Concern has grown in China in recent months over the increasing number of thefts and attacks targeting Chinese tourists.