Beijing asks France to protect China tourists after attacks

BEIJING (AFP) - Beijing on Saturday urged French authorities to better protect Chinese tourists known for their big spending habits, citing "concern" over recent attacks on visitors to Paris.

The country's National Tourism Administration - which reports directly to the government - made the call after 23 Chinese tourists travelling in a group were robbed soon after they arrived at Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport outside Paris.

"Their passports, plane tickets and cash were stolen and the group leader sustained an injury to the face," the organisation said in a statement published by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

It called on French authorities to bring to justice those who assaulted the tourists on Wednesday, and to ensure an "effective protection" of Chinese visitors in France.

France has long been considered a dream destination in China, where it is often lovingly portrayed as the country of "romance".

But that dream has recently turned into a nightmare for some Chinese tourists, who have been victims of violent robberies and other aggressions.

Chinese media has in recent weeks reported on several such incidents.

Avid consumers of luxury goods, Chinese people are known for spending a lot of money when travelling abroad and often carry big sums of money on them, making them prime targets for criminals.

More than one million Chinese tourists visit France every year, according to the Chinese tourism administration.

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