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French national attacked in China as tensions rise between nations

By
Elizabeth Shim
Members of France’s Chinese community gather outside a police station to protest against police violence in Paris on Tuesday. The French government may fear a recent attack on a French citizen in Shanghai had retaliatory motives. Photo by Christophe Petit/EPA
Members of France’s Chinese community gather outside a police station to protest against police violence in Paris on Tuesday. The French government may fear a recent attack on a French citizen in Shanghai had retaliatory motives. Photo by Christophe Petit/EPA

March 31 (UPI) -- A blade attack on a Frenchman in Shanghai has prompted the French embassy in China to issue an advisory to its citizens in the country, because of the "current context."

The French government is likely referring to tensions between the two countries that came to a boil this week, when members of the Chinese community in Paris took to the streets to protest the shooting death of Shaoyo Liu, 56, a Chinese father of five, by police, The Telegraph reported Friday.

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The French national has yet to be identified, but was attacked with a razor on Wednesday, which resulted in a "superficial neck wound," according to Chinese police.

A Chinese man in his 20s with symptoms of a mental health issue was identified as a suspect, police said.

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"It is understood that Shanghai police have arrested the suspect and the relevant case is still under investigation," Beijing's foreign ministry said. "I suggest everyone shouldn't rush to make predictions or assumptions."

The Chinese community in France has been staging protests because of an ongoing dispute over Liu's death.

French police said they shot Liu dead at his home because he attacked an officer with a pair of scissors.

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But Liu's daughter said the police "smashed the door in" then shot her father, who "ended up on the floor," according to Le Parisien.

Liu's daughter also said the men were not dressed as police officers when they entered the building.

Chinese in France have complained in the past about racial prejudice in the country, while French society remains suspicious of the 600,000 ethnic Chinese immigrants who have rebuilt their lives on foreign soil.

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The protests that erupted this week drew claims a Chinese "mafia boss" had coordinated the demonstrations, and the Chinese Communist Party was involved, according to Le Parisien.

A car was burned on Monday night during protests, the BBC reported.

The Chinese government had called on France 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."

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