Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

  • Live: Algerian jet with 116 on board 'crashes' in northern Mali

    Read more

  • ‘Many’ French passengers on board missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza violence rages

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Beijing condemns ‘racist’ attack on Bordeaux wine students

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-08-08

An attack by a drunken gang on six Chinese students studying the French art of winemaking in Bordeaux has been condemned by Chinese authorities, who have demanded that France brings the perpetrators swiftly to justice.

A violent attack on a group of Chinese students in the Bordeaux wine-growing region at the weekend risked becoming an international dispute on Monday, as Beijing demanded that French authorities guarantee the safety of its citizens.

The six students, in their early 20s and taking a course in oenology (winemaking) at the Château la Tour Blanche vineyard, were set upon by three alleged attackers at their residence in the early hours of Saturday.

One Chinese woman, aged 24, was hit in the face with a glass bottle and hospitalised.

Police said the trio had been drinking heavily from the early afternoon on Friday. In custody on Sunday, they claimed they had no memory of the events.

‘Unspeakable act’

French agriculture minister Stephane Le Foll condemned the attack on Sunday, saying that France’s image had been sullied in China, the third-biggest market for French wines.

“It's an unspeakable act,” Le Foll said at the opening of the Vinexpo in Bordeaux, one of the world's biggest wine fairs, adding that the alleged attackers had hurled racist insults at their victims.

"The image of France has been dented with these xenophobic attitudes," Le Foll added.

The attack generated immediate criticism of France on Chinese social networking sites, while China’s foreign ministry addressed the attacks at a regular news briefing on Monday.

“China expresses strong condemnation against the violent attacks against the Chinese students,” said a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “The Chinese foreign minister and embassy in France take the issue seriously and the embassy sent staff to the site to assist Chinese students attacked.

“China has sent a representative to France to ask it to handle the case properly, bring the perpetrators to justice, and take effective measures to protect the safety and rights of Chinese in France.”

Tit-for-tat trade war

The attack on Chinese nationals comes amid growing tensions between France and China, with the focus very much on the issue of French wine.

China is an important market for French wine, which accounts for some 48% of Chinese imports - far higher than for Australian, New Zealand or other “New World” produce.

This status came under threat earlier this month when Beijing launched an anti-dumping probe into European wine imports in response to calls, led by France, to impose duties on Chinese-made solar panels that are threatening to undermine the European solar industry.

Despite the growing taste for French wine in China, many importers fear that the probe could result in significant import duties being slapped on French wines, a move that could put significant pressure on sales.

Increased Chinese presence in Bordeaux

Meanwhile, Chinese acquisition of Bordeaux vineyards continues apace.

In November 2012 a Chinese industrialist bought the Chateau Bellefort-Belcier, the first of the prestigious “Grand Cru” class to be acquired by Chinese investors in the region.

To date, the Chinese influence in Bordeaux has not been overly controversial in a wine-growing region that has a long tradition of foreign ownership of wine estates.

But according to one Chinese national who travelled to Bordeaux to study the French art of winemaking, the growing presence of her fellow nationals is becoming an increasingly touchy subject.

“The French think chateaux and terroir are part of their patrimony,” 27-year-old Lu Qingqing told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday. “And when Chinese people come and buy the wines and vineyards, they think ‘We don’t have any more for ourselves’.”

“It will take time for both to understand,” she added. “It’s the French who sell and the Chinese who buy, and it’s not like the French aren’t benefiting.”

Date created : 2013-06-17

  • FRANCE

    Will France embrace ‘quality’ wine in a can?

    Read more

  • EU-CHINA

    Angered by EU solar duties, China probes wine imports

    Read more

  • CHINA - FRANCE

    China recognises that not all bubbly is Champagne

    Read more

COMMENT(S)