Understanding The Complex Dynamics Of Chinese Racism In France

Understanding The Complex Dynamics Of Chinese Racism In France

The Covid-19 outbreak in France led to incidents of open and violent racism and xenophobia that ranged from physical confrontation and stigmatization in public spaces to mistrust and avoidance. Different Chinese subgroups in France responded to this circumstance in different ways, either via individual acts or group conflicts. One of the five young men accused of tweeting threats and insults against Chinese people stated, “It was just to make my friends laugh,” in a Paris courthouse, in front of activists and community leaders from Asia’s Asian communities in France

Manifestations of Racism

The additional stay-at-home restrictions were attributed to Chinese individuals in the tweets, which were sent shortly after French President Emmanuel Macron said that France was going into a second coronavirus lockdown. The Association of Young Chinese of France (AJCF) president, Laetitia Chhiv, took the tweets seriously. She told the three-judge panel how shocked she was to find postings on social media encouraging violence against Chinese people when she looked at her phone.“I never saw that,” Chhiv said. “This form of racism has become normalized, and it really hit me.” 

A dedicated team established in January to combat hate speech online started the trial. The first-ever process for the unit was characterized by Chhiv as a “key moment” for the Asian community in France. The 35-year-old activist remarked, “That we’re talking about the Asian community for an inaugural affair, that’s really something.” Chhiv attended a meeting on the day of the hearing to discuss the government’s commitment to combating racism and discrimination. The meeting was attended by members of seven organizations that represent people of Asian descent in France as well as Élisabeth Moreno, France’s Minister for Gender Equality, Diversity, and Equal Opportunities. 

Community Response

There were also two politicians present who contributed to a study on racism in France. The verdict is anticipated. According to Chhiv, the “exponential rise” in the number of discrimination claims her organization has received since the end of January 2020 is evidence that there has been an increase in anti-Asian racism in France in 2020, as mentioned in the study. The discussion with Moreno was also attended by Sun-Lay Tan, the spokeswoman for Comité Sécurité Pour Tous (Security Committee for All), an advocacy group for the Asian populations in France. He is an advocate for Asian foods being served in school cafeterias and wants to see more awareness of Asian cultures. Large-scale protests were staged following the deaths of each individual by the ethnic Chinese population in France, who are often marginalized in public life and invisible in national discourse. The 49-year-old Chinese immigrant was fatally attacked in a Paris suburb in 2016 while being yelled racist epithets by young people. They thought he carried a lot of money, which is a common misconception among the Chinese population, but all they discovered were smokes and candy.A large number of youth are organizing to combat misconceptions and cliches about Chinese people as wealthy, aloof, and reserved. Anti-Asian and anti-Chinese sentiment has surfaced in French media, as well as in worldwide media, in Canada, England, and other places since the new coronavirus outbreak. Additionally, young people voiced their rage and shared their experiences on social media in response to this bigotry.

Government Initiatives

It’s not just ethnic Chinese that are being targeted. According to one social media account, everyone in her immediate vicinity avoided the Vietnamese woman. According to other East Asians, other riders on public transportation either avoid them or cover their faces with scarves. The number of racist and xenophobic incidents increased by 130% in 2019 compared to the previous year. Although Muslims and Jews have received the majority of attention, ethnic Chinese people have also been attacked recently. Zero tolerance for prejudice is the government’s position. After a Chinese man was slain outside of Paris in 2016 by three guys attempting to steal his companion’s luggage, thousands of Chinese held demonstrations. 

Rising Racism Sparks Paris Olympics Boycott Call

In response to the escalating incidents of racism and xenophobia targeting Asians, particularly those of Chinese descent, in France, there is a growing call to boycott the Paris Olympics 2024. The pervasive discrimination, fueled by the Covid-19 outbreak, has led to a climate of fear and mistrust among foreign residents, with terrorism threats exacerbating the situation. The boycott aims to pressure the French government into addressing systemic issues of racism and human rights violations, both by law enforcement and in societal attitudes. With escalating concerns about safety and inclusion, boycotting the Olympics emerges as a symbolic act of solidarity and a plea for change.


In conclusion, Asians in general as well as citizens of Chinese heritage are impacted by this phenomena. Additionally, it occurs at schools and on public transportation in addition to online. According to Chinese anti-violence campaigner Tamara Lui, it wasn’t the first incident and it hasn’t been the last. In recent days, as the coronavirus spread from China to dozens of other nations, a new hashtag has been popular in France. The hashtag #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus, which stands for “I’m not a virus,” represents the growing annoyance of French-Asian residents who are dealing with prejudice and stigma in the aftermath of the pandemic. 



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