Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear spoke with Louis-Georges Tin, president of the Representative Council of Black Organizations of France, about the protests and what the killing means for French citizens of color.
Tin explained that there are two different versions of the incident, with Liu’s family claiming he was shot and killed by police while he was preparing and cooking fish. Authorities claim he lunged at them with a knife. Tin said the incident is an example of growing racism in France.
Loud and Clear Host Brian Becker pointed out that France’s Chinese community is one of the largest in Europe, and asked how the community was reacting Liu’s death."They are reacting in a very strong way, which is a good thing," he said. "There was a demonstration yesterday, and there was some police brutality after that. Some people were arrested, and now China is asking for France [to protect the Chinese community.]"
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that France must "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."
Tin said the diplomatic fallout from the shooting was "very strong and legitimate," and highlighted how different nations have handled similar situations with France, depending on their diplomatic relationship.
"Usually when someone from Africa is killed by the police [in France] you don’t hear any reaction from Africa. But when somebody from China is killed by the police, China makes a strong reaction, which is great, because I think they have the means to gain some respect from France."
"Most African countries depend on France, they’re under pressure, they can’t afford to criticize France for its racism," he suggested.
Becker noted that the incident comes amid a "rising tide of racism" in France against non-white people in the country, pointing specifically to the recent police assault in Paris of a 22-year-old black man known only as Theo, with the victim claiming that police yelled racial slurs while sodomising him with a baton.
"Basically the situation in France is closest to the situation in the United States," Tin said. "The main difference is the media. Most of the time when you have police brutality, the media doesn’t speak about the situation."
He said that many people in France mourn incidents of racist police terror in the US without noticing the same thing happening in their country.
"They look at what’s going on in the United States, they say 'Oh, [US President Donald Trump] is so racist, the Americans are so racist, non-white people in the United States are so poor and miserable,' and French people take pity on them, but they don’t realize the same thing exactly is going on in their own country, and they don’t even want to know about it."