A series of attacks targeting Chinese students in Australia prompted the Chinese consulate in Melbourne to issue a warning against potential threats to the youth’s safety.
“Recently, there have been several cases of assaults and attacks against Chinese students in different parts in Australia. We remind all Chinese overseas students in Australia to be wary of possible safety risks in Australia,” the consulate wrote in Mandarin on its website on Tuesday.
While the consulate did not particularly point out any specific attacks, it urged anyone in similar apparent risk or danger to notify authorities and report the incident to the local consulate or embassy, South China Morning Post reported.
One recent high-profile incident which may warrant such warning was the brutal attack in October by two teenagers against three Chinese students, who refused to give them cigarettes at a bus station in Canberra. While the two youths were later arrested, the senseless attack left one of the students badly injured and hospitalized.
China’s ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye expressed deep concern over the incident, and immediately urged local authorities in Canberra to ensure the safety of the students and prevent similar incidents in the future. The incident not only shocked the Chinese community in Australia, but also sparked outrage on social media platforms in China.
In August, an incident involving 18-year-old Alex Ophel, an Australian National University undergraduate student, who allegedly attacked his tutor and classmates with a baseball bat, led to four Chinese students being hospitalized for injuries.
While the authorities insisted that the attacks were not racially motivated, many have expressed fear that they were not isolated cases.
According to a survey conducted by Mission Australia in September, more and more Chinese-Australian teenagers say they are facing discrimination and racism in Australia. Almost a third of the interviewed 22,000 Chinese-Australians, aged 15 to 19, claimed they have been treated unfairly because of their race.