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Korean Student Harassed by Racist Man on Train in Southern France

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    A Korean student on a train in Nice, France documented her own racial harassment from a French man on Saturday evening.

     

    What happened: A Korean woman, who has been working and studying in France for nearly a year, encountered a racist passenger on June 6 at 9:30 p.m. CEST.

    • The woman was riding the Nice Tram line 2 on her way home with her boyfriend when a passenger mistook her for being Chinese. 
    • The passenger started berating her with racial slurs and other insults. 
    • In the captured footage, the man said in French: “You Chinese eat dogs and cats,” and “The coronavirus came from your country.”
    • In response, the woman called him out for being racist and urged him to stop but the man kept taunting her, calling her names and insulting her boyfriend as well.
    • Shifting his attention to the boyfriend, he went on: “Are you her boyfriend? You have balls or not? Remove your mask! Nothing to say? You are a b***h. Don’t you talk?… You are a s**t.” 
    • After noticing he was being filmed, the man told her to put away her camera as it “will not change anything.”
    • He then went on to continue with a barrage of slurs as other passengers looked on.
    • “The disease came from your country,” he said. “You eat crazy things.”
    • Eventually, a male passenger confronted the racist man and told him to stop harassing the couple.  
    • The clip ended with the racist passenger threatening the woman with violence while trying to stop her from filming.
    • “You can film me. I am violent. I can even take your phone,” the man yelled at the Asian woman.

    What’s behind the scenes: Since the global spread of COVID-19, there has been a significant uptick in racist attacks toward Asians around the world, including France. However, there are layers influencing the current tensions in the country that complicate race relations.

    • Over the years, anger has been mounting within France’s Black communities over police violence, systemic racism and immigration issues. 
    • The recent death of George Floyd in the U.S. has also brought to memory the case of Adama Traore, a Black Frenchman who similarly died in police custody in July 2016.
    • Following the U.S., protests have sprung all over France, with incidents of riots breaking out in some areas. 
    • In the first three months of this year, COVID-19 has plunged France into a recession as business closures and unemployment rose to unprecedented heights. 
    • French President Emmanuel Macron blasted the Chinese government’s lack of transparency in an interview with the Financial Times: “There are clearly things that have happened that we don’t know about.” 
    • The French media has also been criticizing the Chinese government and the way COVID-19 has spread around the globe. 
    • Le Figaro Magazine’s recent cover story “The Great Chinese Lie” featured an illustrated image of President Xi Jinping “wearing a surgical mask and wagging his finger.”

    Feature Image via LilaLila 릴라릴라

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