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Sydney train attack: Beaten Chinese student told he “deserved it”

Luke Henriques-Gomes

Fri Apr 27 2012

Beaten China student told “deserved it”

SOCIAL media users turn on a Chinese international student attacked in Sydney as Australian leaders come forward to condemn the assault. Luke Henriques-Gomes and Claire Cai report.

Graphic: Marcus Huang

The Chinese international student who took to social media after being attacked on Monday has been told by other bloggers he “deserved it”.

Xuanhao Min, 24, used Chinese micro-blog Weibo, to describe the alleged robbery and assault on him, his friend Alex Huang, 29, and other passengers on a Sydney train.

But despite his initial post being re-tweeted more than 10,000 times, and receiving countless messages of support, Mr Min has since deleted his graphic account of the attack.

Known as Xuan, he wrote: “I deleted most of my posts because there are some very rash and untrue comments, which leave a bad impression. I also did it to protect my privacy.”

Most of the unwelcome messages showed resentment toward the perceived wealth of Chinese international students.

A comment on one of Xuan’s initial posts read: “You deserve it. You are always thinking that foreign countries are better than your hometown.”

Others wrote: “Why not call your rich father?” and “The robbers did the right thing.”

Coming to Xuan’s defence, one user said she was shocked by the comments.

In a post attached to a long list of the messages, Cathy Yan wrote: “Reading these words I am really speechless. Students overseas have always been vulnerable groups … Students need support from home, and to see this is really sad.”

Meanwhile, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has condemned the attack.

A spokesperson for the Minister said it was “deplorable but isolated”.

“Australia takes very seriously its reputation as a safe destination for international students seeking high quality education and welcomes international students from around the world,” the statement read.

Former foreign minister and Weibo user Kevin Rudd has been reassuring concerned Chinese online and today NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell weighed in on the issue.

In a statement, Mr O’Farrell said he was appalled by the attack.

“I have written to the Chinese Consul to reassure him of our commitment to ensure international students can live and learn in safety in our great city,” he said.

The current media storm threatens to undermine a recent bid by the NSW Government to attract more international students by relaxing visa laws for TAFE students.

“These incidents have no place in our city and our state and I express my regret and that of my Government and community to the people affected,” Mr O’Farrell said.