Chinese students beaten, robbed in Australia
Australia's Mandarin-speaking ex-leader Kevin Rudd weighed into the case of two Chinese students who were burned and beaten in Sydney, sparking a media storm in their homeland, reports said.
Police confirmed that a 29-year-old man "suffered a fractured cheekbone and nose... as well as burns from a lit cigarette" during a robbery by six youths on a train in southern Sydney on Monday.
"A second male victim also suffered burns to the face during the alleged robbery," police said in a statement.
One of the victims was identified as a Chinese blogger named Xuan studying for a masters degree in Sydney, who posted about the graphic attack on the microblogging site Sina Weibo.
"A gang of hooligans attacked us. Our noses are fractured and our bodies are covered in blood," wrote Xuan, according to a translation in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
"My friend's cheekbone was crushed. They attacked us with glass and burnt us with lit cigarettes. My face is burnt and totally disfigured. Worst of all, I really hated their racist comments."
Xuan claimed the group taunted them as "Asian dogs and pussies" and when his friend tried to wipe the blood from his nose "a teenaged girl stuffed my friend's mouth with her tampon removed from her pants."
There were many passengers and staff on the train, he added, but nobody intervened to help and another woman targeted by the gang even encouraged them to rob Xuan and his friend saying "they are Asian and they have got money."
Xuan's post about the attack was re-posted on Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, more than 10,000 times according to the Herald, and Australia's ex-PM and former foreign minister Kevin Rudd also spoke up on the site.
Weibo newcomer Rudd wrote that he would "try to approach the police and department of education" about the incident, the Herald said.
Australia has gained an unwelcome reputation for violence against international students in recent years, with a string of attacks involving Indian students in southern Melbourne triggering diplomatic tensions.
There was intense publicity in India about the assaults, which included the stabbing murder of accounting graduate for his mobile phone, and Canberra conceded that some of the violence was racially motivated.